Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Utah's Fall 2012 College Enrollment has fallen

To quote Robert Hutchins, “It must be remembered that the purpose of education is not to fill the minds of students with facts…it is to teach them to think, it that is possible, and always to think for themselves.”[i]
The recession reduced the number of middle class jobs and the days of finding a high paying job without a degree is rather difficult. Many job seekers looking to acquire higher paying jobs went back to school to attain a skill set that will make them competitive in today’s job market. According to an article by Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) entitled, “Utah’s public colleges and universities see enrollment increases for fourth straight year”; the number of students attending Utah’s colleges and universities for Fall 2011 increased by over 1,000 full time equivalent students, for an increase of 1.17 percent over 2010.[ii] (Depicted in Graph: 1 & 2)
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Utah’s employment rate as of August 2012 has increased by 2.0 percent. The most current data release by the Utah System of Higher Education shows that enrollment for colleges and universities this fall decreased by 1.56 percent (Depicted in Graph 3). Enrollment drops occurred at Utah State University, Dixie State College, Utah Valley University, and Salt Lake Community College. However, Southern Utah University, Weber State University, Snow College, and University of Utah are still seeing increases in their enrollment. (Depicted in Graph: 2 & 3)
Brain Maffly from the Salt Lake Tribune states in his article entitled, Utah’s public college system sees an enrollment dip; “In the wake of the economic downturn, college enrollment climbed as people crowded into Utah’s open-admission schools seeking to gain skills for a constricting job market. Now that the economy is improving, there is less pressure on the colleges, according to Commissioner of Higher Education Dave Buhler.”[iii] This indicates that the decrease in school enrollment is attributed to a better job market and job seekers are able to find jobs. Is this really the case? In conversations I had with various graduates and job seekers, there are still some who are having problems finding high paying jobs. The ones who did find jobs had to settle for low wage jobs because their attitude was, “I am grateful to have a job because trying to find a high paying job in this market is still tough.” Despite the improving economy job seekers are still struggling to find high paying jobs. 

[i] College Finder.McKenna, Brian.Top 15 Education Quotes: Inspiration Quotes.February 10, 2011 http://blog.ecollegefinder.org/2011/02/10/top-15-education-quotes-inspirational-quotes/
[ii] Utah System of Higher Education.Utah’s public colleges and universities see enrollment increases for the fourth straight year.October 12, 2011. http://www.higheredutah.org/utah%E2%80%99s-public-colleges-and-universities-see-enrollment-increases-for-fourth-straight-year-2/
[iii] Maffly, Brian. Utah’s public college system sees an enrollment dip. Salt Lake Tribune.October 12, 2012

Graphs - Source: Utah Systems of Higher Education


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