25% of US Adults Cite Costs as Top Reason to Discontinue College Education, Study Shows

United States North America Higher Education News by Erudera News Feb 02, 2021

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25% of US Adults Cite Costs as Top Reason to Discontinue College Education, Study Shows

25 per cent of adults in the United States have stated that costs are a barrier to complete their degrees, shows a recent study carried out between September and October by Lumina Foundation and Gallup, involving 2,000 US adults at the age of 18 or older who are not enrolled in schools at the moment.

A blog post published by Jonathan Rothwell, PhD and Megan Brenan shows that the study has revealed that 18 per cent of adults outlined emotional stress as an obstacle for completing their degree, while 13 per cent mentioned balancing family responsibilities as the main reason Erudera reports.

There are other reasons which have made students give up from school, including:

  • Withdrawing from classes and getting a new job – 11 per cent
  • Health issues – 10 per cent
  • Lack of connection between the degree and personal goals – 10 per cent
  • Difficulties in receiving a degree – 5 per cent
  • Lack of quality education – 3 per cent

Whereas, fewer than one in 10 mentioned COVID-19 as a barrier, which shows the small percentage of participants in the study who gave up from school during the previous year. A total of 78 per cent have been out of school for a period of five years or more.

Reasons for discontinuing college depend on demographic characteristics, including:

  • 47 per cent of parents said the reason for discontinuing school is childcare while 30 per cent mention costs
  • 21 per cent of women cited childcare compared to 5 per cent of men who mentioned the same reason
  • 28 per cent of adults’ caregivers cited care as the top reason
  • 31 per cent who possess annual household incomes below $48,000 also mentioned the costs
  • 35 per cent of individuals enrolled during the past five years stated emotional stress while 30 per cents cited costs
  • 35 per cent of those who have lost their income amid pandemic mentioned costs.
  • 13 per cent mentioned COVID-19

Which Are the Reasons for Choosing a Particular Degree Program or a School?

The study has, among others, revealed the reasons why respondents have chosen to study a certain degree before discontinuing it.

According to findings, the most common reason that was mentioned was to gain knowledge and skills, with 47 per cent of respondents saying so.  

  • 41 per cent believed their degree would help in gaining a job with a higher salary
  • 39 per cent said they wanted to pursue a more fulfilling career
  • 32 per cent said they wanted to become more competitive candidates in the labour market

Except for the former students, more than 6,000 currently enrolled students were also interviewed by Gallup.

As a result, 49 per cent of enrolled students vs 39 per cent of those who dropped out of school stated that they started education believing they could have a better career, followed by 27 per cent of enrolled students vs 16 per cent of unenrolled mentioned as a reason the increase in salary in their actual jobs.

Regarding the reasons for choosing a particular school, 53 per cent of students who discontinued education before getting the degree said that being closer to home was why they chose the particular institution, whereas for 42 per cent the reason was the cost.

In addition to similarities, there were also differences between enrolled and unenrolled students when it comes to choosing a school:

  • For 41 per cent of respondents, closeness to school has a small difference compared to enrolled ones
  • 25 per cent of those currently enrolled were more likely to choose the school’s reputation compared to 16 per cent of those unenrolled

So far, the student loan debts in the United States reach about $1.7 trillion.

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