What the Great College “Brain-Drain” 
Means for Career Educators

To show alternative college

For over a decade now, colleges and universities have been experiencing a massive “brain-drain” across the system. Today, as the National Student Clearinghouse notes, there are 2.4 million fewer students attending traditional four-year programs than there were in 2011.[1]

But, while many in higher-ed have been fully aware of this long-term trend in enrollment reductions, there’s been a lack of a post-pandemic “rebound” in enrollments that’s come as quite a shocker.

Recent data show that students aren’t flooding back into the system as expected.[2] And for colleges and universities, this could spell trouble.

America’s Cataclysmic Drop in College Enrollment,” headlines “The Week”[3]

Why More Americans Are Skipping College,” headlines “The Edvocate”[4]

Jaded With Education, More Americans Are Skipping College,” headlines the Associated Press[5]

As Colin Binkley of the AP said, “The slide in the college-going rate since 2018 is the steepest on record.”[6] Yes, the college enrollment landscape is dreadful, and it may only get worse.

But while both the long-term trend and the recent sharp collapse in enrollments are shocking and potentially “cataclysmic” for colleges and universities, there exists an educational pathway where students are not “jaded.”

In fact, for educators offering this pathway, major enrollment growth could very much be a reality. We’ll get to how in just a moment. 

First, have a look at this chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While it only shows data from 1993-2021, it clearly highlights the recent dramatic drop-off in the percentage of 16–24-year-olds who are enrolling in college.  

From 1993 to 2009, there was a fairly strong uptrend in the “total” percentage of students enrolling, from roughly 63% to 70%. But since that peak in 2009, enrollments have fallen off a cliff, especially for “men”, with only 55% enrolling as of 2021.

So, why aren’t students enrolling in the traditional college/university system…

And where are they going?

Matthew Lynch, of The Edvocate, may have put it best:

One of the primary reasons why more Americans are skipping college is the high cost of tuition. In the last decade, college tuition has risen at twice the rate of inflation and now costs an average of $35,000 a year for private schools and $10,000 a year for state schools. 

“With the average student graduating with around $30,000 of debt, many young people are now questioning whether a college degree is worth the investment.

“Additionally, the seismic shift in the job market has also contributed to this trend. While a college degree was once seen as a surefire way to secure a high-paying job, the rise of technology and automation has dramatically changed the skills that employers are looking for.

“Many jobs that previously required a college degree can now be filled by people with vocational training or apprenticeships.”[7]

In short, students, including adult learners, are catching on to the fact that an alternative education may offer them a much better pathway to career success, with a potentially smaller financial burden.

For career educators, like trade schools, tech academies, career colleges and vocational schools, this is fantastic news.

But unfortunately, simply offering this “pathway” will not guarantee an influx of new students. You see, just like the college and university system, some career-based educators are having issues with enrollments, even though interest in these types of educations are on the rise.


Poor communication.

Many prospective career-education students don’t know where to go, or who to enroll with… or what their options are.

Increasing Enrollment is All About Perfecting Your Communications 

To perfect your communications with prospective students, efficiently and cost effectively (and boost your enrollments) you should consider partnering with student-school communication and enrollment experts, Conversion Media Group.

Through the use of our US-based educational lead-focused contact centers (which we own and operate) and our online education portal at School Match Pro, and our highly targeted digital marketing efforts…

Conversion Media Group has a distinct ability to generate call verified leads and live transfers directly to your admissions and enrollment departments…

At the very moment these students are ready to talk to you!

Or, as we call it, communication perfected.

You see, CMG is in constant telephone, SMS text and email communication with thousands of these high-intent learners every day. Yes, thousands of them every day.

We can generate 2,000 highly qualified leads plus 300 live transfers directly to your enrollment representatives, every business day of the week. 

Now, it should come as no surprise that many of these adult learners and high school grads are prepared to enroll as soon as possible, or within the next 30-90 days.

So if you’re capable of handling a massive boost in enrollments, or are ready to fill your new student pipeline, we’re ready to deliver.

Discover exactly how Conversion Media Group can drive qualified education leads, live transfers, applications, and enrollments to your institution – by calling  one of our education specialists today at: (+1) 800 419 3201.

Or you can contact us HERE, and an adult education enrollment expert will get back with you to share our incredible enrollment insights, ASAP!

[1] Why More Americans Are Skipping College – The Edvocate (theedadvocate.org)

[2] College Enrollment Losses Continue, But At A Slower Rate, According To New Report (forbes.com)

[3] America’s college crisis | The Week

[4] Why More Americans Are Skipping College – The Edvocate (theedadvocate.org)

[5] Jaded with education, more Americans are skipping college | AP News

[6] Jaded with education, more Americans are skipping college | AP News

[7] Why More Americans Are Skipping College – The Edvocate (theedadvocate.org)

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