Why More Traditional Colleges Are Offering Career-Based Educations

To show a female welder in trade school

A recent study from the Educational Data Initiative (EDI) has revealed some alarming facts about college students. Up to 32.9% of undergraduate students do not complete their degrees, with nearly a quarter of first-year students at four-year institutions dropping out within their first 12 months.[1]

What’s more, the overall number of dropouts across the system has increased by roughly 4% over 2022. Today, a fewer percentage of high school grads are entering college, and a higher percentage are leaving before graduation.

Clearly, this may be having a devastating effect on the revenues of many schools (especially private, non-government supported institutions). The question is why?

As the National Student Clearinghouse Research center notes, about 62.3% of full-time students at all four-year institutions graduate within six years (this figure excludes the graduation rate of part-time students). And the average cost of earning a bachelor’s [2]degree (including books, supplies and living expenses) has surpassed $36,000 per student, per year.


According to the EDI report, “42% of college dropouts indicate they left due to financial reasons. Financial sacrifice and related stress are among the most common reasons former students give for dropping out.

“Rising tuition rates outpace currency inflation and the increasing cost of living. For most students, even part-time college is out of reach without financial aid; losing this aid or another source of income necessitates dropping out.”

Or more simply put, many of today’s college students don’t believe (even after they’ve already enrolled) that the benefits of a college degree are worth the cost.

But they do want the skills to get a well-paying job.

As many recent high school grads, and adult learners have found, career-based educations are offering students a faster pathway to a well-paying job, and without all the massive debt associated with a four-year degree.

What’s more, it generally costs less than $35,000 to attend a two-year trade school, for example. And trade schools have been shown to have a near 99% graduation rate.[3]

With 99 out of 100 students graduating (and paying tuition), career-based education has become far more attractive, even to traditional colleges.

In fact, according to an article in the New York Times, “Is a university a university without the liberal arts? Marymount University seems to think so…

Increasingly, they have robust programs in subjects like business, nursing and computer science but less and less funding for and focus on departments of history, literature, philosophy, mathematics and theology.”[4]

The author of this article was highly concerned about colleges slowly abandoning liberal arts programs in favor or career training…

But the reason many colleges like Marymount are doing so is demand.

Today, more students want an education that they feel could lead directly to a well-paying job. And if enrollment for liberal arts programs is down, colleges must offer programs that perspective students want…

Or risk further enrollment declines.

It’s simple supply and demand.

Now, if your institution already has career-based programs, whether you’re a traditional college, trade or vocational school, there is a great way to help boost your enrollments. And this too comes down to supply and demand.

Your programs are in demand, and Conversion Media Group has a steady supply of highly interested students who are looking for a career education.

You see, the agents at our US-based contact centers are in near continual contact with thousands of these prospective students, almost every day.

These prospective students tell us what they’re looking for in a pathway to a career. A pathway that a career-education, like the ones you offer, can give them.

So, if you’re looking to boost enrollments at your institution (even your four-year programs), Conversion Media Group has the prospective students you need.

Simply call us at 1-800-419-3201 or contact us HERE and an enrollment specialist will walk you through how we can help your enrollment initiatives succeed.

[1] College Dropout Rate [2023]: by Year + Demographics (educationdata.org)

[2] Average Cost of College [2023]: Yearly Tuition + Expenses (educationdata.org)

[3] Trade schools as a valuable alternative – The Feather

[4] Opinion | Colleges Should Be More Than Just Vocational Schools – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

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