SREB Experiences Expose Two-Yr School Enrollment Drops in South

Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) member statesSouthern Regional Schooling Board (SREB) member statesThis week, the Southern Regional Schooling Board (SREB), a nonpartisan nonprofit concerned about making improvements to schooling in its 16 member states within the South, launched experiences that display sustained declines in two-year school enrollment within the area. Those drops had been going down even previous to the pandemic in spite of general schooling ranges within the South proceeding to upward push.

“It’s troubling to mention the least,” mentioned Dr. Stephen Pruitt, president of SREB. “We’re now looking to soar again from a virus, and we’re seeing the process marketplace transferring to all or maximum livable salary careers requiring some postsecondary levels. If we proceed down the street that we’re on, the place folks aren’t enticing in postsecondary schooling, then we might see numerous people who find themselves unemployable by means of 2030.”

SREB states come with Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

SREB’s Reality E-book on Upper Schooling and 16 person state information experiences level to how enrollment in two-year faculties between 2014 and 2019 fell by means of kind of 7% in SREB states in comparison to 11% national. Some states noticed just about a 20% drop in that very same time.

Consistent with contemporary information from the Nationwide Scholar Clearinghouse, two-year school enrollment then dropped by means of 15% national in fall 2020, adopted by means of an estimated one-year decline of seven.8% in fall 2021.

“We’re having a look at a countrywide disaster at the moment,” mentioned Dr. Jason Lane, dean of the School of Schooling, Well being, and Society at Miami College in Ohio, relating to contemporary upper schooling tendencies within the nation general. “Once we see fewer scholars entering upper schooling, that has a long-term, probably destructive affect on our talent as a country to be aggressive, to innovate, and to proceed to steer the arena round problems of study and building. For numerous causes, we must be being attentive to this at the moment.”

Via 2030, SREB additionally discovered that dependent teams—those that are below age 25 or older than 64, thus now not a part of the main body of workers—are anticipated to achieve 53% of the SREB area’s inhabitants. Those teams would outnumber working-age adults, making the possible toll of school enrollment declines at the body of workers specifically pressing. 

“We do know that your best possible wager continues to be to get a bachelor’s stage,” mentioned Dr. Anthony Carnevale, professor and director of the Georgetown College Middle on Schooling and the Team of workers, who famous {that a} school stage stays key to higher paid careers ultimately. “The BA continues to be the engine at the educate.”

The experiences additionally published that the entire enrollment of Hispanic scholars rose from 16% to twenty% from 2014 to 2019 at private and non-private two-year and four-year upper schooling establishments in SREB states. And over that very same time frame, two-year school enrollment amongst Hispanic scholars in SREB states jumped by means of 19.4%, upper than the 11% nationwide build up. 

“I’m now not totally shocked by means of that,” mentioned Dr. Deborah Santiago, co-founder and CEO of Excelencia in Schooling, a nonprofit concerned about accelerating Latino scholar luck in upper schooling. “Whilst you have a look at the whole enlargement of the Hispanic inhabitants over the past 10 to twelve years, particularly in SREB states, we’ve got been making up a better a part of the Okay-12 faculty inhabitants. The problem I see is that the pandemic disproportionately negatively impacted our group. Those numbers may have been even upper nowadays had it now not been for the ultimate two years.”

The experiences moreover discovered general school enrollment amongst Black scholars in SREB states declined from 22% in 2014 to twenty% in 2019. Those figures come with each four-year and two-year in addition to private and non-private upper schooling establishments. Over that very same length, two-year school enrollment of Black scholars fell by means of 21% national—and there was once a 18.6% drop, amounting to about 116,000 scholars, in SREB states.

“This can be a very pressing public coverage factor,” mentioned Dr. Stella Flores, affiliate professor of upper schooling and public coverage on the College of Texas at Austin. “Those SREB states are much more likely to have Black highschool graduates than lots of the remainder of the rustic, and but now not sufficient Black scholars are enrolling in school in those states. We had higher numbers within the early 2000s than we do now. And now with COVID, I might name this a public well being disaster in that Black people are the gang in all probability to have handled demise because of the pandemic. So, those are numbers sooner than the demise and trauma of COVID. I’m in point of fact involved.”

As to one of the explanation why fewer individuals are enrolling, Dr. Stevie Lawrence II, vp of upper schooling at SREB, famous the emerging value of school. As well as, the value of some extent isn’t being communicated obviously sufficient, he identified.

“I believe it is crucial for the ones folks operating at postsecondary establishments to make certain that the go back on funding is illuminated and amplified,” mentioned Lawrence. “And that we attach that data to scholars and households up to we will be able to. As a result of there may be information that displays if you happen to reach an affiliate’s stage, BA, or any type of postsecondary schooling, you’re going to through the years earn greater than an individual who most effective has a highschool credential.”

To Pruitt at SREB, all fingers should be on deck to unravel such issues shifting ahead.

“We in fact can’t have enough money to consider simply the postsecondary side of this,” mentioned Pruitt. “We want to consider the entire gadget, beginning in Okay-12 colleges and shifting throughout grownup schooling into the body of workers. And we’d like folks in postsecondary schooling to know the alternatives forward of them. How will we get extra folks to graduate with credentials or levels of price?”

Rebecca Kelliher may also be reached at

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