Illinois backing away from college

Demand for higher education is apparently waning in one American state.  Illinois teens and adults have lower interest in academia than they used to.

Reasons put forth: perceived political corruption, a lack of gubernatorial interest in getting people into college.

Why does this matter for futuring?  It’s a datapoint which we might be able to use.  It ties into bubble theories.  Could it be the first sign of the bubble popping?  Or is it an outlier, due to unusual Illinois conditions?

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  1. skjandrews

     /  December 12, 2011

    Illinois is unusual, but in my experience, it is unusual in how much support the state still gives to higher ed. For instance, it has a pretty big grant program for need-based tuition support,

    http://www.collegeillinois.org/students/during-college/types-of-financial-aid/grants/monetary-award-program.html

    If Illinois is faltering, it does not bode well for states that give far less support and attention to higher ed.

    On the other hand, I think the language of “bubble bursting” is complicated. The report says the state needs to increase graduates by 5.4% annually to reach a goal of 55% of workforce with degrees by 2020. And a Chicago Tribune editorial this morning points out that, unemployment for those without HS degrees is four times higher than those with BA/BS.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-graduate-20111212,0,138099.story

    So the value of the degree still objectively exists. Whether students and families will see it this way is another matter, particularly if there are only bad jobs for everybody. If college grads have less unemployment but a lot more debt, then going on to school can seem like a wash. Either way, these are great data points.

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