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More high school graduates are opting out of 4-year degrees

Even though the number of kids enrolling in college is down the number of kids enrolling in trade programs is up.
More high school graduates are opting out of 4-year degrees
Posted at 4:59 PM, Feb 26, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-26 19:00:41-05

According to the National Student Clearinghouse, college enrollment has decreased 8% since 2019. However, it's not due to a lack of a learning desire among students, it's instead a way to avoid the sometimes massive amounts of college debt that could be waiting for them down the road.

The number of kids enrolling in college is down, but the number of kids enrolling in trade programs is up. Mechanics saw enrollment increase by 11.5% since 2019. Other programs like construction have seen increases as high as 19.5%. Students say it's because they are enjoying the hands-on learning approach of what these programs offer them.

"I've always been more of a hands-on learner and with welding everything is hands on. You're always doing something. It starts with getting certified through high school. And coming in another two months I'll take a certification test. Get that and hopefully enroll in a CSCT as soon as possible," said Noah Hernandez, a student. 

Companies are getting on board with this trend as well. Just last week, on Thursday, Walmart announced it is cutting back the number of degrees it offers workers, instead they are offering workers a chance at earning trade certificates. The company announced it hopes to hire 100,000 new workers through this method over the next three years.

According to Georgetown University, students who work in the workforce but do not get a four-year college degree can earn up to 75% less than their college graduate counterparts, but students say the savings that they are not getting by not having student debt outweighs the disparity in pay.

SEE MORE: Biden administration announces $1.2 billion in new student debt relief


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