According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, out of the 2.6 million students who started college in fall 2019, more than 26% didn’t come back the next year. While the statistics for this year are yet to be released, higher education institutes in the US are expecting the number of dropouts to increase.
Roughly 679,000 students dropped out of college when the global pandemic started. The percentage of dropouts rose by 2 points since the previous year and was recorded to be the highest since 2012.
Common reasons behind the alarming number of dropouts are poor mental health, financial distress, and the continued existence of online classes due to the pandemic. Some universities also report students dropping out because of the covid policies such as mandatory vaccination.
While some universities are doing their best to retain and encourage their students to come back, others lag behind and are still figuring out how to lessen the number of dropouts. California State University-San Bernardino hired re-enrollment coaches to help students get back to the college.
Michigan State University is providing additional financial assistance for lower-income and first-generation students as they are more affected by the pandemic and more likely to drop out.
Despite all the efforts being made, the situation could get worse if the surge of omicron cases persists.