As Employment Numbers Improve, Part-time and Community College Enrollment Goes Down

Ben Cassleman, writing for FiveThirtyEight, notes the drop in college enrollment among recent high-school graduates and argues that the decline is driven by the improving job market:

The drop in college attendance among recent high school graduates appears concentrated among groups most likely to be deciding between going to school and joining the labor force: Part-time and community college enrollments saw the sharpest decline.

UPDATE: 4/25/14: I took a look at the actual BLS report this morning, and I think it’s worth noting that the new data actually reverses the trend: the college enrollment rate for recent high school graduates in October 2013 (65.9%) was actually only very slightly down from October 2012 (66.2%). Cassleman acknowledges this in his article, but doesn’t think it’s that important since “enrollment rates remain above their pre-recession levels by most measures.” But it seems to me one could argue that the story in the most recent data is that the college enrollment decline over the last few years actually appears to have leveled off in 2013, even as employment prospects improved (at least a little bit) during the same period.

Final Round of TAACCCT Grants Will Reportedly De-emphasize Use of Funds for Remediation

The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the final round of Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grants.

This round will include some significant changes to the program, including, reportedly, a de-emphasis on remediation. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the President and Vice President are headed to Pennsylvania today to speak about revised criteria later today at the Community College of Allegheny County.

According to the Post-Gazette, applicants for this round “will need to show a direct correlation between their funding requests and job placement” and that “some programs that have been funded in the past, such as remedial education courses, could have a harder time winning approval.” (my emphasis)

From a White House source who was not willing to be named, for some reason:

“Some of the community colleges have used the money in past rounds to do some of the things we’re talking about but others have used it for remediation,” one top White House official said. Under the new criteria they will have to use it to “actually make the endpoint of someone being able to get a job and a career,” he said. (my emphasis)