Amid COVID-19 Chaos, Fewer US Students Pursue University
A recent survey of American high school students shows less enthusiasm for college as the only path to a good job.
The decline in interest was attributed to a year of school closures because of the COVID-19 pandemic, contentious political contests, racial incidents that highlighted divisions in American society, and the high price tag of higher education.
Just one-fourth of the 3,202 high school students polled over the past year by the ECMC Group, in partnership with VICE Media, saw college or university as the only road to a good job.
Teens said they wanted their high schools to provide more information about a variety of postsecondary options. While the majority of those polled said they wanted to forge their own path, they were not sure where those routes started and where they might lead.
Half the students surveyed said they thought they could achieve professional success with three years or less of education.
“High school students and their families have faced a great deal of change in their lives over the past year, which is translating into uncertainty as they look to their career paths,” Jeremy Wheaton, president and CEO of ECMC Group, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit focused on higher education, stated in a press release.
“While this shift in mindset isn’t surprising, it is up to us as leaders and mentors to educate learners about their future opportunities, which includes raising awareness about the variety of postsecondary learning options that are available.”
Teens cited the cost of college and university as their No. 1 complaint about higher education. No. 2 was the uncertain road after high school to a future career. No. 3 was not feeling prepared for work after school.
Other findings showed that teens wanted the government and private companies to provide education, funding for education, and debt forgiveness.
More than half of the respondents said COVID-19 created anxiety about their future, and they did not feel prepared for the next level. The financial impact of the pandemic made it less likely they would attend a four-year college and less likely to pursue education beyond high school.
The first survey of 1,177 high school students was conducted February 25-March 2, 2020; the second survey of 1,025 high school students was conducted May 14-20, 2020; the third survey of 1,001 high school students was conducted January 4-19, 2021.
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Iowa’s Clark Becomes NCAA Division-I All-Time Leading Scorer for Men’s and Women’s Basketball
Iowa star Caitlin Clark became the all-time NCAA Division I scoring leader on Sunday, breaking the late Pete Maravich's 54-year-old record when she made two free throws after a technical foul was called in the No. 6 Hawkeyes' game against No. 2 Ohio State.
Clark entered the game in Iowa City needing 18 points to pass Maravich's total of 3,667, amassed in just 83 games over three seasons at LSU (1967-70).
Maravich's record fell four days after Clark broke Lynette Woodard's major college women's record with 33 points against Minnesota on Wednesday.
Clark's record-setting points Sunday came in improbable fashion. Best-known for her long 3-point shots, she instead went past Maravich after Ohio State was called for a technical foul with less than a second to go in the first half.
Clark swished both free throws to run her career total to 3,668 points; she had no immediate reaction after the second shot went through, as if it hadn't sunk in yet.
Asked in a television interview at halftime if she was aware of the record when she stepped to the line, Clark said, "Not really. When they announced it and everybody screamed, that's when I knew."
Clark got off to a slow start. Her first shot was a 3-pointer that bounced off the rim. She missed a layup and from deep on the right wing before making a 3 from the left side for her first basket.
After starting 2 for 7, she made 3 of her next 4 shots — including three straight 3-pointers, each deeper than the previous.
Woodard was among the attendees at Carver-Hawkeye Arena to help Clark celebrate senior day. Also on hand were basketball great Maya Moore, who was Clark's favorite player, and Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan.
On Thursday, Clark announced she would enter the 2024 WNBA draft and skip the fifth year of eligibility available to athletes who competed during the COVID-19 pandemic. She is projected to be the No. 1 overall pick by the Indiana Fever, and the WNBA already is seeing a rise in ticket sales.
Logitix, which researches prices on ticket resale platforms, reported an average sale price of $598 for a ticket to this game purchased since Feb. 1.
"Listen, this is the greatest ticket on the planet right now," Woodard said in an interview with ESPN before the game. "Hey, I'm going to enjoy this right now."
Clark is all but assured of one or two more appearances at the arena in Iowa City after Sunday. Iowa is projected to be a No. 2 seed for the NCAA Tournament, meaning it would be at home for the first two rounds.
Pearl Moore of Francis Marion owns the overall women's record with 4,061 points from 1975-79 at the small-college level in the AIAW. Moore had 177 points at Anderson Junior College before enrolling at Francis Marion.
Clark was 393 behind Moore as of halftime Sunday, and she has only three to 10 more games left in an Iowa uniform depending on how far the Hawkeyes advance in the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments.
The fall of Maravich's record will be subject to scrutiny.
Maravich's all-time scoring mark is one of the more remarkable in sports history. There was no shot clock or 3-point line in his era. The 3-point line was adopted in 1986.
Maravich averaged 44.2 points per game. He scored more than 60 in a game four times, topping out at 69 against Alabama on Feb. 7, 1970.
Clark averages 28.3 points for her career and was playing in her 130th game Sunday. Her career-best output was 49 points against Michigan on Feb. 15, when she passed Kelsey Plum as the NCAA women's Division I career scoring leader.
Clark has 54 games with at least 30 points, the most of any player in men's or women's college basketball over the last 25 years. She has six triple-doubles this season and 17 in her career.
"What Caitlin's done has been amazing. She's a fantastic player, great for the women's game and basketball in general," Maravich's eldest son, Jaeson, told The Associated Press last week.
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