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Charts of the Week: College reopening; for-profit college debt; declining US white population

In this edition of Charts of the Week: a focus on higher education, plus new demographic analysis of the declining white population in the United States. FACTORS IN COLLEGE REOPENING DECISIONS Researchers from the Hamilton Project examine the reasons…

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By Fred Dews

In this edition of Charts of the Week: a focus on higher education, plus new demographic analysis of the declining white population in the United States.

FACTORS IN COLLEGE REOPENING DECISIONS

Researchers from the Hamilton Project examine the reasons why higher education institutions made reopening decisions after most moved to online learning last spring, noting that “differing financial pressures on public schools, private schools, and community colleges likely played a role.” They also note in their analysis the varied financial pressures and sources of operating income that different types of institutions face. “As the fallout of the pandemic continues to unfold,” these authors conclude, “educational institutions must consider the broad impacts of online learning on retention, learning opportunities, and student achievement,” with particular attention to academically vulnerable students.

MORE DEBT, LESS RETURN AT FOR PROFIT COLLEGES

For profit college

Ariel Gelrud Shiro and Richard Reeves observe that for-profit colleges, which have rebounded under Trump-era deregulation, “yield higher debts and poorer labor market outcomes for students when compared to other forms of postsecondary education.” And, while Black and Latino students constitute less than a third of all college students, they represent nearly half of enrollment in for-profit colleges as a result of, say Shiro and Reeves, “predatory recruitment tactics targeted at Black and Latino communities.” As the chart above shows, students enrolled in for-profit colleges are the most likely to borrow money for no return, a problem more acute for Black and Latino students.

DECLINING WHITE POPULATION IN US

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William Frey has analyzed Census Bureau surveys and studies leading up to the release of the full results of the decennial Census, and notes some key demographic trends in the U.S. population. “These trends,” he writes, “include an unprecedented stagnation in population growth, a continued decrease in Americans’ geographical mobility, more pronounced population aging, a first-time decline in the size of the white population, and rising racial and ethnic diversity among millennials, Gen Z, and younger groups, which now comprise a majority of the nation’s residents.” The chart above shows that if the white population decline is confirmed by the Census, it would be the first time since 1790 that the white population did not grow.

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