Hot Job Market Creating More College Dropouts

Intelligent.com has published a new survey report that examines expected college re-enrollment rates for fall 2022 suggests that more students are dropping out to take advantage of today’s hot job market.

According to the report, 17 percent of students say they will not enroll in school, and 19 percent are unsure about their education plans for fall 2022. Students who started college in 2018 or earlier are most likely to drop out, with 22 percent of these students saying they don’t plan on returning in the fall. By comparison, only 12 percent of current freshmen don’t anticipate re-enrolling for the fall 2022 term.

Online students are more likely to drop out than students who attend classes in person or have a hybrid class schedule. Twenty percent of respondents enrolled in virtual coursework plan to quit after this term. In contrast, only 16 percent of students who attend on-campus or a mix of virtual and in-person classes will disenroll. 

Additionally, dropout rates are almost the same with reference to race and gender. Eighteen percent of male and 16 percent of female college students say they will not enroll this fall. Both Black and White students report plans to quit school by 18 percent. Similarly, 15 percent of Hispanic/Latino students and 15 percent of Asian students say they will not enroll in school this year. Students enrolled for four or more years are more likely to drop out after this term by 22 percent.

The study indicates that the strong labor market and academic uncertainty are driving most students to drop out of college. Thirty-one percent of students who plan to quit school say they want to take advantage of increased employment opportunities and secure a job. Likewise, 31 percent of respondents say they will not attend school in the fall because they are unsure what they want to study. Other top reasons for the expected dropout rate include financial hardships, mental and physical health issues, and poor academic performance. 

Survey results show that most students who plan to drop out will pursue entrepreneurship. Twenty-eight percent of respondents say they will start their own business, while 26 percent of future college dropouts will work full time. Alternatively, many students also plan to continue their education through vocational training and certificate courses. Twenty-six percent of respondents say they will attend coding bootcamps, 25 percent will enroll in certificate or job training programs, and 22 percent will attend vocational or trade schools.

Intelligent.com commissioned this study which was administered via the online survey platform Pollfish. The survey was distributed from April 15 to April 17, 2022 to adults aged 18-54. Respondents were identified via a screening question, and all data found within this report derives from the survey. To qualify for the study, each respondent was required to be enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program with an expected graduation date of 2023 or later. To access the complete report, click here.


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