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Less than half of students in Arizona pursue education after high school

According to the U.S. News and World Report, the average college student graduates nearly...
According to the U.S. News and World Report, the average college student graduates nearly $30,000 in debt.(AZ Family)
Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 6:55 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — According to a report from the Arizona Board of Regents, 46% of students in Arizona pursue an education after high school. It’s the third year in a row enrollment has dropped. Post-secondary education includes enrollment at a university, community college or trade school.

Matt Lopez, the executive director of enrollment services at Arizona State University, says getting people to go to college in our state has been an ongoing challenge, accelerated by the pandemic. “Our community college partners have certainly been hit probably the hardest,” says Lopez.

In March, Maricopa County Community College officials said enrollment was down 16-17%. John Arnold with the Arizona Board of Regents says people getting two-year degrees has been on the decline for the past decade. But why? “The No. 1 reason in general, nationally that students give, is it’s too expensive,” he said.

According to the U.S. News and World Report, the average college student graduates nearly $30,000 in debt. Arnold says it’s a worthwhile investment. “On average, people with a four-year degree make 70-80% more in their earnings than someone with a high school diploma alone. But it’s not just about your earnings. Those earnings transfer down to your children so not only does a graduate do better, their children do better,” Arnold said.

Arnold says, in an effort to make college more appealing, universities are trying to be more transparent about why degrees hit the pocket so deep. He says they are also trying to bring more awareness to programs and scholarships that will help offset the costs. Arizona Promise is a scholarship that will pay the tuition of someone from a low-income family. For more information, click here.

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