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Ascendium in the News March 15, 2021

One Way to Speed Up Economic Recovery? Focus on Adult Higher Education

Author: Ernest Ezeugo

When the Covid-19 pandemic ripped through the American economy last March, millions of people found themselves out of work. Individuals without higher education credentials were among those hit the hardest, prompting predictions that the pandemic’s economic fallout would drive up college enrollment like the 2008 recession did. But the boom has not come: enrollments declined by 2.5 percent in fall 2020 and continue to trend downward in spring 2021.

As the country transitions into what may be the final months of the pandemic and people continue to look to get back to work, what role will higher education play in the economy’s recovery? How does higher education meet the moment?

Four strategies for state leaders outlined in the Education Strategy Group’s Rapid Response Toolkit provide guidance for how policy change can create favorable conditions that make it easier for adult learners to engage with and earn credentials from institutions.

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