Nashville high schoolers who graduated in 2020 were less likely than their predecessors to immediately enroll in college. The pandemic last fall shut down schools and created new barriers that derailed students from pursuing their post-high school plans.
A new Bridge to Completion report compiled by nonprofit Nashville Public Education Foundation shows that 42% of kids who took steps to enroll in college didn’t see their plans through. That is roughly 1,750 students, an increase of nearly 1,000 kids since the previous year.
Overall, about 80% Metro Schools students participated in the college admission cycle, whether completing financial aid or scholarship applications, according to the foundation. The report defines college as “any formal training after high school, including technical certification, associate degree, and bachelor’s degree programs.”
The decrease was reflected nationally as colleges across the country saw downward enrollment trends last fall. The decline continued into the spring with undergraduate enrollment down nearly 6% compared to the same time last year.
The good news, however, is more Nashville kids are actually graduating from college. But the concern is the pandemic may put a dent in future progress. Metro Schools is now at it’s lowest college-going rate in a decade.
And now that most kids have been learning virtually this school year, there is new concern that there will be a similar decline for the class of 2021.
Leaders from the Tennessee College Access & Success Network, however, say education officials are actively engaged in plans to reconnect with students whose college plans were sidelined by the pandemic. This is in addition to helping the class of 2021 get through the enrollment process.