New state report shows Hoosier college rate is at its lowest in recent history

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A recent study from the state shows fewer Hoosiers are attending college after graduating high school.

The study was reported by the Indiana Commission of Higher Education. It’s based on the 2019 graduating high school class. The new study shows that only 59% of this class attended a certified two-year or four-year college or university.

Indiana’s college rate has been on the decline for the past several years, but the latest percentage is the lowest in recent history. Back in 2015, the rate was at 65% but in 2019 there was a six percent drop.

COVID-19 was not included in the study because this was based on the 2019 graduates.

WANE 15’s Briana Brownlee went downtown to ask the community how they felt about attending college or a university.

“I don’t know, it just didn’t seem like that was the best way to support myself, a fresh start is what I need, not like a thousand dollars in debt,” said Sophia Franco, a high school graduate.

22-year-old Franco graduated high school in 2017 and did attend college. She was raised on the values of higher education, but while in college she questioned if it was the best decision. According to the Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education, Teresa Lubbers, Hoosiers with education beyond high school were less likely to be unemployed after the pandemic. However, Franco said her friends who went the trade school route are doing pretty well.

“It seems as if those jobs just do better because there is always a need for that kind specialty,” Franco said. “A lot of the people I know still in school are just hardcore struggling, especially with the pandemic and the fact that the tuition for college hasn’t been dropped.”

Jamie went the trade school route. She attended a nine-month program for the dental field. She said she was taught the basics and afterwards and was thrown into her field. She believes the decision is based on what someone wants, and college isn’t something people “have to do.”

“I went the trade school route because I was diagnosed with type one diabetes,” Jamie said. “I needed to get into something that would offer medical benefits. Getting medical insurance was a big factor for me.”

Lesley Douglass is a mother of two, she has a son who is a sophomore in high school and a daughter in 7th grade. She said higher education is huge factor in her family, but she will let her children make the ultimate decision.

“I think they would love to play college soccer, so I think it helps when you are in athletics or any extracurricular activities,” Douglass said.

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