There’s Talk of Sharing Financial Risk in Higher Ed. We Should Focus on Reducing It Instead.

COVID-19 has upended the traditional logic of recessions and higher education. Typically, when jobs evaporate, Americans turn to colleges and universities to increase their skills and marketability. With this downturn, though, the increased interest is there, but enrollments aren’t.

This fall, undergraduate enrollment decreased by 2.5 percent from 2019, and some of the steepest declines were at the two-year institutions (-7.5 percent) and for-profit universities (-1.9 percent) that typically see the greatest surges from newly-unemployed workers looking to retrain. More than 4 in 10 adults say that the pandemic has made them more likely to pursue additional education—yet they are far more skeptical about whether doing so will be worth the cost or lead to a good job. These potential students see tremendous risk, and they’re paralyzed.

The financial risk of entering higher education was already high, precisely because of the cost of failure. Degrees hold significant weight in the

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Survey shows liberals, conservatives worried about sharing opinions at UNL | Education

To provide context to the scores, the College Free Speech Rankings include anonymous anecdotes from students about times they felt they could voice their opinions on campus.

The responses include a wide array of situations and opinions on campus.

“A professor strongly implied that everyone who votes for Trump is a racist,” wrote one student. “I felt that I could not say anything to challenge that idea because I would get smeared as a racist for doing so.”

“I think our students are relatively conservative, so I am nervous to criticize Donald Trump, especially in front of the ‘country’ boys,” another wrote.

The results of the College Free Speech Rankings provide some contrast with a climate survey done by the university two years ago after UNL was embroiled in a campus free speech incident.

A survey of students, employees and alumni from across the NU system conducted by Gallup found

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