Disruptions caused by the coronavirus will likely lengthen the time students take to earn a college degree, education experts say. And the effects will be felt most acutely by low-income and first-generation students.
“This could add a year or two easily to a student’s time to degree,” Kristen Renn, an education professor at Michigan State University, told The Hechinger Report.
The estimate is based on past economic recessions. Experts say higher education will continue to see the effects of the pandemic for six or more years as students delay college, take time off, reduce their credit hours, or transfer schools in response to the coronavirus.
Overall, dropout rates are expected to rise while completion rates fall.
“We’re so focused on the now and on the short-term future,” Laura Perna, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, told The Hechinger Report. “It’s much harder to think about the long term, but there are serious long-term consequences to this.”
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