Why 50% of Gen Z students say they see less value in college degrees

UB University Business

Chris Burt
June 7, 2022
A new survey from ECMC and Vice Media questions just how well colleges can prepare them for the future.
Three refrains from the next generation of students and higher ed experts have bombarded college and university leaders over the past two years: they must create better career pathways, build shorter paths to credentials and be more affordable. But are institutions really listening?
The fifth in a series of surveys done by ECMC and Vice Media of more than 1,000 14- to 18-year-olds shows their increasing disconnect with higher education, with around 50% believing that a college degree isn’t necessary to get them where they want to go in the future. That number is down a staggering 20% from May of 2020 and 14% from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Generation Z’s predecessors also have punctuated that trend since surveys began in January 2020, as higher education has lost more than 1.4 million students, including the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s latest report of another 4.7% falling off that cliff this spring year over year. Blame a robust job market and millions of openings—75% of those polled know about workforce shortages—the embers of a still-smoldering pandemic and, maybe, the lack of seismic change among institutions to meet their needs. Nearly 90% of those surveyed in the latest Question The Quo Education Pulse Survey said colleges aren’t doing enough to prepare students for future careers.