Adults leave college to support themselves

By Leonardo Cervantes

Students ages  20 to 30 are leaving community colleges for a multitude of reasons including financial concerns and work-related reasons. Maintaining good grades is already stressful enough. 

Some students have to look after their loved ones and this leads to a tough decision. This tough decision has been trending in having to drop out of college

The COVID-19 pandemic shifted the lifestyle of everyone, especially students attending college. 

The pandemic caused major life-altering decisions and one of them included students dropping out of school. 

Students now are prefering to drop out of school and work a job instead. This is due to money being tight the last few years.

Jobs at Amazon and UPS were considered essential jobs during the pandemic and offered young adults a chance to earn money during those difficult times. 

UPS and Amazon are two entities that everybody knows or uses on a daily basis. Amazon requires you to be 18 years or older and have completed high school or earned your GED certificate. 

By many, it’s considered a fast and easy starter job.

Young adults in this age group are likely already raising a family or looking after older parents who can’t care for themselves any longer. 

This leads to tough choices having to be made by individuals and vary depending on the reasoning. It becomes difficult for students to juggle between getting good grades, having a job and taking care of loved ones.

The cost of living in California within the past five years has been higher than ever. 

No matter your preferred destination, gas prices are nearly impossible to find under $5 a gallon. Depending on the brand of car a student might drive the weekly prices become too much to pay for. 

Even though there are many alternatives like getting a bus pass students would still like to be able to drive their own cars in order to get supplies or other errands.

Another factor is the high cost of food. 

A large combo from a fast food restaurant like Mcdonald’s or Burger King will cost about $12. At the grocery market essential food items like a gallon of milk and a carton of eggs cost $5-6 depending on the brand. In previous years the cost of a gallon of milk and carton of eggs were roughly a dollar cheaper. 

Again, the cafeterias are usually open at campuses, but students have a preferred taste, so the school cafeteria isn’t an option they want daily. 

So, even if young adults want to attend school, it’s just not financially reasonable for them to do so.

Since the trend of students is 20 to 30 is getting significantly lower at community colleges, Vision 2030 could be a way these numbers return to how they used to be. 

Vision 2030 is an action for policy reform and system developments to support students. 

College leaders plan on increasing the percentage of students earning degrees, certificates and specific skill sets for in-demand jobs by 20% by 2026. 

Vision 2030 also plans to focus on establishing and expanding programs that address workforce needs in healthcare, climate response, education and early education. 

Vision 2030 intends to increase the number of Pell Grant recipients, California College Promise Grant recipients and reduce units to associate degrees for transfer.

A few incentives like a lower cost of living might make the students return back to school. 

Community colleges offering more online classes as well as more flexible hours could improve the affected age demographic. 

Many students have many priorities so adding more schedule friendly courses would be beneficial. While there are concerns with students leaving community colleges, this trend will possibly go in the opposite direction over the following years.

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