Davenport University

Individuals with higher levels of education better able to weather economic storms

August report shows pandemic-related job losses are disproportionately impacting those without college degrees.

Amy Miller
for Davenport University
Seeking higher education may be the secret to a stable career in the future.

Despite the upheaval the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause individuals and families economically, experts say now may be the best time to pursue additional skills training or a college degree.

“The best way to insulate yourself and your family from the ups and downs of a pandemic-induced economic recession may be with an advanced degree,” said Dr. Richard Pappas, president, Davenport University.

“While it’s tempting to delay your education and wait for the economy to stabilize, universities that focus on matching students to high-demand careers can provide a direct path to stable employment.”

COVID-19 has caused many people to reexamine their future as it pertains to higher education. According to the Strada Education Network's Public Viewpoint survey, which has drawn more than 13,000 responses, 65% of people between the ages of 18-24 have decided to cancel, shift or otherwise rearrange their schooling plans this fall.

Yet recent numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show pandemic-related job losses are disproportionately impacting those without college degrees.

The August 2020 jobs report shows the unemployment rate for individuals with a high school diploma or less is more than double that of those with a bachelor's degree or higher. The same holds for individuals at the height of the 2008 recession.  

Although it may seem stressful or inconvenient, now may actually be the best time to go back to school to earn a degree. 

“There was a tremendous amount of uncertainty about what the school year would look like for students of all ages,” said Lisa Howze, vice president of Detroit campuses and strategic partnerships, Davenport University. “This led some universities to extend the enrollment window.

"A college education does not have to be a dream deferred. At Davenport, we offer a second start to Fall semester, beginning Nov. 2. This second session offers the same caliber classes as our traditional Fall semester, except at an accelerated pace."

Howze recommends considering these factors when considering college enrollment:

1. People have more free time now than they realize.

Harvard Business Review reports that in the United States alone, eliminating the daily commute for people now working from home has saved a total of about 89 million hours each week. Similarly, a survey done by The New York Times and Morning Consult of people working from home revealed that about 40% of them reported having more free time.

Even those still working away from home probably aren’t going out as much as they used to because of social distancing mandates. Instead, they’ve been cooking or baking (in March, the hashtag #stressbaking had more than 26,000 posts on Instagram alone), watching more TV or playing games. While these activities can help a person relax, it could be rewarding to channel that extra time and energy into something more productive. All those hours spent in the kitchen or in front of a screen can quickly add up to enough time to work towards earning a degree or certification that can advance a career and boost earning power.  

2. Online learning has made “going to college” easier than ever.

The final weeks of March generated as much broadband traffic growth as had previously been expected in a full year, according to a Microsoft report. Online has become how people socialize, do business and get an education. Although many institutions scrambled to switch to online formats at first and are still experimenting to get it right, Davenport University is among a much lesser number of schools that have offered online courses for years and, as a result, have perfected the experience of online AND in-seat classes.

Because of COVID-19, there’s growing awareness and acceptance of online learning. Its ease, convenience and affordability are greatly expanding opportunities for many more people – including adults who can earn their degree without being physically present on campus and can work classes around their existing schedules.

3. There’s special financial help available right now.

In May, Davenport announced a scholarship to support people who are unemployed, laid-off or furloughed because of COVID-19. This new Launch Scholarship provides up to $8,000 per year for up to four years of education. It can be used to earn a graduate degree, finish a bachelor’s degree or enroll in a professional development program to upgrade skills. The deadline to apply has been extended to Jan. 11, 2020.

There are many other opportunities to help manage the costs of earning a degree. Always talk to a financial aid counselor first, as they can identify the funds a student is eligible for and walk a person through how others with a similar background have been able to succeed.

Currently, only one-third of Americans under the age of 30 have at least a bachelor’s degree. People who have started but stopped college – about 40% nationwide — on average earn only a little more than those with just a high school diploma.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the average full-time employee with a bachelor’s degree earns an average of $20,000 more per year than a full-time employee with an associate degree. And those with a master’s degree, on average, earn $16,000 more per year when compared to those with a bachelor’s.

While the pandemic has caused chaos in many areas of society, now may be the best time to explore higher education. Time spent now securing the education needed to land a stable career could pay off ten-fold in the future.

Visit davenport.edu/launch or call 800.686.1600 for scholarship information.