“The most common question I hear from people in this community is, ‘Why didn’t I go to college when I was younger?'” says Mike Tice, a former student who now runs a college business in metro Atlanta.
“This is the only thing that has happened in my lifetime that hasn’t happened in the next 20 years.”
He adds that the question is “about time.”
The trend is one that has persisted even as many colleges are reopening and students are increasingly opting to graduate with more credits.
“The trend of graduating in the high school years is going away.
There are a lot of students who are still in high school, but they’re not going to get a degree,” says Elizabeth Smith, associate dean for undergraduate admissions at the University of South Carolina.
“I think we need to look at what it means for them to be able to pursue their education and how to make it sustainable.”
The current economic recession, coupled with a national shortage of teachers, led many colleges to reduce their student aid programs.
In the past few years, several institutions have begun allowing students to transfer credits from one college to another, in order to allow for more transferable credits.
This is known as “transfer credit.”
In the meantime, many colleges have seen a drop in applications, with many graduating with less than a full grade point average.
That’s why the average undergraduate degree is down from a peak of nearly 10,000 in 2010 to a low of 2,500 this year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
A few of the top institutions in metro areas like Atlanta, Birmingham and Knoxville, Tenn., are moving toward transferring students for courses they deem more important than the degree.
In some cases, that means more credit will be transferred from a particular school to another.
That is an especially significant development for students from poorer families.
According to data from the University at Buffalo, a typical Georgia high school student receives more than $35,000 of aid per year, a number that is nearly twice the amount received by students from the top four-year public universities in the state.
The average aid for the average student in Georgia is $28,890, according the College Board.
The drop in students from affluent families has been particularly dramatic in the past several years.
According to data compiled by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, students from families earning $75,000 to $150,000 a year are the least likely to have attended college in the last decade, and the least able to afford the tuition costs associated with it.
At the University in Georgia, students who earn less than $40,000 per year are nearly twice as likely to be admitted to a college as those earning more than that.
In 2015, there were more than 9,000 students who earned less than the federal poverty line, according an analysis by the Education Trust, a nonprofit group that advocates for low-income students.
That number dropped to 5,898 students who were not poor.
That trend is mirrored across the country, according at least one school.
In 2016, the University and College of New Jersey, a private university in Newark, N.J., started admitting students with income levels below the federal income threshold.
At the time, the university’s president called the decision a “game changer” and said the change will help lower-income families “find an affordable place to pursue a college education.”
While the change has been successful for some students, the college’s tuition has skyrocketed.
For a single undergraduate student, it would cost an additional $3,000.
And that’s assuming the student can meet the required graduation requirements.
The average tuition at the four- and five-year colleges in metro area cities is more than double that of the average for the nation as a whole, according a 2015 analysis by U.S. News & World Report.
The national average for four- year colleges was $23,624 in 2015.
According the data, a high school diploma is not just valuable to those who earn more than the poverty line.
It’s also an asset that students with less money can use to go on to college and a gateway to a good job.
The rise of online learning and other innovations that have created new forms of learning have helped to create more pathways to college, said Mary Ellen Reardon, the director of admissions at University of Chicago.
“The demand for college is up, the demand for higher education is up.
It seems like every other year we see a surge in students wanting to go to graduate school.
We need to make sure we keep up.”
For students from low- and middle-income households, college can be an important step to their futures.
For instance, a recent study from the College for Creative Studies at the university found that a college degree would improve the odds of students receiving a job in the economy by about a third, and it would boost their career prospects