Despite the rising cost of tuition, more students have enrolled in Virginia colleges and universities than ever before and they’re majoring in some surprising subjects.
College enrollment in Virginia has increased every year since 1993, and last year was no exception with the number of new students up 5%. Public and private schools also awarded a record number of bachelor’s degrees -- nearly 55-thousand.
Thirty-five percent were in so-called STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and math, but other subjects were holding their own.
“The traditional bachelor’s degrees that have prevailed in popularity continue to be psychology, biology, business administration, although we’ve seen a substantial increase in the last number of years in nursing degrees,” says Peter Blake, Director of the State Council of Higher Education. He adds that not everyone is getting a four-year degree.
“As the economy has changed we see demand not just for a bachelor’s degree but for associate degrees and workforce credentials – a commercial driver’s license for truck driving and logistics. Certain health professions require certifications in order to be employed, credentials related to technology certification and those sorts of things."
Blake says higher education is increasingly important. Of all the new jobs created since the great recession, 99% required some post-high school training or education.