The crisis of stagnant or declining postsecondary enrollment – a concern even before the pandemic – is deepening at Washington’s public two- and four-year colleges and universities. According to data shared with the Washington Roundtable by the state’s public postsecondary institutions:
- Fall 2022 enrollment of resident undergraduate students at Washington’s public four-year colleges and universities is down by nearly 10,000 students (11.3%) compared to pre-pandemic figures (fall 2019).
- Preliminary data also indicate that enrollment across the state’s 34 community and technical colleges is down by could be down upwards of 60,000 students (an estimated decline of 26% or more).
The decline in postsecondary enrollment contrasts with the increasing economic need for credentialed workers in Washington state. From Nov. 2021 to Nov. 2022, employers added more than 130,000 jobs in Washington. That follows a decade of economic growth when a credential—such as a degree, apprenticeship, or certificate—had become essential for jobs that offer a good salary and advancement opportunities.
Read more about the picture of postsecondary enrollment in Washington in fall 2022 in our latest report. Meeting students where they are and improving the postsecondary credential attainment rate is critical to our state’s future. Join us.
Research in 2021 indicated that Washington would add 373,000 net new jobs over five years, at least 70% of which will be filled by workers with a postsecondary credential. It is vitally important—to our state’s future and our residents—that more Washingtonians pursue the credentials that fuel our workforce and our economy. Yet, postsecondary enrollment stagnated through much of the last decade and declined markedly during the pandemic.
As a state, we must better understand why more Washingtonians don’t pursue and complete the credentials they need to succeed in the job market.
Employers will create 373,000 net new jobs in Washington state by 2026. Seventy percent of these jobs are expected to require or be filled by workers with a post-high school credential, such as a degree, apprenticeship, or certificate. But our state is facing a crisis in credential attainment, with the pandemic further driving declines in postsecondary enrollment.
One promising strategy: Automatically admit students to reduce enrollment barriers.
This fall, the 2021-22 Chief Education Officer (CEO) Network welcomed 6 new members. A partnership between the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP), Partnership for Learning, Washington Roundtable, and Challenge Seattle, the CEO Network brings a cohort of principals together during monthly workshops and offers access to online curriculum developed by AWSP. Principals are key to attracting and keeping high-quality teachers, according to research cited by the Education Policy Center. The CEO Network meetings are a place for principals to connect with their peers across the state, discuss solutions to challenges, and make their voices heard. Members have expressed the value of having a dedicated space with their peers to discuss topics such as grading, COVID, hiring, and credits. Read More
High school principals have a lot on their minds this month as they work to support teachers and students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learning and sharing experiences with other principals is valuable while they navigate similar challenges, such as grading, attendance, and planning for graduation. The Chief Education Officer (CEO) Network – a partnership between the Association of Washington Principals (AWSP), Partnership for Learning, Washington Roundtable and Challenge Seattle – brings a cohort of Washington high school principals together this school year for monthly virtual workshops and offers access to online curriculum developed by AWSP.
The November CEO Network meeting offered an opportunity for principals connect with one another, as well as engage with representatives from postsecondary education groups and institutions around admissions, as well as resources for high school families and counselors.Read More
From supporting student engagement and staff mental health to deciding how to welcome freshmen and how many classes students should take, high school principals in Washington state face unique challenges this fall. As schools return remotely for many districts and racial equity discussions continue, principals have numerous responsibilities to their students and staff, making professional development opportunities especially valuable right now.
In mid-August, more than 20 Washington high school principals gathered to kick off the two-year Chief Education Officer (CEO) Network program, which provides professional and leadership development to a cohort of high school principals from across the state. The group reflected about the upcoming school year and the importance of racial equity. They also heard presentations about digital literacy and school reopening data.
A partnership between the Association of Washington Principals (AWSP), Partnership for Learning, Washington Roundtable and Challenge Seattle, the CEO Network will bring principals together this school year for monthly virtual workshops and offer access to online curriculum developed by AWSP.
“Our goal is to create a cohort of principals that can lean on each other and support each other,” said Scott Friedman, associate director for AWSP.Read More
This spring brought the rapid escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic, unprecedented economic disruption, and a much-needed public conversation about racial equity. The Washington Roundtable and Partnership for Learning are committed to playing a collaborative and productive role as we move forward, together.
Today, we are releasing a new report underscoring that credential completion is increasingly essential, and that education can be a catapult for those farthest from opportunity and a driver of economic recovery.
This report shares lessons from the Great Recession; shines a light on those individuals who are most vulnerable in the economic wake of the COVID-19 pandemic (namely, people of color, young workers, and those with only a high school education); and begins to examine policy options and opportunities to build a better Washington. It highlights clear steps Washington schools and the state can take to ensure education quality and rigor during the pandemic, make up for pandemic-related setbacks, address inequities, and knock down barriers to credential attainment.
The challenges ahead are substantial, and the stakes are high. We remain wholly committed to our goal: By the high school class of 2030, 70% of Washington students complete a post-high school credential – such as a degree, apprenticeship, or certificate – by age 26. We all have a role to play in helping students get there. Please join us on the #pathto70.
The leadership demands of running a company and running a high school are more similar than one might expect. From personnel management and budgeting to healthy culture and handling crises, CEOs and high school principals share much in common.
This is one theme principals and business leaders have explored through the Chief Education Officer Network, a two-year program that provides professional and leadership development for a cohort of high school principals from across Washington state. A partnership between the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP), Partnership for Learning, Washington Roundtable, and Challenge Seattle, the CEO Network brings principals together for a series of two-day workshops and offers access to online curriculum developed by AWSP. It also individually matches each of the principals with a senior executive from Washington’s private sector for one-on-one discussions and support.Read More
Laura Lyman, a 10th grader at Cascade High School in Leavenworth, plans to be the first in her family to attend college. She knows how to organize. She is motivated. She recognizes college education will have positive impacts on her future. The data says she’s right. Many of the job openings coming to our state will be filled by workers who have a credential after high school.