Public Viewpoint: Trends in Education Plans

Released April 29, 2020


When faced with an economic crisis, Americans historically have turned to education as a way to meet the challenge and prepare for the future. But COVID-19 has disrupted our lives and work in unprecedented ways.
Will we react differently this time?

Already, an estimated 28 million Americans have canceled education plans, results from the fifth week of this nationally representative survey* show. So far, the number of people intending to pursue more education or training as a path forward has not increased in the last year. But those considering more education or training within the next five years are leaning toward different providers than they were a year ago.

Responses from more than 5,000 adults are now included in this survey, updated weekly and designed to track the impact of the pandemic on American lives, work, and education. Its intent is to provide insights to the education and training providers, policymakers, employers, and individual Americans who are navigating the crisis.

The majority of adults considering enrolling in an education or training program in the next six months prefer nondegree programs.

For Americans looking to enroll in the next six months, their interests are divided evenly among reskilling, upskilling, and pursuing personal interests.*

Americans’ intent to enroll in postsecondary education and training in the next five years (49%) has not increased from 2019 (53%).

But their intentions about where to enroll have shifted.