Why a Technical School Education might be better for the Economy than a Traditional College Education

When it comes to studies over the past few years which have documented the rising number of college dropouts, as well as the economic impact their school abandonment causes in the United States, the numbers are nothing less than shocking.
A study by Harvard in 2011 showed that it takes more than 50% of college students up to 6 years to finish a degree that used to regularly be earned in 4. More than a quarter of the students who begin two-year degrees can finish them in 3 years. Another study had similar results. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s goal is to help improve the world economy, and while conducting a study of 18 countries and their higher education’s graduation rates, they found that only 46% percent of students who start college actually earn a degree. Out of the countries studied, the United States came in with the lowest graduation rate.
Why do College Students Drop Out?
There are several reasons why college students may choose not to finish the schooling they begin. They range from personal to financial, a few of the biggest ones are:
  • Can’t afford it- students who are not lucky enough to get scholarships or assistance from other sources like family members oftentimes take out students loans in addition to receiving government financial aid.
  • Have families- students who have either chosen to have kids at a young age or have decided to go back to college after starting a family already have many responsibilities, and sometimes the added workload of tests, homework and assignments that go along with school can be too much to deal with.
  • Would prefer to work- some people just don’t like school. Due to ADD and the inability to focus, or for whatever personal reasons they have, not everybody thinks they are cut out for higher education.
  • Not having direction or goals in mind- Some people begin college with a major in mind, or even one declared in some cases. But some people begin to take the necessary general education classes and can not decide what they want to focus their schooling on, or they burn out early and think school is not for them.
In 2011, the American Institutes for Research issued a report that took a close look at the impact college dropouts have on the United States economy. In one year alone the government suffered a loss of $566 million in federal taxes, and a loss of $3.8 billion in income! Based off of those number, the AIR estimates that over the course of 45 years the government could lose $158 billion dollars in income due to students dropping out of college.
Regardless of what one’s reason is for dropping out, the numbers are undeniable. That is not to say that traditional forms of higher education are not important or should not be considered when contemplating going to school, but there are other options for those who do not think a 4-year university education is for them.
At vocational schools the programs provide the students with classes specific to the industry they want to work in. The cost is generally much cheaper than going to a traditional college and the students leave school with not only a degree or diploma, but with actual work experience to add to their resume. Some schools like Los Angeles ORT College have a strong and well-known reputation among the industries they provide schooling for, so employers are more likely to hire their graduates since they know the type of education they received.
Within 3 months, these students were able to find careers after graduating from LA ORT College, and we would like to congratulate them!
Vanessa Oregel
Jesse Larios
Genesis Garces
Yan-An Zhang.
Jing Jing Long
Kevin Noel
Juarte Viliene
For more information on the programs offered at LA ORT College please visit our website or give us a call!
Los Angeles Campus: (323) 966-5444 
Van Nuys Campus:  (818) 382-6000

LA ORT is a group of nonprofit junior colleges in Los Angeles and Van Nuys provide career training in short term courses.