NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

More Students Avoiding High-Tech Courses

October 9, 2002

Studying computer science and engineering is no longer as popular on college campuses as it was before the dot-com bubble burst. The decline in enrollments started last fall and gained momentum this fall, according to college administrators.

  • Although official figures for this year are not yet available, some schools report drops of 20 percent to 30 percent in enrollments in a key course for computer science majors.
  • Enrollments in computer science and engineering dipped slightly in 2001 to 18,012 -- from 18,870 the previous year.
  • Experts are concerned that the trend could eventually lead to worker shortages in high-tech fields -- such as occurred after the last recession.

The turnabout has several causes, experts report. More than 334,000 tech and telecom workers have lost their jobs this year. And hires of high-tech workers have fallen 27 percent so far in 2002.

The average tech-job search now takes about six months, compared to three months last year.

Salaries and perks such as stock options in the industry have declined and it is almost impossible to take a new tech company public these days, according to industry specialists.

Source: Michelle Kessler, "More Students High-Tail It Out of High-Tech Classes," USA Today, October 9, 2002.

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