Maximize Budget and Expand Curriculums with Virtual Labs

Virtual labs offer creative ways to maximize resources, expand courses, and enhance long-term program sustainability.

Lab equipment and facilities saddle STEM curriculums with a higher price tag than other majors. Meanwhile, programs are facing tightening budgets, leaky retention rates, and ever more selective student populations. Discover how virtual labs are empowering programs to meet these challenges head on.

Enrollment has declined

Between 2010 and 2021, two-year public colleges lost 38% of their enrollment. Four-year private for-profit colleges experienced a drop of 54% during the same period (1).

STEM difficulty pushes students away

Asked why they did not pursue their STEM ambitions, 52% of survey respondents cited the difficulty level of STEM subject matter (2).

STEM is still a growing job market

STEM career opportunities are expected to grow twice as much as non-STEM fields this decade and pay twice as much, too (3).

In spite of the challenges facing STEM education, U.S. STEM jobs are expected to grow by twice as much as non-STEM positions between 2021 and 2031, while also paying double in median annual salary (3).

While 40% of adults say they were interested in pursuing a STEM career at some point in their lives, only 13% of workers in the U.S. are employed in STEM jobs. This in spite of the fact that millions of STEM positions are expected to remain unfilled in the coming years due to skilled labor shortages What’s more, when asked why they did not pursue their STEM ambitions, 52% of respondents cited the difficulty level of STEM subject matter (2).

As STEM programs consider their long-term sustainability, they must embrace new tools for tackling the learning barriers precluding students from graduating into science careers.

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(1) Welding, Lyss. “U.S. College Enrollment Decline: Facts and Figures: BestColleges.”, 16 Aug. 2023.

(2) Kennedy, B., Hefferon, M., & Funk, C. (2018). Half of Americans think young people don’t pursue STEM because it is too hard.

(3) “Employment in STEM Occupations.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 8 Sept. 2022.

(4) Schechter, R.L., Chase, P.A., Shivaram, A. (2023). Virtual Lab Implementation Model Predicts STEM Future Plans: Insights from Contemporary Science Courses in Higher Education. EdMedia+ Innovate Learning, 6-10.