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A recent American Academy of Arts & Sciences report declared that dwindling support for the humanities could cripple U.S. commercial innovation and erode civic engagement. Although the number of Americans with degrees in the humanities, such as history and English, is at a record high, the proportion of those majoring in the humanities has been declining, as students increasingly choose career-focused majors such as nursing and engineering. New data show that humanities majors earn less in their first jobs than career-specific majors. Florida's governor has proposed trimming state tuition for students in majors with strong job prospects while allowing tuition to rise for humanities students. A House panel wants to slash funding for humanities research and education. Meanwhile, the new revelations about humanities graduates' earnings give liberal arts colleges reason to worry about a White House proposal to rate colleges based partly on graduates' salaries.
|1960s||Percentage of humanities majors hits new high, but colleges begin dropping liberal arts requirements to attract students.|
|1970s–1980s||As college enrollments soar, humanities majors drop from record highs.|
|1990s||Humanities majors increase slightly, as do liberal arts requirements, including at community colleges.|
|2000s||Rising student debt and economic insecurity drive interest in career-oriented studies.|