I knew this from my days working in the edtech space. Sinking into reports and analyses, I learned that when the economy is bad, people go back to school to acquire more skill (or to pay the bills with loans and grants). And as the economy improves, people return to the workforce as jobs get better and pay more than school. Countercyclical. This piece is great for going further into this story: states cant spend more than they take in, and they usually take in less during recessions, precisely when they need to spend more money on community colleges and state schools for the rise in enrollment. Who can spend more than they take in, especially when the economy is bad? The federal government. And thats where a solution to this skills-enrollment-funding issue lies.