5 Trends Currently Shaping Higher Education
Adapting to the rapid changes in higher education requires the tracking and understanding of domestic and international shifts. This is no small task. Fortunately, author and higher education administrator of more than forty years, Marguerite J. Dennis, has researched the trends currently shaping higher education and provided the following list of the changes she believes deserve the most consideration:
- U.S. higher education enrollment continues to decline: Since 2014, national college enrollments have declined 7.9 percent. For-profit schools, community colleges, and state-supported colleges and universities have been hit the hardest. This could mean trouble for several tuition-driven schools with low endowments and weak brand-name recognition.
- Online learning continues to grow: A recent report conducted by Babson Research Group and the Online Learning Consortium, shows continued growth in the number of students taking courses online. In addition, the majority of institutions plan to increase their online offerings within the next year. Online offerings may present one way to increase enrollment and the bottom line.
- Competency-based education is booming: At least 600 institutions of higher learning are planning to implement competency-based degree programs. That’s up from 50 schools with active programs in 2014.
- Tuition discounting is up, but unsustainable: According to recent studies from the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), tuition discounting at private, nonprofit institutions is up, and tuition revenue is straining to keep up (especially at a time when enrollment is low). Most business officers consider the current discounting figures unsustainable.
- Tuition-free programs expand: Since May 2017, multiple new tuition-free college programs have been offered to low-income students. The Boston Bridge program in Massachusetts is one of them, pooling over 21,000 applicants only days after opening the application window. Time will tell whether this trend continues to gain traction.
The trends above suggest higher education administrators must be willing to explore new strategies to adapt to shifting learning and business models. Read the full article from Enrollment Management Report to learn how several institutions are reacting to these trends.
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