There’s no mistake; the higher education sector is facing a lot of challenges. These problems range from the declining number of overall student enrollment to a decrease in state funding. Looking at the bright side, though, these difficulties allow new strategies and methods to be developed by the sector. Are you up to speed with the trends in higher education?
In this article, we will take a look at what’s shaking up the sector. These college trends can either open new doors to success for you or hint at much bigger problems in the coming years if they’re not addressed.
Higher education leads to financial security, a prosperous career, and a comfortable lifestyle. In today’s society, a college diploma is more or less equal to a higher income in the future. With this mindset, it is reported in 2018 that 35.3% of women and 34.6% of men in the United States are college graduates.
However, many still question the value of higher education and its return on investment for students. Since the Great Recession, colleges and universities continue to face domestic and global challenges. Thus, the efforts of administrators and students in addressing the problems in higher education led to developments and changes to the system.
Asian and Pacific Islander students
Students of two or more races
American Indian/Alaska Native students
Nonresident alien students (not identified by race/ethnicity)
Source: National Center for Education StatisticsDesigned by
With increasing concerns over student loans, tuition fees, and lower graduation rates, the higher education sector continuously develops new methods, such as online education and utilization of popular LMS platforms. In the following sections, we will discuss the current trends in higher education.
Higher education is a necessity for an individual who wants to compete in the global economy. The mindset that a college diploma is necessary to living a middle-class lifestyle got tuition and fees skyrocketing to the point of being unaffordable. And because of decreased state funding, colleges experience an increase in their tuition and fees.
Since the ’80s, the costs of college tuition and fees have been increasing. In fact, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that for the academic year 2015-16, the average cost per year was $19,000 for a public four-year university. Meanwhile, it’s $40,000 for a private university.
However, the cost of college tuition varies depending on the type of institution and its location. The average tuition and fees for the school year 2018-19 range from $1,430 in California to $8,190 in Vermont. In Wyoming, it starts at $5,400 and $16,000 in New Hampshire. Furthermore, the Trends in Higher Education (College Board) reports that in the public four-year sector, there is a price increase of about 3% each year.
Source: US News(2019)Designed by
The National Association of College and University Business Officers, or NACUBO, revealed that incoming freshmen were offered discounts of higher than 50% by private colleges and universities for the school year 2017-18. In the following school year, it even rose up to 52%. Private institutions used this as a strategy so that students can consider attending their schools.
Instead of reducing the overall tuition, private institutions offer tuition fee discounts. Moreover, a psychology consultant found that 40% of students and their families would choose a school with discounted tuition over another college with lower tuition costs.
This could be because higher prices are interpreted as an indication of quality. Concerning the trends in college spending, many assume that the higher tuition price, the better education quality.
More high school graduates attend colleges and universities without being held back by full-time work or family obligations. As a result, student profiles changed drastically. The pipeline of traditional students aged 18 to 22 has now become flat or decreased in higher education. And with this, student preferences and behavior have also changed. According to Generation Z statistics, the current generation is overtaking the number of Millenials on campuses.
Gen Z students are divided into several races and ethnic minorities, making their population more diverse. Furthermore, Gen Z students are more focused on their education. In fact, about 59% of high school graduates aged 18 to 20 are in college.
Thus, education leaders now take into account these changes in the demographics and exert efforts to tailor the existing educational system to the new generation’s needs.
Female in 4-year college
Male in 4-year college
Female in 2-year college
Male in 2-year college
Female not in college
Male not in college
Source: UPCEA Generation Z and Millenial SurveyDesigned by
Nontraditional students make up almost 75% of the nearly 20 million students currently enrolled in post-secondary education. This led to institutions using more diverse course content delivery methods.
The trends in higher education enrollment see a decline in traditional student enrollees. Hence, the sector continues to recruit more non-traditional students.
To accommodate the educational needs of nontraditional students, institutions gear towards a flexible learning ecosystem. This includes online platforms, such as LMS software providers, that allow flexible learning management. Such systems also accelerate course completion by offering additional courses.
Because of the recent student demand, there is more emphasis on online learning programs. Online education saw a growth of 15.4% in 2018, up from 14.7% in 2016. Recently as well, administrators at Purdue University within the transdisciplinary studies in the technology program launched a competency-based online class. Professors used recording and video conferencing tools to record online lectures that students can access anytime.
In its earlier development, online education had the reputation of being second-rate. The past decades, however, saw remarkable advancements in the growth and quality of online education. The significance and usefulness of LMS solutions are now recognized in schools and corporations. These days, most universities and colleges are also providing online degrees.
Latin America / Carribean
Source: World Education ServicesDesigned by
The number of international students in the US during the fall semester of 2016-17 fell by 2.2% at the undergraduate level. At the graduate level, however, it fell by 5.5%.
To battle the declining number of student enrollees, universities and colleges recruit international students more aggressively. Leveraging international student activities can help raise new revenues. Recruiting more international students and encouraging partnerships with universities abroad also raise the stature of colleges and universities to global audiences.
In addition, the recruitment of international students leads to a diversified student body. It allows new cultural contexts that can, when integrated with the current curriculum, better prepare students to compete in a globalized economy.
Source: Statista (2019)Designed by
The growth of elearning software paved a new path for online program management organizations or OPMs. Universities and their corporate partners develop online courses. Meanwhile, OPMs provide the platform for students to take the classes.
Renowned universities like Harvard, Yale, NYU, and Georgetown provide online degrees through OPM providers. According to an OPM report by Huffpost, OPMs typically take 60% or more cut of tuition. As forecast, the market for OPMs and related services will soon hit almost $8 billion by 2020.
Institutions are now working with corporations to ensure that employee skills match their jobs. These enterprise training companies partner with universities and leverage their vast networks to help companies bridge the tech-talent gap in their workforce.
Although the uses of HR solutions include enhancing career development, higher education still serves as a better training ground for students. The likes of Pluralsight and Revature encourage university partnerships and collaboration with employers. They provide students and companies with the right programs to match their skills and needs.
Pluralsight, an online platform for software and IT developer training, utilizes its industry-updated content. With its close ties with employers, the corporation ensures success in the match. Revature, on the other hand, provides a program where students can pay back their tuition within two years after employment. This way, the needs of both students and employers are addressed through a collaborative learning management process.
Source: US Department of Labor (2018)Designed by
As the number of young adults in college rose, student loans also increased. By the end of March 2018, Americans owed approximately $1.5 trillion in student loans.
Data in 2018 show that about 70% of college students graduated with student loan debt. According to MeasurOne, an academic data firm, private student loans make up 7.63% of the total outstanding US student loans.
Moreover, the public student loan forgiveness, or PSLF, has improved since its launch in 2007. The program is for government and qualifying nonprofit employees with federal student loans. In this program, the remaining loan balance will be forgiven tax-free after eligible borrowers have made 120 loan payments.
But this is only possible if the borrowers are under an income-driven repayment plan. Based on the most recent data from Federal Student Aid, 1,216 people have received loan forgiveness.
Learning management systems for schools, or LMS created a more efficient system in higher education. Educators and administrators now use LMS to better develop and distribute course content. These applications are also handy in tracking student progress. Although LMS solutions mostly cater to corporations, there are now LMS platforms specific for higher education. Various LMS systems are available in the market today.
Here are some examples of LMS solutions used for higher education:
According to Salary.com, the average salary of college professors in the US is $152,327. For most popular college professor positions, salary ranges between $72,448 and $232,206.
But to earn a position in the academic field, it takes at least eight years of post-doctoral education and work experience. Moreover, instructors with several years of non-academic professional experience have greater chances of being a university professor.
Such is why the highest-paid professors are mostly found in prestigious private universities like Duke, Yale, and Harvard. These professors are commanding a continuous career and educational growth in the academic field.
University of Chicago
Source: American Association of University Professors Faculty Compensation Survey (2019)Designed by
A college degree leads to more opportunities career-wise. Thus, for many students, choosing a course in college takes a lot of preparation and consideration. According to the US Department of Education, the top factors affecting students’ college course choice include academic quality, having the desired program of study, and job placement.
Teaching skills, principles, and rules of education influence a country’s higher education sector. In addition, evaluation skills and appropriate educational materials make a difference in a country’s education quality. Thankfully, many countries have made huge improvements in this aspect.
Each country invests in its education system in the hopes that more graduates will soon move their economies to greater heights. According to QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings, the US tops the list of countries providing the best higher education quality. Meanwhile, the UK and Australia rank second and third places, respectively. This is based on system strength, access, flagship institution, and economic context.
The year 2019 in the higher education sector has been filled with headlines of presidential departures. In one instance, in 2019, four university presidents left their respective institutions in a single week.
As the years went by, the average tenure of college presidents decreased. From seven years in the past, it has now become five years or even less. This is because of the increasing demands and stressors that college presidents need to deal with. These include state funding, declining enrollment, and changing student demographics.
Meanwhile, according to data published by the American Council on Education last 2017, college presidents served an average of 6.5 years in the office. This is relatively lower compared to the 7-year average in 2011 and 8.5-year average in 2006.
Sorce: American Council on EducationDesigned by
Since the year 2000, Bill Gates has been investing in education. He and his wife believed that they could do something about the disparity between post-secondary success and achievements among students of color and low-income students. This led to the establishment of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Gates Foundation started a commission to determine the value of a college degree or certificate. Correspondingly, the Postsecondary Value Commission aims to provide a measurement tool to determine the economic payoff of certain degrees.
In addition, the commission will consider various factors affecting higher education. These include economic factors and post-college earnings, as well as the differences in earnings by degree type, student debt, and economic mobility.
The current trends in the higher education college board sector give us a partial view of what the future has in store for us. Some issues need addressing, and actions must be performed for better outcomes. For instance, technological advancements paved the way for learning management system platforms to address some of the changing demands of the education sector. Developments like this define how future graduates will fare in their respective fields.
What’s more pressing is, education quality today will influence the future workforce. This is why more corporations are taking measures to address employee skill mismatch. By working with educational institutions, corporations provide industry-specific courses to produce highly skilled graduates. This ensures that the new wave of employees is rightfully skilled for their jobs. And in case you need a hand in preparing new employees, you can read our guide to efficient employee onboarding.
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