Future of higher ed: survey of 2,800 academic leaders

Scroll down to the 2nd chart:


Note the top four factors having “the greatest impact on the future of higher education”; on the chart the first is cost, and the next three are essentially “proving the value of a college degree”:

  • Cost/student debt – 62%
  • Work force development/gainful employment – 42%
  • Assessment of learning outcomes – 31%
  • Competency-based education – 28%

I have been saying the following for several years:

  1. Costs are skyrocketing.
  2. Most colleges and universities cannot empirically demonstrate they have any impact on students whatsoever.
  3. Surveys indicate that more and more students are going to college for a job, not for general learning.
  4. As costs skyrocket, students and families more closely examine the costs and benefits of a college degree.
  5. Due to #1-#4, many institutions are now in a very bad place.
  6. So here is what we will see:
  • Expensive, non-selective privates will begin to close and merge. They can’t demonstrate impact on students, they can’t fall back on selectivity as a proxy for quality outcomes, and they simply cost too much.
  • Smart institutions will begin a mad scramble to demonstrate they are worth the cost.
  • Thus we see a growing emphasis on a) competency-based education and b) schools demonstrating that their graduates will be gainfully employed.

Most academic leaders get all of the above, hence the results of the Babson survey.

Stephen By Stephen

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Professor and quant guy. Libertarian turned populist Republican. Trying to learn Japanese and play Spanish Baroque music on the ukulele.

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