In a recently published article in Forbes, Brandon Busteed makes the provocative statement that elite universities should enroll a million students. Busteed opens his article by writing that the Ivy Plus colleges (the Ivy League plus the University of Chicago, MIT, Stanford, and Duke) produce the highest social mobility success rate, with nearly 60 percent of their students from the bottom quintile of income distribution moving to the top quintile after graduating. (Note: Just 3.8 percent of students from the bottom quintile of income distribution are enrolled at these institutions.)
In a newly issued report, the National Student Clearinghouse reported that the total of 3.7 million new undergraduate degree earners was flat in the 2019-2020 academic year for the first time in eight years. Even more alarming, while the total numbers remained the same, the number of first-time graduates decreased 1 percent (26,000), while non-first-time completers continued to increase by 2.7 percent.
Google the term “Higher Ed predictions 2021,” and Google’s search engine indicates that there are about 398,000,000 results. Fortunately, Google attempts to put the most relevant search results on the first page, and 10 appears to be the number that can fit in Google’s listing format. I decided to summarize a few.
The National Student Clearinghouse issued its final Fall 2020 enrollment report for higher education institutions this week. Appropriately, the report’s title had “COVID-19” in a smaller font above it. Clearly, COVID-19 influenced higher education enrollment this year, but the question remains as to whether COVID-19 simply accelerated a trend that was already in the works.
Peter Felten and Leo Lambert have worked together for years at Elon University. Dr. Felten is a professor of history at Elon and also serves as the assistant provost for teaching and learning. Dr. Lambert is a professor of education at Elon and is also president emeritus, having served as president from 1999 through 2018. Their beliefs in the value of relationships as part of the undergraduate experience led them to interview nearly 400 students, faculty, and staff at 29 colleges and universities across America to evaluate best practices in building relationships through formal and informal programs. This research eventually led to the creation of the book Relationship-Rich Education: How Human Connections Drive Success in College.
The Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers’ College, the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, and the Aspen Institute Education & Society Program recently published a report analyzing successful dual enrollment programs at community colleges in three states.
In the recent issue of Washington Monthly, Kevin Carey recommends a different policy architecture for American higher education. He writes that the best time to build it is now.
New America, a think tank dedicated to confronting the challenges created by technology and social change and seizing those opportunities, released a report this week titled The Comeback Story. The report, authored by Hadass Sheffer, Iris Palmer, and Annette Mattei addresses the various ways that adults return to school to complete their degrees. The topic interests me a great deal as I spent the past 18 years leading American Public University System (APUS) to collaboratively find ways to improve the success of our working adult students.
After writing about the four Grand Challenges to higher education, I decided to write about how a digital university, APUS, has addressed some of these widespread concerns. Student success was the first widespread concern written about by Grajek and Brooks, and they further refined their definition in multiple subparts which is helpful.
With cases of the coronavirus on the rise around the U.S., colleges leaders that made the early call to go online for the fall appear more prescient every day as we get closer to the anticipated start date. While the safety of students, faculty, and staff has to be at the forefront of any decision to return to campus, there are some who have asked if the decision to return has been driven primarily by financial considerations.