Home Trends in Higher Education

Trends in Higher Education

Learning Innovation and the Future of Higher Education

Just before traditional campuses sent all of their faculty and students home and transitioned courses to some form of online instruction for the rest of the spring semester, I finished reading Joshua Kim’s and Edward Maloney’s new book, Learning Innovation and the Future of Higher Education. The authors teach and work at traditional universities (Dartmouth and Georgetown) and wrote the book to discuss ways that colleges and universities can better align teaching practices with the science of learning, given the rising cost of education for students and the financial pressures on colleges. Given the acceleration of financial pressures on colleges and their temporary migration to online courses, I have a feeling that the authors have been too busy for a road show to promote their book.

How Should We Measure Financial Solvency for Colleges and Universities?

Inside Higher Ed’s Rick Seltzer writes about two initiatives related to measuring institutional financial health. Mr. Seltzer reports that the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) voted to continue to use the federal financial composite scores as the primary factor for evaluating whether or not institutions are eligible to be members.

A Simple Way to Equalize the Ivies?

In this week’s New York Times, Dana Goldstein and Anemona Hartocollis write about the difference in enrollments at the Ivy Plus (eight Ivy League universities plus Duke, Stanford, M.I.T., and the University of Chicago) institutions when students’ family incomes are considered. The source of the data for these reporters is a paper co-authored by economists Raj Chetty, John Friedman, Emmanuel Saez, Nicholas Turner, and Danny Yagan, Income Segregation and Intergenerational Mobility Across Colleges in the United States. The paper follows their 2017 research paper, Mobility Report Cards: The Role of Colleges in Intergenerational Mobility.

The Overlooked Value of Certificates and Associate Degrees

When I read that Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce had issued another report about the value of certificates and associate degrees, I assumed that the research related to the database utilized to generate its analysis about the ROI of a college degree, which I critiqued in an initial, and follow-up, post. I was surprised when the paper revealed a different research basis.

Graduate Degrees – Worth the Time and Expense?

Not a day goes by where we don’t hear about the shortage of workers with the required education and training for more than six million unfilled positions in the U.S. Early in his presidency, Barack Obama called for increasing the number of Americans earning a college degree to maintain global competitiveness in an era with increasing technology innovations, some used to replace jobs in the workforce. Despite all the attention on higher education attainment, overall enrollments have decreased since 2010, with explanations ranging from a declining birth rate and low unemployment rates to an increasing perception that degrees may not provide the same return on investment for today’s students as for Baby Boomers and their parents.

Reimagining the Public University

In the Winter 2020 issue of National Affairs, James Piereson and Naomi Schaefer Riley write about the past, present, and future of state flagship universities. Can these schools remain financially solvent while educating residents at the low tuition rates that were common in past decades? Based on a recent Washington Post survey of 50 such institutions, the authors answer “no.” While not all of these findings are news, the authors astutely assess negative changes in public higher education and recommend the true reforms needed.

Expanding Pathways to College Enrollment and Degree Attainment

Last week, non-profit research firm ITHAKA S+R released an issue brief, discussing the policies and reforms necessary for states to increase access to higher education and degree attainment. The authors write that the U.S. has a projected shortage of five million workers with appropriate postsecondary education credentials by 2020, noting that most undergraduate students today are nontraditional.

Keeping Up With Technology, As Observed Through CPA Continuing Education

More than 40 years ago, I started working at Price Waterhouse (now PricewaterhouseCoopers, or PwC). Even though I was on the consulting track, I was encouraged to sit for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam and become a licensed CPA. Having this license, along with an MBA, boosted my career and I subsequently served as CFO at five different companies over the years.

Dawn of the Dead

Matt Schifrin and Carter Coudriet of Forbes wrote an article about the financial ratings of private colleges, Dawn of the Dead: For Hundreds of the Nation’s Private Colleges, It’s Merge or Perish. The authors refer to Forbes’ analysis of the finances of 933 private, not-for-profit colleges with 500+ enrollments, stating that the majority of these institutions are in a precarious situation with their high tuition, tuition-dependent financial model, declining overall enrollments, and competitive landscape in higher education.