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Trends in Higher Education

Do We Value the Education or the Credential in Higher Ed?

Last week, Forbes contributor and President of Kaplan University Partners, Brandon Busteed, published an article with the title “We Don’t Value Education. We Value the Credential.” At the core of Mr. Busteed’s argument is his premise that colleges and universities only recognize learning that comes in the form of degrees – two-year, four-year, and post-graduate.

Grand Challenges: A New Approach to Digital Transformation

In the latest issue of the Educause Review, Educause researchers Susan Grajek and D. Christopher Brooks write that Grand Challenges should be issued to encourage institutions to solve some of the biggest issues in higher education and that a digital transformation could be the best way to solve those challenges. For the uninitiated, a Grand Challenge “describes desired outcomes to problems that are extremely difficult (but not impossible) to solve and that are widespread, if not global, in scope.”

Another Financial Warning Tool for Colleges and Universities

When I saw the headline for The Hechinger Report article, "Analysis: hundreds of colleges and universities show financial warning signs," I thought, “just what we need…another rating system.” To my surprise, authors Sarah Butrymowicz and Pete D’Amato did not develop a new early warning system evaluating the financial stability of colleges and universities. Instead, they utilized the methodology developed by Robert Zemsky, Susan Shaman, and Susan Campbell Baldridge and published in their recent book, The College Stress Test.

Yale/Harvard Study Examines If Colleges Could Be Reopened

On July 31, three researchers associated with the Yale School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School published an article in the JAMA Network Open (the Open Journal of the American Medical Association). This article described a study outlining a simulation the Yale and Harvard researchers developed to determine what would be needed in order to operate a college campus safely this fall.

Why Moving to Online Instruction Won’t Reduce College Costs

In an article published by Brookings, authors Steven Hemelt and Kevin Stange report that their analysis suggests that moving classes online is unlikely to reduce instructional costs. According to the authors (who are associate professors of public policy at UNC-Chapel Hill and the University of Michigan, respectively), evidence on the relationship between online coursework and costs is sparse, and the evidence on how online instruction differs by program and field is largely nonexistent.

Disruption and the Bundled College Experience of COVID-19

This week, I moved one of my daughters from her off-campus apartment with an expiring lease to the apartment that she selected for this year. Next week, the same transition will occur with her sister, but at another university in another city. The plans were made and leases signed in January before anyone knew what havoc the pandemic would wreak on their campuses and college campuses nationwide.

Who Tracks the States’ Support for Higher Education?

In a year when the COVID-19 pandemic attracts much of the attention of the press, the press release about the State Higher Education Finance FY 2019 Report issued by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) on May 5, 2020, probably escaped the attention of many in the higher education sector. However, as states address the complexity of balancing the budget in a year when revenues and expenses have been disrupted, it’s worthwhile reviewing the report.