Home Education The higher education model is broken. Together we can fix this.

The higher education model is broken. Together we can fix this.

 The higher education model is broken.  Together we can fix this.

We are familiar with headlines about higher education. Rising student debt, declining college enrollment, layoffs and closing departments, and these are just a few. The complexity of the world has reached a new level, and higher education is experiencing consequences like never before.

In 2015, I wrote Fr. the book in response to the crisis of declining enrollment, which many small liberal arts colleges across the country are facing. Rising operating costs and reduced government support have led to increased costs for student attendance and, as a result, a reduction in enrollment.

The root causes of this crisis have not changed much in the last seven years. However, what has changed, in my view, is the willingness to manage these headwinds together as a sector, not an isolated one. At conferences and phone calls, I see pioneering presidents, administrators, and faculty sharing ideas and solutions that we’ve all held close to our breasts before.

Solution within reach. It is time for us, as top leaders, to rebuild our institutions through smart cooperation.

One can preserve the best parts of our colleges, their values ​​and the experience they provide, but we must do so by expanding access and reducing costs to serve those who need us most –our students.

The problem with learning

College management is like running a small town – a really expensive small town. There are costs and requirements associated with its infrastructure to upgrade and run well buildings, classrooms, streets, canteens, science labs and athletics departments. Many of these small towns have been magical places that transform for over a century, but these cities cannot be ruled – and thrive on – on the backs of students and their families who take large loans to make them work.

This is especially true because the increase in tuition costs is ahead of both the average family income and inflation rate. Add demographic change, and that’s not surprising falls in demand for the traditional college experience.

The growing debt burden and rapidly changing workforce expectations each year put more pressure on students and families as they face the reality of what it takes to get a college degree, and wonder if that degree is worth it. Today’s prospective students are closely watching how the previous generation struggles with student credit problems and see how debt affects financial security after graduation.

These problems are not just a temporary consequence of an unimaginable pandemic that no one expected, but inherent problems of the financial model that has supported our schools for hundreds of years. Training, taxpayer funding and donations / grants have long provided a profit. Most costs are fixed, with little flexibility. Not to mention that the grueling process of applying for financial aid is difficult for students and parents to navigate, and has contributed to the student debt crisis, which has disproportionately forced borrowers to keep their heads above water.

The days of annual tuition increases should be over. We can no longer assume that in the coming decades the rise in tuition fees will remain steady for families.

What affects registration?

Many colleges across the country are facing the same problem – enrollment is declining, and campuses are still striving to fill classes and provide the same level of service and excellence in education. However, it is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic did not actually cause these pain points. It just accelerated the problem of higher education that existed. From 2010 to 2019. college enrollment nationwide fell by about 11 percent, according to NPR analysis, due to changes in the labor market that have stimulated work on study; declining birth rates a few decades ago; and increasing the cost of tuition. Now, 1 million fewer students are enrolled in the college than before the pandemic.

Many students base their college search on the type of programs offered within the major. In fact, according to research from New America, c The proposed academic programs are the most important decision factor for a specific college student choice. Small colleges tend to offer fewer majors than larger universities. While the quality of education in private colleges is unsurpassed, many students enter large public schools solely because they want to obtain a degree that is not offered by small private schools.

Meanwhile, the design of the four-year college is “substantial” under close scrutiny. Today, success is different and more diverse than in previous years. With the growth of online learning there are more options to help students succeed in their studies, and it’s time to offer more of these channels to our students before they look elsewhere. Otherwise, the financial pressure is intensifying and our business model is declining.

What students want

Colleges of the Humanities seek to increase the number of students, but cannot afford the initial investment and fixed costs required to create new programs. While some institutions believe that generous benefits and conveniences are the answer, the real key to increasing the number of applicants and setting students up for success is to demonstrate the value of the new age through innovative solutions.

We need to recalibrate by asking one simple question: What do students really want?

The quintessential college experience is still in demand. Many students want to return to campus and personal social activities. They want to experience life in a hostel and play on the weekends. They are still thrilled with the four years of experience at Norman Rockwell College that was painted for them.

However, what unites all students, from 18-year-olds to adults, is that they want their education to be secured for the future with opportunities after graduation. They want a job. The data here is about as convincing as it turns out. From New America office Population office College pulsei’m not sure I’ve seen a study where students don’t put work №1.

We see that the most technologically savvy generation of students is oriented in different modalities of distance learning. While they want to gain the on-campus experience they’ve learned and expect, today’s students are open to a more hybrid model, both online and in person, that provides greater efficiency and convenience.

So how do we accommodate?

One of the answers in which I was lucky enough to attend our campus at Adrian College comes from A consortium of low-priced models (LCMC) in partnership with Rize Education, a technology platform for higher education that provides the development of academic programs. The LCMC is a new way forward in helping institutions come together to create new majors and minors that are accessible to the institution and its students.

It is a consortium that brings together presidents, CFOs, academics, vice-chancellors and interested faculty and administrators to:

1) Share information on cost reduction programs at each college

2) discuss important learning initiatives that are in the active planning stage; and

3) launched the possibility of additional joint initiatives.

The LCMC helps colleges of the humanities offer high-quality, competitive, hybrid degree programs that combine online courses with full-time study that is already offered in institutions. These are degrees that prepare students for excellent work in disciplines such as cybersecurity, supply chain management and data analytics.

This model of exchanging courses with classes taught by professors and assistant professors in member institutions uses online learning to innovate more quickly and bypass barriers to initial investment and fixed costs that typically freeze small colleges. For each course exchanged by LCMC member institutions, part of the tuition fee goes to the educational institution to cover tuition costs, and the other part goes to Rize to support the operation of the online learning platform.

We, as institutes of the humanities, need to show students that combining basic humanities education with technological skills and applied learning is a formidable foundation for success in the digital workplace. Working together, we can give our students the desired, typical experience of a small college without compromising on offering the most advanced academic programs – and we can make it transformative, less costly and more creative.

The good news is that there is still time to solve the problem. If college leaders are able to unite in a spirit of collegiality and innovation, we will be able to meet the demands of students and ensure the long-term financial future of our esteemed institutions. By doing so, we also ensure that today’s wonderful young people will also be able to experience the transformative college experience that has been so important to all of us.

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