Only 40% of Americans attain a postsecondary degree. States have slashed their funding, while federal student aid and research grants have failed to keep pace with demand. Meanwhile, operating expenses have mounted as universities try to keep up with the demands of millennials.
As a consequence, tuitions have increased at astronomical rates, making college less affordable for many students and families and sending debt levels ever higher. Many graduates now face underemployment and often can’t repay their loans. As unemployment drops, so have college enrollment rates.
Meanwhile, career program opportunities, mostly supplied by for-profit schools, have dwindled under the Obama administration’s Gainful Employment policies, but may see some “relief” under a Trump presidency.
But with the business models for many institutions broken and growing public calls for accountability, higher education is clearly an industry under serious strain. How much will solutions come from within or from alternatives to it?
- Doug Lederman*, Founder & Editor, Inside Higher Ed
- Wally Boston, CEO, American Public Education Inc.
- Bridget Burns, Exec. Director, UIA
- Stella Flores, Professor, NYU
- John Katzman, CEO, Noodle
- Peter Smith, Professor UMUC