Dear Commons Community,
My colleague, Ken Hartman, from the Online Learning Consortium, just forwarded to me an article, Eduventures’ 2016 Higher Education Predictions: A Year to Unite, speculating on future trends for higher education. His predictions:
“are based not only on [Eduventures] twenty years of experience serving higher education institutions and their leaders, but also on our close examination of the major external circumstances (e.g., economic and geopolitical) we believe the nation will likely face in the next 12 months, such as:
- In the last year of the Obama Administration, we expect new regulations on student loan repayment, accreditation, and the for-profit sector. We do not expect that the Higher Education Reauthorization Act will be reauthorized in 2016.
- We predict a positive outlook for the economy, enough to persuade the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates at least twice in 2016. This means higher borrowing costs for individuals and institutions.
- Terrorist threats at home and abroad will heighten security concerns, exposing U.S. universities and colleges’ dependence on international students at a time when domestic enrollment is flat.
- Higher education will take center stage in the presidential election, where it will become a populist issue (e.g., cost, debt, ROI, outcomes, accreditation, and economic mobility). The “free community college” idea will get more attention.
- Continued campus unrest over a host of social and economic issues will be coordinated and orchestrated by both campus-based and community-based organizations.
The article makes a number of forecasts for enrollments, technology especially open educational resources, annual giving, and teacher education programs.
As I indicated in an email to Ken, I agreed with him on a number of his comments especially that small, tuition driven private institutions are probably at greatest risk. The public and non-profit institutions with brands and established markets will weather the future on their own terms. Technology is and will be part of their strategies. Even with a stable (or stagnant) traditional college-age student demographic, as long as higher education is seen as economically beneficial and just about every study indicates that it is, most colleges and universities will continue to evolve and expand their use of technology for instruction and administration.
P.S.: As a follow-up to my posting above, GoodCall, an higher education data service for students and parents, has issued a report on What Higher Education Will Look Like in 5, 10, or 20 Years from Now? It is based on a series of interviews and covers several of the same issues as the Eduventures 2016 Report above.