Rethinking the Enrollment Decline in Higher Education

Rethinking the Enrollment Decline in Higher Education - Changing Higher Ed Podcast 108

Enrollment Volume and the Importance of Rigorous Admission Standards

The Problem with Open Access Community Colleges

An Inevitable Enrollment Decline in Higher Education

Benefits of Delaying College Enrollment

Engage in Honest Conversations with Kids About College

Increased Demand for Trade and Skill-Based Programs

The Demise of Vocational Education

Shifting Parental Attitudes and Expectations Around College

  • Teachers
  • Advisors
  • Guidance counselors
  • Role models

College Enrollment Begins in Early Education

Moving Forward

  • Colleges and universities must implement standards for admissions that reduce dropout rates and improve the chances of success for enrollees
  • Remedial education programs should be expanded at many schools without stigmatizing students in need of extra support
  • Schools must expand resources for students from low-income families, minorities, and first-generation students to improve their chances of success
  • Students on the bubble can benefit from models like the CUNY ASAP program
  • Teachers, advisors, and parents must start having difficult conversations with kids who are highly unlikely to succeed in college environments
  • Alternatives must be expanded for students who are nowhere near ready for college

Three Recommendations for Higher Education Leaders and Boards

  • Many of the kids coming out of high school are nowhere near ready for college. No amount of remedial education will get them up to speed in time to make a difference and, in fact, that problem is going to become even worse with the learning loss we’ve seen during the pandemic. Institutions must be willing to set a standard for what it takes to be successful — and be willing to tell certain students that they aren’t a good fit.
  • For kids who are in the bubble, meaning they may be close to college-ready but not quite, evidence-based programs like the CUNY ASAP program are worth considering. Other institutions should attempt to replicate what CUNY and others are doing to help provide extra support to these students as they enter their freshman classes.
  • Colleges, and especially community colleges, need to take a hard look at their business models. If those models require convincing young people to engage in college-level studies that are unlikely to facilitate any return on investment, the business model must change. This is especially true for those students who are highly unlikely to earn a degree. If those institutions are unwilling to innovate, it’s probably time for them to close.

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