Demographic changes have colleges bracing for uncertain future
- The Chronicle of Higher Education examines the changing demographics of states and the impact on college campuses. Pennsylvania colleges, for instance, are expected to lose more than 18,000 students over the next 15 years, according to some estimates.
- Some campuses, like Susquehanna University, are looking to recruit from neighboring states from more affluent households to replace the dwindling pool of in-state students from towns decimated by the loss of industries like coal.
- Slippery Rock University experienced a 3% increase in enrollment by diversifying its academic offerings to include more STEM-related professional programs.
There is great difficulty for smaller schools in rural areas to make the case for admission to increasingly diverse student populations, but competitive degree programs and opportunities for scholarship are the best ways to ensure students arrive and stay in school.
As populations become more racially diverse, new strategies in faculty and staff hiring, student programming, retention development and community outreach will need to be implemented to make for more sustainable campuses over the next 20 years. This will require great efforts in developing distance learning and add-ons to enhance professional training while students simultaneously earn degrees.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education A population in flux forces colleges to adapt