- More than 50 million Americans owe student loan debt, a number that exceeds the amount of people receiving benefits for Social Security and Medicaid.
- Demographics suggest the U.S. population is increasingly older and earns a lower median income than it did 10 years ago — a reality that clashes directly with increasing college costs across the country. Not only that, but the population is also shifting from the traditionally white, affluent male student population many schools are used to recruiting and educating to a broader cross-section of the country's actual population.
- Competency-based instruction, predictive analytics and online education delivery are the keys to reducing costs and improving student outcomes in the 21st century.
Most colleges leaders understand student diversity and streamlined academic delivery will be the keys to sustainability in a lean economy. But the challenge lies in trying to incorporate systems that encourage these efforts becoming reality.
Working to make education accessible for low-income and non-traditional students is more than boosting online learning opportunities and raising funds for scholarship access. It involves incorporating new recruitment and retention strategies to match the unique needs and expectations of each kind of student.
This requires analytics insights that do not feed or create stereotypes about racial or ethnic groups, and technology provisions that can be easily understood and used by students of all ages and backgrounds.
Innovation and economic stress on institutions can create a rush to launch and finance academic models that could deliver a better educational product, but without proper assessment, can create more problems for students and administrative response.