Giving Compass’ Take:
• Bill Hansen puts into perspective that college students’ lives are much different than they used to be. More students are working and going to school, and need the internship and job experience before graduating.
• Why is it important for institutions to be cognizant of the changing student dynamics? How can philanthropists collaborate with colleges and universities to provide more support for working students?
• Innovation in higher education is the current trend that will hopefully lead to more access and effective change for the students who need it.
Thirty-five years since A Nation At Risk, our country has made enormous strides in expanding access to postsecondary education. About 70 percent of high school graduates now enroll in college. And those gains in access have been felt across income levels. Enrollment rates have nearly doubled for the lowest third of earners since the report was published, rising from 34 percent then to 65 percent in 2016.
And the data suggest that consumers of higher education are grappling with cognitive dissonance of their own. They value higher education: 97 percent of Americans believe it is important to have a certificate or degree beyond high school. But only 21 percent of those without a postsecondary credential say they are very likely to return to college to get a certificate or degree. At the same time, nearly half of working Americans feel the need for additional training and education in order to keep up with changes in the workplace.
Of equal concern: While a majority of Americans say job and career outcomes are their top motivation for attending college, only one-third of current college students feel prepared to enter the job market — and just half believe their major will lead to a good job.
The good news is that consumer insights are also helping us identify scalable solutions. They’re telling us that work-related experiences like internships and apprenticeships significantly increase current student confidence and alumni success and satisfaction.
Against that backdrop, our nation’s colleges and universities must be ready to meet the needs of a generation of “new traditional” students who are very different from college students of the past. As the number of students forced to balance work and family obligations with their education grows, institutions are being asked to be flexible to meet their needs.
Read the full article about making higher education more flexible by Bill Hansen at The 74.
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