Ten Higher Education Predictions for a New Decade

A former college president and state attorney general considers leadership issues in higher education and makes the following predictions:

  • Economic pressure will increase on small rural colleges and over one hundred will close.
  • Transformation of the NCAA with large university big sports programs will pay their players and application of anti-trust laws will lead to robust wage competition.
  • Education costs will continue to rise above inflation, forcing a nationwide debate over higher education finance.
  • Continued Humanities enrollment decline with move toward pre-professional degrees.
  • Accreditation will focus more on quality and results rather than box-checking.
  • Expect companies like IBM, Microsoft, Facebook and Google to enter the K-12 and higher education space as education providers with their own suites of learning management software, courses, and credentials.
  • Use of cheap adjunct labor will increase to a crisis point, with frequent strikes and demands by adjuncts that compensation pools currently paying for tenure track faculty be shared with them.
  • Many elite private colleges and universities will deemphasize equity in admission in favor of revenue generation.
  • Expect more high-profile partnerships between universities and corporations who depend on research to drive their bottom line.
  • Expect more U.S. undergraduate students to seek out less expensive options in Europe, Asia, and Latin America