Prediction # 3: The range of programs and teaching channels for universities will increase to include more offline and professional programs as well as auxiliary services.
We hear a great deal about endangered programs. Philosophy, history and language programs are shutting down due to the lack of students and financial resources. In contrast, I believe that universities will actually offer more, not fewer, services and programs, in more teaching formats, length and channels in the future. Universities will strive to find additional revenue sources. Executive training programs will be just one of many examples. Colleges will want to build a continued relationship with alumni exceeding current alumni fundraising focused activities.
Few institutions (and companies) have the advantage of such strong emotional bonds with their “customers” as colleges do with their graduates. We will ignore for this purpose, a big group of unhappy customers that did not graduate and only incurred costs and debt.
Colleges will offer more online training programs to leverage their brand, staff and infrastructure. Combinations of online and campus-based education will be commonplace. Universities will undertake great efforts to draw back their alumni as they advance in their careers. As lifelong learning has become a must for all professionals, why would universities not start offering a lifetime education program?
Universities could offer a lifetime guarantee of courses to their alumni. Why not establish an inexpensive subscription program for alumni to advance their professional skills and careers? Today, we offer alumni travel and professional services, such as career offices. Career coaching, other counseling services, and lifelong professional and educational advancement tools from a trusted entity will be well known and expected.
Prediction # 4: Universities will encompass more older students.
We have seen the number of non-traditional students increasing significantly. A number of factors will continue to support this trend. Job dislocation, requirements to enhance skills, and more frequent job changes and career transitions will increase this demand.
Latest statistics showed that in 2010 already more than 16 % of all part-time graduate students were over the age of 35. For part-time status, already more than 50% of all students are older than 35 and even for the part-time undergraduate level, almost one third will fall into that age bracket. We expect this age group to further increase for the reasons described above.
Go on to prediction # 5: Internationalization of education will continue