Higher Education in the 21st Century: Meeting Real-World Demands

Higher Education in the 21st Century: Meeting Real-World Demands

Mar. 25, 2014
The world of higher education is changing quickly and dramatically. An Economist Intelligence Unit research program explores the changes shaping the higher-education market and identify the steps that institutions are taking to flourish and remain relevant in the 21st century.


Key Findings 

  • Institutions are courting new student populations. Global visibility has become a top priority for colleges and universities, with expansion abroad a key goal for many. Thirty-three percent of the higher-education institutions polled say they are increasing their recruiting of international students, targeting a rapidly growing global middle class. 

  • Creative financing is needed to balance shrinking budgets. Fifty-one percent of survey respondents say that reduced government subsidies have negatively or somewhat negatively affected their institutions’ financial standing; 40% cite the shrinking availability of research grants. Especially in the US and UK, sustainability will depend on rigorous cost-cutting in tandem with finding new sources of revenue

  • Online learning is the new frontier. Today’s institutions of higher learning have high hopes for technology-based delivery of instruction. Sixty-one percent of survey respondents say that they believe online and distance courses will have the greatest effect on how higher education is delivered in the next five years.

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