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The benefits of a college education are well-documented. A college degree increases earnings potential, enhances job security, and provides many personal and social benefits. Despite these benefits, higher education is facing many challenges for education business. Costs have been rising faster than inflation for some time. Hence there is a growing concern about the value of a college education. Student loan debt is at an all-time high, and fewer people are pursuing higher education. In addition, technology has changed how we live and work, which has impacted the demand for specific skills.
Therefore, it’s more important than ever to ensure that the higher education business focuses on creating positive change. Here are some ways to do that:
1. Cater to Students of All Needs
At primary and secondary levels, children with special needs are often mainstreamed into the general education population. But when it comes to higher education, students with special needs are often left behind. It is a missed opportunity for the students and the higher education business. Special needs students have a lot to offer, and by catering to their needs, colleges and universities can tap into a new market.
Some common types of special needs are cognitive impairments, sensory processing disorders, physical disabilities, and mental health conditions.
Institutes can hire special education trainers or train their existing staff on how to better cater to students with special needs. They can also provide better advancement opportunities for educators working with special needs students. An online master’s in special education is feasible for working professionals and can help keep them up to date with new trends and other advancements in the special education sector.
2. Increase Access and Affordability
Do you know the most significant barrier to entry for people who want to pursue higher education? It’s not a lack of desire or ability; it’s the cost. So, one of the best ways to create positive change in higher education is to make it more affordable and accessible. That means working to reduce the cost of tuition and fees, as well as increasing financial aid and scholarships. It also means ensuring that colleges and universities are providing the right mix of online and in-person classes to meet the needs of all students.
For international students, accommodation cost is a roadblock. Hostel and food expenses are too high as they compete with local students in the same market. Providing on-campus accommodation at a subsidized rate or partnering with private companies to give discounts on hostel bookings would go a long way in making higher education affordable for everyone.
3. Improve the Quality of Education
The quality of education is always under scrutiny. And rightfully so, given the high cost of tuition. However, there are still a few areas that could use some improvement.
Experts vouch for the following changes:
- Reduce the number of hours spent in lectures and seminars
- Use technology to create more engaging and interactive learning experiences
- Revise educational programs based on changes in the industry
- Retrain faculty staff to keep up with the latest changes in their field
- Make sure that graduates are prepared for the workforce
4. Hiring Panels from Industry
The academia-industry gap is a real thing. And it’s one of the reasons why so many graduates are struggling to find jobs after college. The skills that employers are looking for are often different from what students learn in school. So, one way to create positive change in higher education is to ensure more alignment between the two.
One way to do that is by hiring panels from the industry to help design educational programs. This way, students learn the skills they need to succeed in the real world. In addition, it’s vital to ensure that faculty members keep up with the latest changes in their field.
5. Focus on Student Retention
It’s not enough to get students in the door. You also need to make sure that they stick around until graduation. Student retention is a big problem in higher education. It is because the cost of living and tuition is so high. In addition, many students work while going to school and don’t have much time to devote to their studies.
There are a few things that colleges and universities can do to improve student retention rates.
First, they can offer more flexible schedules. This way, students can work around their job and other commitments. It also promotes a sense of belonging and community.
Another way to improve student retention is by offering more support services. For example, academic advising, tutoring, and mentorship programs can go a long way in helping students succeed.
6. Advocate for Student Empowerment
Who better understands the flaws than the people who have to suffer through them? Therefore, for positive change in higher education, let students voice their concerns and be a part of the solution. After all, they are the ones who are directly affected by the decisions.
There are a few ways to advocate for student empowerment.
The first is by creating a platform for students to share their stories. Surveys, social groups, and forums are great ways to do this.
Task forces and committees are another way to advocate for change. They work together to identify problems and come up with solutions.
7. Pay Top Dollar to Attract the Best Faculty
To attract the best and the brightest, colleges and universities need to be willing to pay top money.
Having a well-qualified faculty go beyond just improving the quality of education. It also has a positive impact on the reputation of the school. It attracts more students and brings in more money.
So how can colleges and universities come up with the money to pay for top-notch faculty? One way is by cutting back on expenses. Streamlining administrative processes and cutting unnecessary costs are the backbones of a lean operation.
The education system is not working for everyone, especially students from marginalized communities. They are the ones who are most likely to drop out of school. And if they do manage to graduate, they often end up in low-paying jobs.
So creating positive change in higher education business is essential. However, changing an organization is a complicated process; whether in terms of tenure, jobs, or money. So it’s critical to be strategic about it. The goal is to ensure the changes are beneficial in the long term.