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Become the Institution of Tomorrow

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by Lauren Hart Piper , Vice President, Product Management and Marketing,

The institutions that will prosper in this new era of higher education will be those that can quickly transform. They will focus on outputs more than inputs and move beyond access to success.

Today’s institutions are struggling to survive as they try to attract and retain today’s new traditional student,  manage the rising costs of higher education, deliver quality instruction and deal with the outside pressures to demonstrate results.

With all of these critical issues having to be managed at one time, how can an institution not only survive, but thrive, and transform into the college or university of tomorrow?

Who is the new traditional student?

Today’s typical student is yesterday’s non-traditional student. The traditional college student is no longer an 18 year old recent high school graduate who enrolls full time and has limited work and family obligations. Students today are in their late 20s and older. They are financially independent and are working moms or dads balancing work, family and education. They are turning to colleges and universities to:

•    Obtain new skills
•    Complete degrees
•    Acquire advanced degrees

Rising costs and affordability of higher education

With the Great Recession came steep cuts in state and federal funding as well as a slowdown in donations from alumni. In order to bridge the funding gap, many institutions either had to make cuts in staff and services or raise tuition.  Many institutions did both. With the escalation of costs transferred to the student, student debt is now at its highest in history. There is also a surge in drop-out rates as today’s student is trying to justify the cost of their degree in terms of its value.

More pressure on institutions

Colleges and universities are feeling more pressure as states and the federal government are changing policies when it comes to funding and financial aid. More and more states are reconsidering the enrollment-based funding model and instead are aligning funding with state goals and priorities.

This map from NCSL shows the adoption by state in linking funding to key metrics such as:

•    Credit completion
•    Retention rates
•    Graduation rates
•    Graduate earnings
•    Time to degree
•    Transfer rates
•    Number of degrees awarded
•    Number of low-income and minority graduates

ncls map-1

Source: http://www.ncsl.org/research/education/performance-funding.aspx

The Institution of Tomorrow

The institution that will thrive and become the college or university of tomorrow will be the campus that leverages technology to help reduce the cost of education while increasing the quality of instruction. Simply replacing current enterprise systems will not be the answer. The Institution of Tomorrow will transform its campus by delivering a personalized, unified experience for all constituents.

Connecting all of the enterprise technologies, such as the SIS, LMS, CRM, and CMS, with a relationship layer or engagement platform will enable the institution to deliver better services to all students, attract quality faculty and improve staff productivity. More than just a portal to find information, the Institution of Ttomorrow will push personalized information to all constituents, and it will enable and encourage engagement and collaboration based on knowledge or interests from any device.

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