The Agile College How Institutions Successfully Navigate Demographic Changes

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Demographic changes promise to reshape the market for higher education in the next fifteen years. Colleges are already grappling with the consequences of declining family size due to low birth rates brought on by the Great Recession, as well as the continuing shift toward minority student populations. Each institution faces a distinct market context with unique organizational strengths; no one-size-fits-all answer could suffice.

In this essential follow-up to Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education, Nathan D. Grawe explores how proactive institutions are preparing for the challenges that lie ahead. While it isn't possible to reverse the demographic tide, most institutions can mitigate the effects. Drawing on interviews with higher education leaders, Grawe explores successful avenues of response, including recruitment initiatives, retention programs, revisions to the academic and cocurricular program, institutional growth plans, retrenchment efforts, and collaborative action.

Throughout, Grawe presents listeners with examples taken from a range of institutions—small and large, public and private, two-year and four-year, selective and open-access. While an effective response to demographic change must reflect the individual campus context, the cases Grawe analyzes will prompt conversations about the best paths forward.