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4 Predictions for Higher Ed in 2022

The time for lasting innovation has arrived. Legacy higher education practices are ripe for permanent disruption. Ultimately, the institutions that embrace change will succeed, while others struggling to adapt may be left behind. There’s plenty of reason to view 2022 as the year institutions move forward in both enhancing the student experience and rebounding from a challenging few years.

The Future of Higher Ed Report shares a number of ways for institutions to innovate. It will be up to them to decide whether or not they want to be leaders in higher ed or maintain the status quo. Based on our research, here are a few predictions the team put together for the coming year.

Institutions will experience a post-COVID bounce

JP Morgan recently suggested that next year, the economy will experience a full and complete recovery from the pandemic. Even if the country is still dealing with variants in the coming year, boosters and vaccine mandates will help mitigate the pandemic to a more manageable level. This will cause an increase in admissions as students who used the pandemic to pursue a gap year, attend classes at a local community college or work a job to come back to campus in full force. The job market will continue to experience significant demand for skilled workers and will inspire students to pursue higher education in areas where they can make significant money post-graduation.

Geography may no longer be a barrier to attending an institution

By the time Generation Alpha is college-age, all institutions may drop on-campus requirements and instead create hybrid learning environments where students are learning remotely with periodic residencies on campus. Some institutions may even hire local professors if a class is largely populated in a specific metropolitan area. This will allow institutions to streamline some of their costs as it relates to maintaining a physical campus while attracting a more competitive freshmen class.

Concentrated effort towards helping students reach their career goals

Many of the transactional touchpoints that once clogged departmental staffs’ time will be freed up so that they can more strategically advise all students. This will help institutions provide more direct feedback on how students can leverage their academic experience into the career of their choice. Instead of worrying about deadlines and paperwork, students will have more guidance in regards to relevant networking groups, alums that are hiring for interns and a better understanding of the skills they need to develop to thrive in their career choice. To sum it up best, students will ultimately feel like they’re finally receiving ROI from higher ed.

Institutions fully embrace IoT “smart technologies”

Much like a smart refrigerator can tell you when it’s time to order milk or Amazon Alexa can wake you up with the daily news, institutions will build the infrastructure to leverage Big Data in a way that completely revolutionizes the student experience. Institutions will provide proactive outreach to help students get their needs addressed before students realize that need exists. In addition, these students will get that access in a communication method that they favor, whether that’s a Facebook message, Amazon Alexa alert, or text. The days of students missing deadlines will end forever.

2022 is shaping up to be an exciting year in the world of higher education. Now is the time to embrace digital transformation campus-wide and give students the customer service they’ve always wanted from their institutions. Most importantly, it is critical for institutions to provide ROI. If you’re unsure what ROI looks like from the student perspective, I encourage you to read my previous blog post, “Embracing the Startup Mentality in Higher Ed,” where I outline some thoughts regarding how institutions can show greater ROI to institutions.

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