Two Higher Education Trends Impacting College Students and Learning Institutions

Two Higher Education Trends Impacting College Students and Learning Institutions
Beth Dumbauld

Two of the biggest trends affecting higher education today are the financial challenges both students and colleges face and the ever-changing technology advancements impacting the ways college classes are taught. With these two forces at play, it literally pays to learn more about these issues.

Higher Education Financial Challenges for Students

The average cost for both two- and four-year degree programs has risen by 2.5% in the past year. This places the average price for full-time, in-state tuition at over ten thousand dollars per year. While the numbers don’t lie, they will vary depending on whether you attend a 2-year or 4-year college, and whether that college is public or private.

(source: College Board)

However, considering these numbers, students should aim to create a degree plan that includes online college classes to save both money and time. Many colleges accept online courses for transfer, including core courses (freshman year classes) like English Composition and College Algebra, that can be completed online in a shorter amount of time and at less cost in an online environment.

Unconvinced? Consider that tuition and fees make up 40% of any student’s budget.

By taking online classes, tuition can be reduced each year. If you choose an entirely-online program, where you attend only online classes through to graduation, you can save an even larger amount on room, board, and transportation.

The higher costs of earning a college degree have also increased the amount of financial aid students will be required to take, including dreaded loans. All types of aid rose by at least 40%, including institutional aid, Pell Grants, and federal student loans.

Online classes, specifically those at StraighterLine, offer an affordable option to those seeking to avoid going into deep debt for their degree. Cost per class starts at $59 with a monthly $99 membership and are transferrable to over 130 partner colleges and universities. Because they’re self-paced, you can also cut time off your degree path. This time- and money-saving option is worth serious consideration.

Technology Changes Drive How Higher Education Institutions Deliver Courses

It’s not only students dealing with challenges that stem from these changes. Colleges and universities face declining enrollments for various reasons. They need to muster resources that deliver college courses online to increase enrollments to different populations. Barnes & Noble College states that investing in items like courseware that allows students to learn online is a top priority nationwide.

Colleges must invest in designing and paying for online course delivery. That means funding hardware, software and firmware technology while struggling to meet enrollment targets, creating a financial crunch for many institutions.

Online learning increases enrollments at a lower cost, as the student takes up no physical space on campus. Likewise, it’s in their best interest to accept online classes from accredited sources to supplement desired growth in enrollment.

Online learning programs are critical for colleges and universities to succeed in a highly competitive marketplace. These programs allow them to reach working adults and students not living near the central campus location in greater numbers than ever before, so if institutions are not yet offering online courses, they will be soon.

The online “trend” is here to stay. One recent survey shows that more than 5 million college students took at least one online class in 2014, a rise of 2% from the previous year. This means more than one quarter of all college students were engaged in online learning, 2.8 million of them taking online classes exclusively.

Partnerships between schools and online course providers like StraigherLine recognize the challenge at hand, create their own opportunities to offer degree programs, and champion students who need affordable, accessible avenues for their education. Overcoming these challenges has been StraighterLine’s calling from the beginning, and we continue to evolve ahead of market with strategic partnerships.

View StraighterLine’s Partner Colleges here!

While challenges certainly exist, there are ways for both students and colleges to turn problems into advantages. Using StraighterLine, students can save time and money while they earn a college degree. Colleges and universities who partner with StraighterLine will supplement their enrollments with students who have proven they are ready, willing, and able to reach their goals.

If you’re ready to forge your own degree path with StraighterLine online college courses, start today with free trial.



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