The Chronicle of Higher Education yesterday released a very interesting study on the demographic changes ahead for higher education. The two major challenges to be faced are: 1) there are already considerably fewer 4-year-olds than 18-year-olds in the population signaling smaller numbers headed for higher education and 2) the numbers of white and African American students are declining while the numbers of Asian and Latino students are increasing significantly. The future for American colleges is forecasted to be smaller and much more diverse than it currently is. Here is the link:
You will find at this link a very interesting search engine that lets you examine data on a state-by-state basis and a county-by-county basis. It contains downloadable files should you wish to capture some of their data.
The data point to issues that are, not only, relevant for higher education, but also for PK-12. The entire PK-20 system must adapt to these two fundamental changes, i.e., population growth will primarily be among ethnic and linguistically diverse populations and, over time, there will be fewer students overall. How our systems learn to adapt to the needs of diverse students is the core question ahead. Preparing education professionals and systems to successfully meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population in this changing landscape at all levels of the education enterprise is the defining challenge of our time.