As the pandemic spreads, the aftermath is forcing colleges to face a future that could be markedly different from the immediate past.
High tuition costs, the prospect of lifelong debt, and an uncertain job market already had many students rethinking their choices in post-secondary education, wondering if college is worth the cost. Now the economic lockdown’s effects are forcing those choices for many.
Students planning on four-year degrees at glamorous, faraway universities instead are opting, by choice or necessity, for state schools nearer home; many are turning to two-year programs at community colleges that will prepare them for jobs quickly.
Some may completely forego education beyond high school.
At the University of Chicago and Iowa State University, students are petitioning the schools to cut tuition in half for at least as long as the pandemic lasts.
Universities also are bracing for the loss of foreign students, especially from Asia, who usually pay full tuition and often come from well-to-do families or have their costs paid by their governments.
The American Council on Education has predicted that U.S. college enrollment will shrink by 15 percent in the next academic year and 25 percent among foreign students, depriving colleges and universities of $23 billion in revenues. Some major institutions already are expecting to lose $100 million or more from this spring’s semester.
Congress’s $2.2-trillion bailout fund allots $8 billion in direct payments to colleges and universities.
The lost funds would represent a major share of the $650 billion in revenues that U.S. higher education generated in the 2016-2017 academic year. Colleges and universities are the largest employers in California, Iowa, and Maryland; lost students and income would mean more lost jobs.
TRENDPOST: As Gerald Celente predicted in his book Trends 2000, published in 1996, online education will continue to supplant traditional schooling. The current crisis, with school buildings shut, is forcing educators to adopt the tools and techniques that can make online learning effective.
While face-time between teacher and student is crucial when children are young, sharing physical space is less important the older the student becomes.
A steadily larger share of college students will choose to learn remotely, especially as costs increase and major universities open their courses to students around the world.
The 2.0 way of learning presents great opportunities for OnTrendspreneurs® to design and develop new methods and techniques in the new online world of learning.

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