As an educator for the last 13 years, I’ve seen the student demographic and socio-economic changes first hand. What hasn’t changed is how traditional higher education is serving the 21st Century non-traditional student:
Higher education has been slow to catch up to this new reality – to the detriment of thousands of students. The ways we provide instruction, finance education, market the college experience, and measure student learning still look much like they did years ago. And as we cling to outdated models, thousands of the college students in this new demographic are dropping out and sinking into debt at higher-than-average rates.
Recent reports, including one released last month by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), highlight this pressing problem. The IWPR report shows that a quarter of those in college today– 4.8 million students – are raising dependent children, and more than half of those students are single parents.
Yesterday’s announcement by President Obama proposing two free years of community college for students is a positive first step, IF it can’t get through Congress.