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The Agile College

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The Agile College

How Institutions Successfully Navigate Demographic Changes

Following Grawe's seminal first book, this volume answers the question: How can a college or university prepare for forecasted demographic disruptions?

Demographic changes promise to reshape the market for higher education in the next 15 years. Colleges are already grappling with the consequences of declining family size due to low birth rates brought on by the Great Recession, as well as the continuing shift toward minority student populations. Each institution faces a distinct market context with unique organizational strengths; no one-size-fits-all answer could suffice.

In this essential follow-up to Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education, Nathan D. Grawe explores how proactive institutions are preparing for the resulting challenges that lie ahead. While it isn't possible to reverse the demographic tide, most institutions, he argues persuasively, can mitigate the effects. Drawing on interviews with higher education leaders, Grawe explores successful avenues of response, including

• recruitment initiatives
• retention programs
• revisions to the academic and cocurricular program
• institutional growth plans
• retrenchment efforts
• collaborative action

Throughout, Grawe presents readers with examples taken from a range of institutions—small and large, public and private, two-year and four-year, selective and open-access. While an effective response to demographic change must reflect the individual campus context, the cases Grawe analyzes will prompt conversations about the best paths forward.

The Agile College also extends projections for higher education demand. Using data from the High School Longitudinal Study, the book updates prior work by incorporating new information on college-going after the Great Recession and pushes forecasts into the mid-2030s. What's more, the analysis expands to examine additional aspects of the higher education market, such as dual enrollment, transfer students, and the role of immigration in college demand.