077: Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education

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Show Notes:

President Scott L Wyatt and Steve Meredith discuss the upcoming shift in enrollment numbers at universities and colleges with Nathan Grawe, professor of economics at Carleton College and author of Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education.

Featured Quotes:

[Because of the financial crisis of 2008] Young families decided that maybe it wasn’t the best time to have children and fertility rates declined and, in fact, they’ve continued to decline through at least 2018. And so, that means that about 18 years later, we can expect there to be a smaller population of prospective students for traditional-aged college. And the declines we’re talking about are significant. We’re talking 10% to 15% nationally and in some parts of the country, much steeper than that. So that no matter where you are in higher ed, we can expect that in the mid-2020s, we’re going to see a significant reversal. And so, we end up sharing some burdens together and yet having distinct paths at the same time.
Nathan Grawe, Carleton College

I wouldn’t be surprised to see many institutions . . . engaging more aggressively with merit aid and discounting. That kind of pressure can create pressure that goes upward. You might find that you compete well with another institution for a student in the current environment, but if you're competing with another institution that starts getting aggressive with discounting and offering financial aid, you may start losing students that you’ve become accustomed to winning.
Nathan Grawe, Carleton College

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