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Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education

Nathan D. Grawe

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The decisions we make in the next five years are critical in determining whether colleges thrive or flounder.

Higher education faces a looming demographic storm. Decades-long patterns in fertility, migration, and immigration persistently nudge the country toward the Hispanic Southwest. As a result, the Northeast and Midwest—traditional higher education strongholds—expect to lose 5 percent of their college-aged populations between now and the mid-2020s. Furthermore, and in response to the Great Recession, child-bearing has plummeted. In 2026, when the front edge of this birth dearth reaches…

The decisions we make in the next five years are critical in determining whether colleges thrive or flounder.

Higher education faces a looming demographic storm. Decades-long patterns in fertility, migration, and immigration persistently nudge the country toward the Hispanic Southwest. As a result, the Northeast and Midwest—traditional higher education strongholds—expect to lose 5 percent of their college-aged populations between now and the mid-2020s. Furthermore, and in response to the Great Recession, child-bearing has plummeted. In 2026, when the front edge of this birth dearth reaches college campuses, the number of college-aged students will drop almost 15 percent in just 5 years.

In Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education, Nathan D. Grawe has developed the Higher Education Demand Index (HEDI), which relies on data from the 2002 Education Longitudinal Study (ELS) to estimate the probability of college-going using basic demographic variables. Analyzing demand forecasts by institution type and rank while disaggregating by demographic groups, Grawe provides separate forecasts for two-year colleges, elite institutions, and everything in between. The future demand for college attendance, he argues, depends critically on institution type. While many schools face painful contractions, for example, demand for elite schools is expected to grow by more than 15 percent in future years.

Essential for administrators and trustees who are responsible for recruitment, admissions, student support, tenure practices, facilities construction, and strategic planning, this book is a practical guide for navigating coming enrollment challenges.

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Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education

Nathan D. Grawe

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Reviews

Reviews

Over the past two weeks I've read a book about the future of American higher ed, and want to recommend it very highly. It might be the most important book on the subject published this year.

This "birth dearth" has prompted Nathan Grawe, Professor of Economics at Carleton College, to analyze the dynamics of demographic shifts and consider how schools might prepare for a significant decrease in demand. Grawe meticulously presents his findings in his insightful and practical new book, Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education.

Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education, by Nathan Grawe, is both terrifying and worth reading if you work in, or care about, higher education. I actually gasped several times, which isn't my usual response to monographs about demographics.

Grawe's book is timely, well-researched, and thought-provoking. Especially college or university presidents would be well-served to give it a thorough reading, and this reviewer certainly be sharing the book with his.

The leading spokesperson of this emergent discourse of demographic crisis is the economist Nathan D. Grawe, whose book Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education sent a shockwave through higher education's administrative class. 

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
192
ISBN
9781421424132
Illustration Description
16 maps, 20 graphs
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Demographic Headwinds for Higher Education
2. Demographics as Destiny?
3. The Higher Education Demand Index
4. Changing Contours of Population and Aggregate Higher Education

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Demographic Headwinds for Higher Education
2. Demographics as Destiny?
3. The Higher Education Demand Index
4. Changing Contours of Population and Aggregate Higher Education Demand
5. Demand for Two-Year Programs
6. Demand for Four-Year Institutions
7. Is Anyone Paying for All of This?
8. Coping with Change
9. Anticipated Higher Education Attendance
10. The Potential for Policy to Affect Attendance Rates
11. Looking beyond 2030
Methodological Appendix
Notes
References
Index

Author Bio
Nathan D. Grawe
Featured Contributor

Nathan D. Grawe

Nathan D. Grawe is the Ada M. Harrison Distinguished Teaching Professor of the Social Sciences and a professor of economics at Carleton College, where he served as associate dean from 2009 to 2012. He is the author of Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education.