Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Changes in the Higher Education Market Show More Consolidation and Less Variability

Changes in the higher education fields that show shifts are occurring that lead to greater consolidation and less market variability.  A recent report on HigherEdJobs website, using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, show that total number of jobs in Q3 2015 continued to decline but advertised jobs increased.

There were less faculty per administrator and a noticeable shift toward hiring full-time faculty. Many universities are becoming top heavy and loosing their core responsibility to teach students. Shifts toward more administrators and less faculty show the bureaucratic nature of universities that will likely cause problems down the road with changing market trends.

More legislation is typically the result of the higher concern profile of higher education in recent years. Costs have skyrocketed and government is trying to get a handle on it. Some ideas may be beneficial but other ideas that create too much "red tap" may actually do the opposite. 

Community colleges were quickly loosing jobs and are having a hard time keeping up with their budgets. Smaller entities may not be able to command higher tuition rates or secure alternative funding sources. Their limited resources and small local populations may lead them to go out of business. We have seen this trend grow with small private universities.

In the past many universities  hired part-time adjuncts to keep costs low. In recent years, there has been a greater push by stakeholders to ensure that full-time faculty are hired. Some universities are replacing aging, retired, and shifting faculty with new full-time recruits. Hiring full-time faculty helps to keep the incentives alive for people to move into academia.

A lack of sufficient market variability can be dangerous for the industry is some major market shift occurs and there isn't enough diversity to provide adequate models that can compete. International, cross-border, schools are growing and too much restrictive legislation could limit options for future competition. Ensuring America maintains a place in the higher education fields means balancing the need for quality and variability.

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