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Shared Challenges – Part Two of Six on Transforming Higher Education

February 25, 2013 at 9:14 am PST

AM71346This six-part series focuses on transformation of the traditional higher education system in the United States.  This part focuses on the fact that universities are more similar than they are different.  Universities in the U.S. share common challenges: inadequate access, dated teaching methodologies, and perceived irrelevance of our current programs.

First, we have a problem of access: We simply do not have enough capacity to meet demand. In the U.S., there were 3.2 million graduating seniors in the class of 2012, 73 percent of whom believed they needed still more education to obtain higher-paying jobs. Since 2007 the number of international students has also increased by more than 20 percent. And, competition is increasingly stiff for places in top academic universities: Harvard accepted only 5.9 percent of applicants, and Yale accepted 6.8 percent. With only 4,000 higher education institutions in the U.S., it’s easy to see that we lack the capacity to continue delivering against the increase in demand.  (U.S. Department of Education and the New York Times)

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