Arrows indicating a separate path illustrate the idea that the U.S. could one day see national universities.

Are national universities on higher ed’s horizon?

A new report takes a look at the future of higher education--a future could include national universities and increased artificial intelligence

There are drawbacks, Unterman notes, including the idea that communities are committed to their local schools, that constituents will not accept national universities, and that higher ed moves too slowly as an industry for such a robust undertaking.

But there are a few different ways to establish national universities, including:

  • States joining forces: Groups of states could come together and seek economies of scale, similar to the way Western Governors University formed a consolidated online platform across several states
  • Private institutions: Private institutions are already establishing satellite locations across state lines, and accelerating these moves could work to create a more sustainable model
  • Online providers: Online providers are already accessible across the nation, and a next step could be opening up low-cost locations to compete with more traditional providers

There are more than a few questions about how the nation’s current higher-ed model can remain economically sustainable, due to increased competition and financial challenges. National universities aren’t the only potential path for higher ed, but Unterman argues that “it’s time for higher education institutions to consider an alternate model–a national university–and determine if they will be on the winning or losing end of this developing trend.”

The report also covers data analytics, responding to data breaches, using AI to streamline operations, and using nontraditional approaches to fill talent gaps.

Laura Ascione

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