The goal for any higher education institution is the same: attract, retain and graduate quality students. However, the way students seek and complete their education is changing. The future of higher education depends upon adapting to these changes. To be the college or university of the future – a modern, competitive institution that provides the best for its students – leaders in higher education need to know what will make prospective students choose them, what will give existing students a reason to stay and ultimately, what will make students successful.

At the 2016 annual EDUCAUSE conference, Huron asked more than 110 IT professionals in higher education to explain how their institution is using technology to prepare for the future. While many respondents said cloud technology was a key step in transforming their institution, many also explained how the cloud will have a significant impact on student experience and success.

Here are five reasons from IT professionals why the University of the Future rests within the cloud.

1. Cloud Enables Institutions to Meet Student Expectations

Forty-six percent of Huron’s survey respondents listed “user expectations” as one of the greatest challenges facing IT leaders in higher education. These high expectations are based on the students’ daily experiences with personal devices. In a world where everything is accessible at the touch of a screen, IT leaders know a clunky, hard-to-use legacy system students can’t understand and hate to use simply isn’t going to make the grade. A key step to building the university of the future is using the cloud to create positive user experiences for students.

2. Early Cloud Adoption Puts Institutions Ahead

Most institutions and their IT leaders recognize that to build the university of the future, they must start the cloud migration process early. Seventy-five percent of Huron’s survey respondents said their institution is moving to the cloud, or would be within the next 12 months. With so many institutions making the move, those that don’t adopt a modern technology infrastructure risk being left behind. Late cloud adoption can negatively affect colleges and universities in two ways: First, the lack of modern technology will make it even more difficult for institutions to attract prospective students. Second, those institutions will struggle to retain and graduate existing students. By implementing the cloud, an institution not only invests in the success of its students, but in the success of the institution itself. It is in the best interest of colleges and universities to start cloud adoption early.

(Next page: 3 more ways the cloud is building the University of the Future)

About the Author:

Joy Walton is a managing director for professional services firm, Huron. Joy collaborates with colleges, universities and research institutions on projects related to information systems design and implementation, research administration and operational improvement.


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