As more nontraditional than traditional students enter higher education, college presidents must adapt

college-presidentsChanging demographics.

Heightened expectations from students and parents.

Competition and new models of learning.

Those are among the challenges college and university presidents will face in the coming months and years as they navigate the changing landscape of higher education.

One critical issue: access.

“The students we are seeing move into colleges and universities across the country constitute a different demographic than they have,” said Lynn Gangone, vice president of Leadership Programs for the American Council on Education. “Oftentimes they are coming from families that are not as capable of affording a college or university experience, often coming from school systems where they might not have been as well prepared academically.”

There are more nontraditional students entering higher education than traditional students. Colleges and universities are working to better serve adult learners and part-time students, Gangone said.

Next page: Nontraditional students are making a case for different approaches

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