BCG: Universities Face Plethora of Challenges

U.S. universities and colleges face an array of pressing challenges that require education leaders to act with unprecedented strategic clarity and vision in order to seize the opportunities that lie ahead, according to a new report released by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

In the “Five Trends to Watch in Higher Education” report, BCG has identified the five forces that are transforming U.S. higher-education institutions.
They are:

1) Key sources of revenue are continuing to fall, putting many institutions at severe financial risk.
2) Demands are rising for a greater return on an investment in higher education.
3) Greater transparency about student outcomes is becoming the norm.
4) New business and delivery models are gaining traction.
5) The globalization of education is accelerating.

But experiments around the country point the way forward, say the authors. Many institutions are reviewing their portfolio of programs to improve productivity and reduce costs.

They are also using data to improve outcomes and ensure success for the changing mix of students. Some universities are broadening their research offerings to better attract funding, while a number of colleges are expanding their share of the online education market. Such creative efforts signal the diversity of ways to change the game, the authors argue.

“The higher-education sector is undergoing unprecedented change, challenging every board and leadership team to rethink their strategy and operating model,” says J. Puckett, a Senior Partner and co-author of the report. “The institutions that will thrive in this environment will be willing to adapt and embrace new pathways to success.”