Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education

Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education

Higher education faces a looming demographic storm. Decades-long patterns in fertility, migration, and immigration persistently nudge the country toward the Hispanic Southwest. As a result, the Northeast and Midwest―traditional higher education strongholds―expect to lose 5 percent of their college-aged populations between now and the mid-2020s. Furthermore, and in response to the Great Recession, child-bearing has plummeted. In 2026, when the front edge of this birth dearth reaches college campuses, the number of college-aged students will drop almost 15 percent in just 5 years.

n Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education, Nathan D. Grawe has developed the Higher Education Demand Index (HEDI), which relies on data from the 2002 Education Longitudinal Study (ELS) to estimate the probability of college-going using basic demographic variables. Analyzing demand forecasts by institution type and rank while disaggregating by demographic groups, Grawe provides separate forecasts for two-year colleges, elite institutions, and everything in between. The future demand for college attendance, he argues, depends critically on institution type. While many schools face painful contractions, for example, demand for elite schools is expected to grow by more than 15 percent in future years.

Essential for administrators and trustees who are responsible for recruitment, admissions, student support, tenure practices, facilities construction, and strategic planning, this book is a practical guide for

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About the Book

“Fascinating and ambitious. There will be a wide and eager audience for this book.”

(Martin J. Finkelstein, coauthor of The Faculty Factor: Reassessing the American Academy in a Turbulent Era)

“An ambitious, original book that provides a new and much-needed general framework for detailed, fact-based forecasting of the demand for higher education over the next 15–20 years. Grawe’s scholarship is well beyond sound.”

(Bradley G. Lewis, Union College)

“Numbers and statistics aren’t always what they seem. Nathan Grawe provides a readable and insightful look at the sweeping demographic change occurring in America and what it means for different types of colleges. Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education is an important read for college leaders and policy makers alike.”

(Jon McGee, author of Breakpoint: The Changing Marketplace for Higher Education)

“Anyone who cares about the future of higher education in America will need to carefully study Nathan Grawe’s Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education. By disaggregating poorly understood demographic shifts on the near horizon, Grawe fundamentally changes the narrative of what colleges can do to thrive.”

(Scott Bierman, Beloit College)

“Over the past two weeks I’ve read a book about the future of American higher ed, and want to recommend it very highly. It might be the most important book on the subject published this year.”

(Bryan Alexander blog)

“This “birth dearth” has prompted Nathan Grawe, Professor of Economics at Carleton College, to analyze the dynamics of demographic shifts and consider how schools might prepare for a significant decrease in demand. Grawe meticulously presents his findings in his insightful and practical new book, Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education.”

(Degree or Not Degree)

“Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education, by Nathan Grawe, is both terrifying and worth reading if you work in, or care about, higher education. I actually gasped several times, which isn’t my usual response to monographs about demographics.”

(Inside Higher Ed)

“Grawe’s book is timely, well-researched, and thought-provoking. Especially college or university presidents would be well-served to give it a thorough reading, and this reviewer will certainly be sharing the book with his.”

(Michael T. Catalano, Dakota Wesleyan University Numeracy)

Tag: Enrollment
ISBN: 9781421424132
List Price: $36.41
This book discusses several demographic trends which will affect higher ed enrollments, particularly shifts to the Southwest, causing 5% loss of college-age population in the Northeast and the Midwest, and reduced child-bearing in the wake of the Great Recession, causing a 15% drop in college-age population by 2026 onward. The impact on schools will vary by type; elites will do fine, regionals much less so. Scary but important reading.
– mdenboer
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