How Higher Education's Student Affairs and Support Services will Develop in the Future

Tina Rosen, Education Tech Insights | Monday, March 21, 2022

Higher education, including student affairs and services, is expected to undergo a dramatic shift during the next 25 years.

FREMONT, CA: Over the next 25 years, higher education appears to be undergoing significant changes, particularly in the areas of student affairs and services. By taking an active role in change planning, practitioners and scholars in student affairs position themselves not merely as forecasters but also as architects of their futures. It is intended that practitioners and scholars in student affairs will spend time looking into the future and thereby help make it a reality.

Students exhibit a range of intellectual and personal characteristics formed by their family, origin cultures, and prior educational experiences. Students' mental and physical health has become a significant concern in recent years, as an increasing number of students enter with serious mental health disorders, chronic illnesses, or other debilitating ailments, all of which present barriers to engagement, learning, and success.

Nonetheless, practically all students desire success. They have been persuaded to believe that institutions will give sophisticated services, specialized care, and individual support. However, student support services are frequently not structured or resourced enough to meet students' needs and expectations.

Tertiary institutions have benefited from increased accessibility for students from diverse backgrounds. This trend is almost guaranteed to continue as countries' racial and ethnic compositions diversify further due to group birth rates and migratory patterns fluctuating.

While it has been demonstrated that the presence of diverse students enhances the learning experience, it also introduces dynamics that can disrupt existing approaches to teaching and learning and an institution's established cultural mores.

While many countries have extended access to tertiary education for underrepresented groups, low completion rates are frequently a result of significant numbers of students being academically underprepared, despite decades of appeals for school reform and improvement. Too many students fail academically, grow upset, and discontinue their studies.

In several regions of the world—most notably the United States the expense of postsecondary education has significantly outpaced inflation, resulting in significant student debt accumulation.

The perception that higher education is unaffordable (even when it is), combined with a depressed job market in the aftermath of the global recession, has discouraged many families from accepting that tertiary education will provide a reasonable return on investment. However, the data supporting the value-added proposition remains extremely compelling.

Tuition and fee increases are no longer a realistic alternative for private and public institutions to close income shortages.

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