Triangulating for a New Approach to Student Success

The signs of a fundamental shift in the attitudes, motivations, and learning expectations of students deciding where to attend college or university are well established. Due to rising costs (e.g., tuition, textbooks, and room and board) and the heavy, long-term debt burden that often comes with an education, many students and parents are choosing less expensive institutions, online institutions, community colleges, trade schools, and certificate offerings for their postsecondary education. In the next few years, midrange public universities and colleges—as well as many underendowed small private institution—will face increasing pressures to sustain their historical enrollments. Because students increasingly prefer to learn in diverse environments, many small private institutions in rural and small-town settings will have to merge, close, or go online. Changes in student preparation, moreover, will increase pressures on budgets necessary for remedial education, psychiatric and healthcare services, and the high-quality dorms and sports facilities that students demand.

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