The Changing Face of Today’s Student: More Diverse, Older and Requiring More Personalized Learning

A scan of several studies and surveys reveals a clear picture of how higher education enrollment will change in the coming years. The student body will be more ethnically diverse, more female and less likely to comprise 18-year-olds fresh out of high school.

Those demographic trends are on track to continue into the next decade, according to statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics. NCES estimates 20.5 million students entered college in the fall of last year, 5.2 million more than in 2000. Following a slight decrease from 2010 to 2014, NCES projects undergraduate enrollment will climb 14 percent between 2014 and 2025, rising from 17.3 million to 19.8 million.

A deeper dive into those numbers, however, reveals shifts in the makeup of today’s college student population, suggesting significant implications for teaching methods at higher-education institutions. Understanding who comprises this evolving student population is vital to addressing the complex needs within it and better ensuring the success of every individual student.

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