What are the Post-Pandemic College Trends for the Future?

College Resources

Ready to start your journey?

The post-pandemic college trends for the future include more online schools and virtual learning from all types of educational institutions. The COVID-19 pandemic had a profound and lasting effect on our educational system.

Colleges and universities are now exploring how they can reshape and improve these institutions in a post-pandemic world. The post-pandemic college trends will change the way colleges and universities educate and operate.

In-Person Tuition and Fees Will Increase, and Online School will not

College tuition and fees have doubled or tripled over the last thirty years. This increase in cost has many households with college students under financial strain. Many colleges and universities suffered considerable economic hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, these schools will likely increase tuition in the coming post-pandemic semesters to compensate for the losses. Students that take classes on campus can also expect future tuition to continue to go up.

Virtual Learning and Online School is Here to Stay!

Virtual learning and distance learning is here to stay. In September 2020, over half of U.S. Colleges reported being fully or partially online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Education delivered through virtual or distance learning offers online classes that students can attend from about any world location with an internet connection.

Many colleges and universities offer courses and also fully online degrees at a fraction of the cost of an in-person program. Furthermore, the colleges and universities not already participating joined the movement out of necessity. Because of the flexibility and cost savings, virtual learning’s presence will only increase. After the pandemic, the future trend in universities will include virtual learning as a staple instead of an exception.

More Micro Degrees and Nano Degrees

Microdegrees and Nanodegrees are what they sound like. They are small degrees designed for quick completion and also immediately applicable to a profession or job. They teach a specific practical skill set on a single subject. So, students and professionals looking to earn a credential can boost their income quickly. Microdegrees and nano degrees have been around for a few years. And you can expect these degrees to become more popular post-pandemic.

Companies like EdX have partnered with universities like MIT to provide micro master’s degrees with degree programs. Colleges and universities are thinking and operating more like businesses. So, the post-pandemic college trend is schools incorporating micro and nano degrees into their curriculums to offer students more flexibility.  

Here Come the MOOCs!

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are education genuinely for the masses. They are free or inexpensive online courses with open online access geared towards unlimited participation.

Companies like edX, Coursera, and Udacity offer independent courses or partner with brick-and-mortar universities to offer classes. The company edX offers 2,900 free or low-cost MOOCs. Some MOOCs offer credit towards a micro degree or nano degree. You can expect colleges and universities to increase MOOC presence in the next few years.

Stackable Credentials Grow in Popularity

Stackable credentials are flexible for students to earn credits by taking mini-courses. They are credentials for quick completion. As an individual accumulates these courses or credentials over time, they build. These “stacked” qualifications allow the student to move along a career pathway to a promotion or a higher-paying job.

These programs often form a certificate or a degree’s academic requirements. Stackable credentials have been a component of community colleges for many years. Many expect stackables to gain a more significant presence in four-year and master’s degree programs. You have probably already guessed that quite a few micro degrees, nano degrees, and MOOCs are stackable.

More Competency-Based Education (CBE) in Online Schools

Competency-Based Education (CBE) measures learning, or competency, instead of the time required to master a topic. CBE provides students flexibility in how they earn credit and personalizes learning opportunities. Learning can be online, blended, community-based, or early college dual enrollment. This tailored content leads to better student outcomes.

Post-Traditional (“Adult”) Courses Increase

Another post-pandemic college trend is adult learners will increase. Four-year college programs are not ideal for adults over twenty-five. On-campus programs are inflexible.

With the rise of virtual learning and online degrees, students with other life obligations can still attend college.

Alternative Funding Sources and Business Partnerships

Colleges and online schools will look to alternative funding sources and business partnerships. Traditionally, schools have relied on federal funding and donations to run their colleges or universities. Both types of financing have decreased over the last decade.

Universities and colleges are exploring alternative financing sources. Industry and business partnerships can provide universities with more research and funding resources. The companies that partner with the universities also benefit. Many of these companies hire students to work on their research.

Guided Pathways Gain Momentum in Online Schools

Guided Pathways are a Post-Pandemic College Trend for the Future

Guided Pathways is a movement that streamlines a student’s journey through college by providing a clear roadmap for students to achieve their college completion goals. The college helps students choose a path, stay on the course, and ensures they are learning.

These Guided pathways are official ways for schools to make sure students graduate on time. They also help keep student debt low by having a graduation plan.

Income Share Agreements Become More Common

An Income Share Agreement (ISA) is a nontraditional way students can pay for their college education with their earnings after graduation. It is based on the idea that a student should have a great, well-paying job after college. So, the ISA ties a student’s field of study to their financial success in a job or career after graduation.

Furthermore, these agreements encourage institutions to be more transparent about evaluating a student’s post-graduation outcomes. And this helps schools extend their budgets for more students. Some schools like Perdue University already use ISAs.

Community Colleges offer More Bachelor’s Degrees

Community colleges fill an essential gap in America’s higher education system but have traditionally been seen as subpar to traditional four-year universities. However, most community colleges serve populations with few other higher education resources.

Twenty-three states currently allow community colleges to offer bachelor’s degree programs. The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened awareness of college costs and accessibility. A more significant movement for community colleges to create four-year degrees affordable and accessible will happen in the next few years.

Post-Pandemic College Trends and the Future.

The future trends in college and university operations will focus on cutting costs for schools and students. They will design systems that offer deliberate planning for a career and more flexibility in education credits. And they will provide creative solutions for paying for college.


Comments are closed.

Ready to start your journey?