The 2019 Survey of College and University Business Officers

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Inside Higher Ed conducts an annual survey of college and university business officers. The point of this higher education survey is to reveal the business climate within education, and connect it to the issues of stability and reputation of higher education institutions. 

Throughout the past few years, private college officials have been concerned about the financial viability of their institutions. This year, they are slightly more optimistic. Public universities, on the other hand, are feeling more pressure than ever. 

Dan Greenstein, chancellor at Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, said: “Let’s give it a name. It’s called terminal financial decline. Let’s give it a duration. It’s got about seven to ten years. Every choice we make has a consequence.”

With that, Mr. Greenstein summed up the findings of the ed survey. But we’ll get into more detail. 

This universities survey is important for measuring the financial health of educational institutions and working towards a better model, which would work for the students, the government, and private schools. 

It’s a Tough Financial Environment for Colleges and Universities

Many students complain about the massive tuition fees. They have every right to do so. They pay thousands of dollars per semester, so most of them have to take jobs in order to afford higher education. Since they spend a lot of time on the job, they have less space for academic projects and end up hiring an essay writing service when they need help. This is a big problem that affects their success at college, and it has a financial background. 

But students often fail to realize the other side of the coin. Universities don’t impose higher fees because they like to. They do it because it’s the only way for them to stay financially viable. We’re often talking about the ways technology will change education. The change is great, but technology costs a lot of money for universities. They have to provide it, and they have to afford it. 

47% of the business officials at private baccalaureate colleges and 30% of those at private nonprofits said that they had drawn endowment funds above the normal spending policy over the past year. 25% of the colleges that had drawn funds said the amounts were between $5 million and $30 million over five years. This is a clear sign of the financial distress these institutions feel. The higher tuition fees do not come close to covering their expenses.

When asked if they expected the economic downturn to negatively affect their institutions, only 17% of the respondents were confident that their schools would remain viable. 59% of the business officers said they were worried about the impact of the declining economy. When divided between community and private baccalaureate colleges, the concern was clearly greater among private institutions (75% vs. 47%). 

When asked about potential solutions, a merge came out as a favorable option. 18% of business officers agreed that their institution should merge within the next five years. Comparing with the results of the 2018 education survey, that percentage stayed the same. 28% of the respondents said they had a serious internal discussion about administration/academic consolidation. 62% agreed that their colleges should share administrative functions.

How does this solve the problem? A successful merge can produce the revenue, marketing strategy, and financial reserves for a college to stay viable. That’s why 70% of the respondents from private nonprofit institutions said that their colleges should at least share academic programs.   

What Does This Mean for the Students?

Unfortunately, we’ll continue seeing higher tuition fees for the years to come. 38% of the survey respondents agreed that the current tuition discount rate at their institutions was unsustainable. When compared to the 48% from the 2018 survey, we’re at a better position today. Still, the tuition fees are not likely to drop. Only 7% of college business officers said that the tuition rate dropped, and 23% had only considered doing that. 71% haven’t considered a reset, since it wouldn’t benefit their institution at all. 

The results from this survey make us ask the same question all over again: is this educational model sustainable? Public institutions seem to struggle less, but they still experience financial difficulties. For private colleges, the struggle is real. We see less confidence in future financial stability, and the final burden will definitely fall on the backs of future generations of students. 

Studying English continues to grow as international skill

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When it comes to mastering new skills and fine-tuning existing talents, there is much to be said about persevering even when the going gets considerably tough. As the saying goes, ‘nothing worth having comes easily’. There are (literally) a world of skills and talents out there, and they are all valuable. Arguably one of the most valuable skills and talents in all the world is being bilingual (having the ability to not only understand, but also fluently speak more than one language). Being bilingual is a skill that is quickly becoming more and more popular as time goes on, with millions of people taking lessons in different languages every other day.

Learning languages continues to become more popular

Having the command and in-depth understanding of multiple languages is a gift, and more and more, people are understanding the benefit of being able to understand and fluently speak a different language (or multiple) than their native tongue. One of the most popular languages to study and learn is English. As one of the most common languages in the world (and in fact the leading second language in the world), English is a language the world adores.

Why being bilingual is such a special skill

Whether you make the decision to study English, or learn Italian, or any other language available to you, being bilingual is a tremendous advantage not only in your understanding of other cultures and the world around you, but in your everyday life, and even at work. Having another language listed in your skills section of your resume gives you an advantage above the competition because it means that there is the potential for you to bring in more international business, as well as form international professional networking connections.

Why studying English is such a power move

As mentioned earlier, English is the world’s most common second language. With roughly 1.2 billion people internationally that speak English as their second language, it is an incredible advantage to be able to join that constantly growing number. Why? Because English is the most commonly spoken language in the world, and if you travel or otherwise reach out of your comfort zone, having a sense of familiarity to help you work through the experience can and often does make all the difference.

At the end of the day, being bilingual in general is an impressive skill that can edge you above the competition for your dream job, or help you navigate an unfamiliar environment more easily, or even just connect with people from all walks of life, all over the world. And studying English is the most sure-fire way to join in the global conversation, without navigating the barriers that can easily arise across borders. More and more, the modern world is proving to be one that is bilingual, and studying and mastering English can be a great way to surge ahead in that modern world (not to mention the future that follows). 

Can’t Choose a Career? How to Get Over Your Indecision

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Most people have trouble choosing their career when they get to college. Some even struggle to decide what career is best for them well into their 40s or 50s. But as you begin your college career, you’ll need to choose a major—and that major could have a lasting effect on your future employment. 

Obviously, this is a big decision, and it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and anxious about this decision. However, at some point, you’ll need to be decisive and work past those anxieties. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to calm your nerves—and end up with a major and/or career path you’re confident you’ll enjoy. 

Understand That This Isn’t Your Final Decision

It may seem like choosing your major in college is going to dictate how the rest of your life plays out, but this isn’t really the case. It’s hard to estimate how many times people change careers during their lives (even for the BLS), but anecdotal evidence alone makes it clear; most people undergo many career changes in their adulthood, and few end up strictly following the path their major laid out for them. 

In other words, even if you somehow find a perfect choice for your future, that perfect choice may not be perfect forever. You’ll always have the opportunity to find something new, and that’s a good thing. Don’t think of this as a lifelong commitment. 

Know the Criteria for What Makes a “Good” Career

How can you choose a career when you aren’t really sure what a “good” career looks like? Different people have different priorities when it comes to choosing a career path, so it pays to define yours objectively. 

These are some of the most important categories people consider: 

  • Job openings and demand. It’s usually a good idea to go into a career with lots of demand, many regular job openings, and a strong future ahead of it. For example, fields like healthcare won’t be affected by economic changes or technological breakthroughs. 
  • Safety and hazards. Some jobs are inherently more dangerous than others. For some people, risky professions are worth the rewards, since they often come with better pay and benefits packages. But for others, safer professions are a better choice. 
  • Pay. Obviously, you’ll want to consider the earning potential of the job. Typically, jobs and careers with a high demand for technical expertise pay more than jobs that are easy to obtain, or jobs that don’t require much training or education. 
  • Personal enjoyment. People often neglect personal enjoyment as a considering factor when evaluating their career options, but it’s as important as the other factors on this list. If you don’t like what you’re doing, it won’t matter how safe your job is or how much money you make; you’ll be miserable. You don’t have to love your job, but you should at least be able to tolerate it.
  • Future flexibility. Your wants and needs will likely change in the future, so how well can this career path accommodate those changes? Most people are best served seeking a job with some degree of flexibility. For example, does this career allow you to seek multiple promotions, climbing the corporate ladder? Will you have the option of starting your own business in this field eventually? 

Understand Your Strengths and Weaknesses

You also need to spend some time introspecting. What are your strengths and weaknesses, and how could they play into your career? Are you really good with people, but not great at working with numbers? Or did you always exceed in math and science courses, but struggle when it comes to writing? Your aptitude doesn’t have to determine your career path, but if you’re stuck between a handful of options, it can help to break the tie. 

Get Involved 

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you’ll want to get involved with other people. If you have a list of viable career options, reach out to local businesses and see if you can talk to people who currently hold those careers. Ask them what they like best about their profession, and what they hate about it. Ask them why they chose this path, and what other options they considered. You may even get the chance to volunteer, or work as an intern. In any case, you’ll get a firsthand look at what a career in this field looks like, which will provide much better information than hypothetical scenarios. If you can’t find people in this career field, consider talking to professors of the subjects you’ll need to study instead. 

Once you’ve taken these steps, you’ll have a better understanding of yourself, of the careers available to you, and of the support your campus can provide. You may not feel like your decision is perfect, but it doesn’t have to be—it just has to be good enough, and based on the best information available to you. There’s plenty of time to change and/or develop your career, so don’t worry if you change your mind later. 

Two definite improvements that show there is a new wave of education

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Over the past few years, education has changed immensely. In the past, education was viewed simply as a means to garner a graduation diploma. Recently, more and more students want to focus on education to understand and partake on different career paths. Additionally, the importance of education has risen in recent years as more authoritative figures understand its direct impacts on children. Through better means of education and learning, the whole industry has started to transform. Students can focus on their passions from an earlier age and teachers can change the manner in which lessons are delivered. This new wave of education has taken place by either direct or indirect influence from the advancements in technology as well as the newfound importance of mindfulness. It has never been easier for students to find personalized support for assignments simply by typing “pay someone to do my assignment” online. Teachers have begun to understand the impacts of concentration and peacefulness on the education provided. It is important to explore the 2 improvements more to understand their entire impact.

These are the 2 definite improvements that show there is a new wave of education:

  1. Technology

Education Technology otherwise known as Ed Tech, has become one of the largest growing industries in the past year. Technology has transformed the way in which education is delivered as well as the way in which students process the education material. Therefore, the growth of the Ed Tech industry has been inevitable, but more importantly, beneficial. A lot of new technological advancements, such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and personalized learning have made their way into daily classrooms. Artificial Intelligence, for example, is being used consistently worldwide for text-to-speech purposes; supporting dyslexic students as well as helping students learn new languages. Additionally technology has also allowed students to recognize their needs and become acquainted with a variety of platforms. The technological advancements have also started to find way into remote villages in countries around the world, overall increasing the impact of education worldwide.

  1. Mindfulness

Another aspect of education that has recently seen growth is the integration of mindfulness into the classroom. Much research has found that stress can be detrimental to a student’s success and that many different situations in the classroom can trigger it. Therefore, in recent years, as technology has also significantly decreased a student’s attention span, so has mindfulness. Meditation has become a way of punishment to help students learn calmness, while also being used in classrooms to improve focus. Additionally, schools are finding a link between artistic and academic intelligence incorporating more of the prior to the classrooms. Furthermore, education all over the world is being influenced by the addition of more “artistic” periods into the daily schedule as it assists in the learning of academic knowledge. Both of these innovations have helped increase student productivity as well as achievement.

Overall, this new wave of education has become a necessity to the system and the schools. Nonetheless, even though it has long-term and short-term benefits, the new additions need to be regulated carefully. Each aspect if not provided and added in a carefully organized manner can result in the opposite effect. The education system will continue changing as it will have to become