How Higher Education is Changing

Reposted with permission from

Earlier this month I pulled together tons of information related to the current status of Higher Education and the direction experts believe it is heading. The purpose of this was to help create a new video demonstrating how Read&Write Gold can help the many students currently needing assistance, or struggling to make the transition from their current setting into postsecondary education.

While I’ve included the video at the bottom of this post for those interested, the primary purpose here is to share some of the interesting points I found while researching the topic.

Traditional hat toss. Some motion blur.

The National Center for Education Statistics created a report titled Projections of Education Statistics to 2021 that included stats from the last 15 years and projected stats through the year 2021. While the report contains information related to primary, secondary, and postsecondary education, I will be focusing on the postsecondary findings in this post.

One of the first stats that stuck out was how much the rate of enrolment in Higher Ed is expected to slow. The report shows that between 1996 and 2010 enrollment increased by 46%. However, from 2010 to 2021 enrollment is expected to increase by only 15%. This decrease in enrollment holds true for both men and women at all age levels (age levels listed were 18-24, 25-34, and 35 and older). Similar data was found for both part-time and full-time students in addition to undergraduate and graduate programs.

Things changed however when the report broke the data down by race/ethnicity. Below are the findings listed in the report regarding expected enrollment through 2021:

  • White – Increase of 4%
  • Black – Increase of 25%
  • Hispanic – Increase of 42%
  • Asian/Pacific Islander – Increase of 20%
  • American Indian/Alaska Native – Increase of 1%

This data looks much different than what it may have 20 years ago. Additionally, many of these students will be first generation college students, some of which will require additional supports when making the transition into the college or university setting.

Another interesting, but separate article from The Hechinger Report dealt specifically with students with disabilities. It referenced the number of students who could benefit most from additional supports but never made a request. For example, it explains that

“while 94 percent of high school students with learning disabilities get some kind of help, just 17 percent of learning-disabled college students do.”

Stats like these are one of the reasons why students with learning disabilities have a lower graduation rate than their peers. The article went on to discuss some of the reasoning behind this and things being done to improve the situation.

These are just a few of the interesting stats about the future of Higher Education that I found worth sharing. They also demonstrate why supports such as Read&Write Gold will be more important than ever. If you are interested in viewing the video I put together on the topic you can check it out below:


  • Krupnick, Matt. “Colleges Respond to Growing Ranks of Learning Disabled.” The Hechinger Report, 13 Feb. 2014. Web.
  • “Projections of Education Statistics to 2021 – 40th Edition.” National Center for Education Statistics, Jan. 2013. Web.
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About Jason Carroll

Jason first learned of Assistive Technology while working on his undergraduate degree where much of his spare time was spent assisting a regional education centre with basic technology needs. Amazed at how this technology could benefit so many students (particularly those he grew up with) he was hooked and immediately became an expert at the centre. After receiving his Masters, Jason returned to the coop to serve as a full time Assistive Technology Consultant serving over 200 schools in the central Kentucky Region.

Since this time, Jason has trained thousands on Assistive Technology and Universal Design for Learning concepts throughout the United States and beyond. His focus is on integrating research based practices into the work he does and helping others ensure that what they are doing works. He specialises in assisting people to bridge the gap between operation of technology and actual implementation. Jason is a published author, has taught Instructional Technology and Universal Design for Learning at the University level, and spends a significant amount of time on e-Learning and blended learning initiatives. He is a graduate of the Assistive Technology Applications Certificate Program (ATACP) from California State University at Northridge and holds a Masters in Business Administration.

Currently Jason serves as Product Marketing Manager for North America at Texthelp Inc. where he oversees new product launches and speaks nationally on a variety of Assistive Technology topics.

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