At present, below one percent of the undergraduates in the United States are enrolled in world-class colleges and universities. These “elite” tertiary institutions typically enroll a handful of the many brilliant students who apply. Many top-tier public universities are becoming gradually selective as well. As a result, there is an increasing number of qualified applicants who are now unable to receive high quality education.
Higher education is essential to stimulate innovation and develop a nation’s economic competitiveness. By providing higher education to a diverse group of individuals, it helps the United States to thrive in an increasingly global knowledge economy. This is more important than ever, because in the next three years the nation is expected to face a scarcity of 3 million well-education graduates. This is a disparity predicted to hit 16 million by 2025, according to a Lumina Foundation report. Access to higher education has become progressively challenging for those in the lower socioeconomic groups. Poverty rates have also increased for Americans 25 years or older without a university degree. A society can benefit from having a large pool of educated citizens with earning power who can make a difference to the communities. Therefore, the society should strive to figure out how it can make the most of the nation’s intellectual capacity.
Enrollment expansion in American universities require a shift from an elitist model to a creative one. It needs a model that allows for the continuous evaluation of organisational designs, ways in which knowledge are produced and taught due to a growing diverse student population. It should also include the broadening of the number of multidisciplinary degrees and programs to better match expectations of students to the global workforce.
Even though not every institution is prepared for the demands of dramatically expanding opportunity while simultaneously raising quality. But the change can begin with expanding the notion of what “elite” really means.
Participate in the upcoming QS-MAPLE 2018 conference held from 4-6 March 2018 in Bahrain as we address the topic on “Advancement of University Excellence in all its Forms”.