Around the world, tuition at universities is rising at a much faster rate than inflation and challenging students’ return on investment. Reduced government funding and higher operating costs are driving the need for change at universities. The mismatch in employer needs and employee skills is leaving over seven million jobs unfilled in the U.S.
These trends are opening the way for new approaches in higher education. Innovations in how post-secondary education are delivered, financed, and recognized are driven by a range of actors—from large public universities like Arizona State University to elite private institutions like MIT to the many relatively new education companies entering the sector like Make School, Coursera, and Trilogy Education.
But to understand why these new approaches are emerging, we need to first look at what is driving them. While there are many factors influencing the direction of post-secondary education around the world, three are particularly noteworthy for influencing recent innovation: reduced return on investment for students, reduced government spending, and significant skills mis-matches between graduates’ abilities and jobs available.