There’s a fair amount of folly intrinsic to predicting the future. (See this roundup
of predictions for 2020 that now seem pretty outlandish. Houses would fly? Roads replaced by pneumatic tubes?) But the forecasts and trends to watch that are everywhere this time of year are revealing, too.
Here are two of the most-common predictions that came up in reading through the recent forecasts for higher ed:
Colleges are going to close.
A lot of them, if you believe some futurists. One predicts
the demise of more than 100 over the next decade. Another looks out into the higher ed mists of 2040
and sees as many as 500 colleges shutting down.
Some are quick to temper those predictions. Robert Kelchen, a professor of higher education at Seton Hall University, says that the rate of college closures is actually still modest despite an increasingly dominant narrative that higher ed is in crisis. Still, the issue makes his annual top 10 list
. Here’s what he expects: More states to try to ramp up oversight of private colleges, and pushback from college leaders who worry about scrutiny pushing their institutions over the edge.
Admissions practices will face scrutiny. It doesn’t take much of a crystal ball to foretell this, following a year in which an elaborate admissions bribery scheme dominated national headlines. But there are specific issues on the horizon that show up in many outlooks for 2020: