Only 51% of students who began a four-year degree in 2012 completed a degree within eight years at that institution, according to NCES. Bellwether believes a nonlinear higher education system can regain students' trust and recapture their valuation of a postsecondary degree.
"We're about to fall off that cliff," said Higher Education Co-Chairman Gregg Haddad referring to the reliance the state system placed on one-time federal aid investments, such as the American Rescue Plan.
Following a novel beta test that attracted over 300 students and over $40,000 in personal investment accounts, the University of Kentucky is using financial literacy as a conduit for healthier student habits in wellness, engagement and academics.
With a smaller pool of available students, a growing wake of attention to mental health and a swelling public skepticism of higher education, these small private college and university leaders in Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts and Maine are redefining their job to guide their schools in murky waters.