Changes to come should be ‘music to your ears,’ higher education innovators say

Digital alternatives at residential colleges and other new ways of delivering education have exploded since the pandemic forced schools to shut down in March 2020, forcing a reckoning in a sector already reeling from enrollment declines, rising tuition and unmanageable, often hidden student debt.

Covid “was such a boom to our industry,” said Anant Agarwal, founder and CEO of the online course platform EdX, which has more than 160 university partners and more than 2,000 free courses. “This move to online learning is here to stay. We’ll never rubber-band back to the old days.”

Changing workforce needs and an increasingly diverse population, including many low-income students, are all boosting the creation of alternative pathways into higher education, at a time when the overall proportions of students who are Black, Native American or Hispanic are either falling further behind academically or doing little more than staying the same.

Read more from The Hechinger Report.

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