ERIC Number: EJ1043392
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Sep-9
Is Our Aging Population a Threat to Education?
New England Journal of Higher Education, Sep 2014
A great many New England institutions of higher education are about to find out if demography will determine their fate because unprecedented and substantial population change is sweeping across the region. With fewer than 15 million year-round residents, it is the nation's smallest and one of the slowest-growing of the nine census divisions. This region is also demographically the oldest and most rapidly aging. Its median age, which is now over 40, has risen by seven years since 1990. Such high and rising median ages mean that two-thirds of adult women in this region are no longer in the child-bearing age range. The visible consequence of this rapid aging is a steady decline in the number of births and subsequent drop in the number of children in the region. Whatever the reasons, the most rapidly growing ages in New England are, by far, people aged 65 or older. That, combined with the decline in numbers of children, portend a very difficult decade for the region's colleges and universities. While the focus of this report is on the region's demographic problems that threaten higher education, there should also be attention paid to the region's assets. Most older people who have benefitted financially from having a college or graduate degree recognize that fact and appreciate the opportunity they had to get the degree. They represent a huge pool of affluent supporters who may need to be organized to help the region's colleges and universities in this stressful time. The task is how to imaginatively deploy those assets and other resources to address the difficult times ahead to secure a better future for New England's institutions of higher education, whose survival will require some very imaginative thinking.
Descriptors: Higher Education, Demography, Older Adults, Educational Attainment, Taxes, Aging (Individuals), Trend Analysis, Nontraditional Education
New England Board of Higher Education. 45 Temple Place, Boston, MA 02111. Tel: 617-357-9620; Fax: 617-338-1577; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.nebhe.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A