Generational Shockwaves and the Implications for Higher Education

Generational Shockwaves and the Implications for Higher Education

Edited by Donald E. Heller and Madeleine B. d’ Ambrosio

This volume, part of the TIAA-CREF Institute Series on Higher Education, is based on a national conference convened by the Institute in November 2007. The generational issues that were the focus of the conference raise both risks and opportunities with the potential to profoundly affect our cultural environment, both inside and outside academe.

Chapter 6: Attracting and Retaining Students: Challenges and Opportunities for Today and Tomorrow

Kenneth E. Redd

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics, education, education policy, politics and public policy, education policy, social policy and sociology, ageing, education policy


Kenneth E. Redd Thirty years ago Georgetown University in Washington, DC, received roughly 5000 applications for admission to its undergraduate programs, according to the Washington Post (Kinzie, 2008). This year, the number of applications for the fall 2008 entering class has leapt to more than 18 000. Georgetown is not alone—the Washington Post recently reported that colleges and universities all around the country, ranging from Harvard University to McDaniel College, are experiencing a surge in applications (ibid.). A 2007 report from the National Association of College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) found that approximately three-quarters of four-year colleges and universities reported increases in the number of undergraduate admissions applications they received from fall 2005 to 2006, and, remarkably, 18 percent of fall 2006 first-year undergraduates had applied to seven or more postsecondary institutions (Hawkins and Clinedinst, 2007). As a result, admissions personnel at four-year institutions will be busier than ever in 2008 and beyond. The new generation of applicants is much different than any before it, and recruiting and retaining these students will be more difficult even for the most seasoned college admissions and financial aid administrators. In addition, a number of forces, particularly rising college prices and shifts in student financial aid, increasing racial diversity among the current and future traditional college-age population, and shifts in parental involvement in the college planning and financial aid process pose potentially daunting challenges in the future. This chapter first takes a look at the characteristics and attitudes of current college students,...

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