Trends in Higher Education

By Grumman, Phyllis T. H. | Planning for Higher Education, January-March 2009 | Go to article overview

Trends in Higher Education


Grumman, Phyllis T. H., Planning for Higher Education


DEMOGRAPHICS

Observation

The mental health of students attending college is increasingly becoming a cause for concern, in both the US and Canada (Canwest News Service, March 26, 2008, www.canada.com; American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment. Reference Group Executive Summary Fall 2007, Baltimore: American College Health Association (2008)).

* Campus shootings appear to be simply the most visible sign of a population that is reporting more depression, anxiety, and major psychological disorders. The rate of students reporting ever being diagnosed with depression has increased from 10 percent in spring of 2000 to 16 percent in spring of 2005 (American College Health Association--National College Health Assessment, www.acha-ncha.org/pubs_rpts.html#fa06).

* Over 90 percent of campus counseling center directors report that the recent trend toward greater numbers of students with severe psychological problems continues to be true on their campuses, with 8.5 percent of enrolled students seeking counseling in 2007 (National Survey of Counseling Center Directors 2007, The International Association of Counseling Services, Inc., Monograph Series Number 8Q).

Our Thoughts

The number of students who seek and need mental health services is only likely to rise. Increased awareness and decreased stigmatization for treatment contribute to this trend, but don't explain it all. How can campuses provide appropriate help? (Inside Higher Ed, July 11, 2008, www.insidehighered.com/layout/set/print/ views/2008/07/11/broad).

* The ratio of counselors to students is 1 to 1,969. While smaller schools have better ratios, there are clearly not enough counselors to address the needs of students. (National Survey of Counseling Center Directors 2007, The International Association of Counseling Services, Inc., Monograph Series Number 8Q).

* Ironically, the passage of the new GI bill is only likely to exacerbate the problem as veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan return to college with an increased likelihood of stress-related disorders and physical disabilities (Inside HigherEd, July 10, 2008, www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/07/10/veterans).

* A poll conducted in March 2008 of 2,253 undergraduates at four-year institutions indicated that 80 percent of students said they felt stressed. They reported that 16 percent of their Friends had talked about suicide and 1 I percent had made an attempt. Over a quarter of the respondents had considered talking to a mental health professional since starting school (mtvU-Associated press College Survey, March 2008, conducted by Edison Media Research, www.edisonresearch.com).

DEMOGRAPHICS

Observation

Institutional financial aid has become a vital link to recruitment and retention as public funding for higher education, including federal grants, cannot keep pace with costs, particularly for first-generation students (The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 2, 2008, www.chronicle.com/weekly/ v54/i34/34b00301.htm).

* During the 2005-2006 academic year, approximately 75 percent of the 2.7 million Full-time, first time degree/ certificate seeking undergraduates received Financial aid (The Condition of Education 2008, www.nces.ed.gov/ pubs2008/2008173.pdf).

* As many as 3.2 million college-ready students will forgo a bachelor's degree this decade because of financial barriers (The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 1, 2008, www.chronicle.com/article/4419/more-low-income-students -will-miss-out-on-college-over-next-decade?utm_source=at&utm_medium=en).

* Student loans play an increasing role in financing higher education, with approximately 46 percent of students receiving loans in the 2005-2006 academic year (The Condition of Education 2008, www.nces.ed.gov/ pubs2008/2008173.pdf).

Our Thoughts

The realities of paying for a college education are starker than ever. …

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