What’s Ahead for Education in 2020? Cengage Leaders, Students and Faculty Offer Predictions for the Year Ahead

Predictions highlight expected trends, challenges and opportunities for higher education

BOSTON— January 8, 2020 — As a new year – and a new decade – begin, college students, faculty and Cengage leaders are sharing their predictions on what challenges and opportunities will take center stage for higher education in 2020 and beyond.

“My hope for 2020 is that the industry will make a concerted effort to really listen to students and focus on their needs so that education is more impactful,” said Michael E. Hansen, CEO at Cengage.  “All of us in education need to show we have the courage, willingness and financial ability to break the mold and innovate to improve the overall system for students.”

Broadly, the predictions focus on the need to address affordability to make learning more accessible for all:

1. Addressing the affordability crisis will be paramount to the future of education.

“Navigating the future of higher education has become a complex puzzle. In 2020, I expect (and hope) we will see growing awareness of the college affordability crisis in the United States drive action – both in lowering the barriers to entry for students, but also supporting the whole student throughout their educational journey. This includes focusing on adequate funding to attract and retain qualified faculty, providing resources for students that help them thrive inside and outside the classroom, and ultimately looking for new and innovative ways to rethink the traditional – and in many cases antiquated – approach to education.” – Donna Sue M. Shellman, Program Coordinator and an Instructor in Medical Office Administration at Gaston College (NC)

“College affordability and the student debt crisis will continue to fuel debate in the 2020 presidential campaign. What I expect will shift is that finer points of each candidates’ approach will be put under a harsh spotlight as they defend their plans for “free college” (or their alternative) as the best approach to the American people. With that, if free college is the answer, who benefits? Will it just be for community colleges? What about continuing education and certification programs? What is the right balance to ensure those who need aid most, get it? These are some of the questions I expect will fuel the conversation, and ultimately shape the narrative as the Democrats narrow down the field to face off against President Trump later this year.” – George Miller, Senior Education Advisor at Cengage, Former Chairman, U.S. House Education and Labor Committee

“I think affordability will be a topic of focus in higher education in 2020. The price of higher education keeps increasing while the minimum wage hasn’t increased. Any way to reduce the cost of higher education should be considered. I also think the idea of having campuses becoming more diverse and inclusive. I think that’s important to provide a learning environment for everyone while also making it affordable.”- Victoria A. Doll, student at University of Louisville

2. Accessibility will no longer be viewed as a nice-to-have, it’s a must have. All students need access to quality learning.

“I hope that in the future, college becomes more accessible for everyone. I also hope that high schools place more emphasis on alternative paths besides attending a traditional 4-year university. My high school had little to no information on trade schools, community college, or other options. I think that university has been made to be the ‘normal’, but it’s important for students to know all their options before graduating and moving on to the next chapter of their lives.”— Jennifer Ye, student at University of Maryland-College Park

“I predict 2020 will bring renewed emphasis on ensuring accessibility for all as part of educational content and platforms. Accessibility will become second-nature as more and more companies build guidelines and criteria to ensure products are born with a set standard of accessibility.”  – George Moore, Chief Technology Officer at Cengage. 

 “As we look ahead to 2020 and beyond, colleges and universities will be pushed to evolve and innovate in order to accommodate all types of learners. As the value of a college degree continues to be questioned, institutions will explore new opportunities to help students embark or advance in their careers, such as certification training and micro credentialing. This will be especially important as institutions look for ways to create efficiencies and increase revenue, and as students look for more affordable and valuable education options.” – Sandy Keeter, Program Manager/Professor, Computer Concepts & Applications, Seminole State College (FL)

3. The promise of digital learning will continue to evolve to support workforce development around the world, appealing to the individual way in which each student learns best.

“With a tightening job market and continued pressure on degree costs in 2020, more students will seek out online courses that provide the quality, flexibility, and affordability to get a degree while working. Institutions already embracing online courses and digital learning tools will have a competitive advantage to capture the growth in online enrollments.” – Fernando Bleichmar, General Manager, Higher Ed & Skills at Cengage

“I think higher education will change to tailor to the student. Students now have options when getting their education and their method of learning, and learning materials need to adjust.” – Rebecca Caro, student at Florida State University

“When we look at the evolving role of technology in educating the next billion, we must be more focused in ensuring the right use of technology in emerging markets, rather than just technology for technology’s sake. I expect we will see an evolution to concentrate on technology applications that help these emerging markets grow and foster better quality learning; such as tools to aid in teacher training and digital resource adoption to help emerging markets scale quickly.” – Alexander Broich, President of Global Businesses at Cengage

What do you think is ahead for education in 2020? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter at @CengageLearning using the hashtag #EdTech2020

About Cengage

Cengage is the education and technology company built for learners. As the largest US-based provider of teaching and learning materials for higher education, we offer valuable options at affordable price points. Our industry-leading initiatives include Cengage Unlimited, the first-of-its-kind all-access digital subscription service.  We embrace innovation to create learning experiences that build confidence and momentum toward the future students want. Headquartered in Boston, Cengage also serves K-12, library and workforce training markets around the world. Visit us at www.cengage.com or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

Media Contact
Emily Featherston