Global Higher Education Research Snapshot
Learn more in a virtual forum with The Chronicle of Higher Education on December 8th, 2020
Higher education is facing a new wave of change in today’s digital imperative.
Understanding these changes is more critical now than ever before, as we come together as one community to shape the future of lifelong learning.
The Global Higher Education Research Snapshot reflects the new attitudes and priorities of students and staff from around the world.
The research highlights five key themes shaping the student and staff experience during these times.
Methodology: An online survey of 2,200 staff and students conducted in 10 countries, between

August 10 — September 9, 2020.
Connection

Trust

Wellbeing

Flexibility

Career

Staying Connected
While Apart
Consistent communications are key to
maintaining students’ feelings of belonging.
In fact, it may be why students feel more connected,
not less, than in previous years.
% of students that feel more connected than last year to…

34%
Other Students

32%
Instructors
% of students that agree/strongly agree

79%
“I belong at my institution”

77%
“Personalized messages help me feel that my institution cares about my success”
This valuable sense of belonging is increasingly happening through online communities.
“How did your institution’s online communities help you during pandemic-related restrictions?”
Made me feel more connected to other students
0%
Made me feel more connected with instructors
0%
Made me feel I belong at my institution
0%
Supported my wellbeing
0%
0%
of students would like weekly (or more frequent)

pandemic-related communications.
of students would like weekly (or more frequent) pandemic-related communications.

The more colleges work to communicate with students, the more they feel trust with them.”
Robert Kelchen, Associate Professor of Higher Education, Seton Hall University
Widening Trust Gaps
Within Institutions
However, there are existing trust gaps to bridge, which have been worsened somewhat by the pandemic.
% who think the pandemic has widened the trust gap between leadership and instructors
Students
0%
Staff
0%
% who think the pandemic has widened the trust gap between leadership and students
Students
0%
Staff
0%
How could your university improve its response to the pandemic?

30%
of students said their university could be more transparent about decision-making
The results speak to the anxiety and uncertainty students expect in the coming months.”
Daniel Eisenberg, Professor of Health Policy and Management at UCLA

Holistic Wellbeing is
Top of Mind
As students navigate an ever-changing university experience, the trust trend trickles into their personal safety and financial wellbeing.
Students were asked, “To what extent are the following a challenge for you during the pandemic?”
Maintaining my wellbeing
0%
Having financial concerns
0%
As a result…
0%
of students want more support/resources for student wellbeing and mental health
0%
of students require more financial aid this year
The pressure of careers, of getting a quality education,
and of growing financial debt weigh on European
students, from undergrad to doctoral students.”
Hans de Wit, Director of the Center for International
Higher Education, Boston College
Students Expect More Flexible Learning Options
Faced with increased challenges, many students are seeking more flexible learning options.
“How could your institution improve its response to the pandemic?”

35%
Offer more flexibility with grading and course assignments

33%
Provide more flexible academic options for students (online, hybrid, in-person)
The good news?
There’s already evidence of this shift.
0%

of staff say their institutions are investing in new modalities or revenue streams to attract new students, such as more flexible learning options.
“Which of the following is your institution investing in to attract new students?”
60%
More online learning options
40%
More part-time classes
38%
Competency-based programs
Revising Career and
Academic Goals
Economic changes are causing a shift in how students view their academic and career goals.
0%

of students are reconsidering their education plans during the pandemic.

Top reasons students have considered switching institutions during the pandemic
I want to go to a university with programs that better align with my career goals
0%
I want to go to a university with programs that better align with my major or academic goals
0%
43% of staff that anticipate an increase in adult learners believe it will be for reskilling or upskilling as a result of the pandemic.
Students want to be set up for career success—but only a handful have access to helpful career resources from their institution.
Top of Mind for Students
0%
I’m concerned about finding
employment after I graduate.
“I would choose one institution over another if it has…”
0%
Online
job fairs
0%
More help with finding
jobs/internships
% of students who have access to…
0%
Career/job
seeking resources
0%
Online communities
to connect with alumni
The pandemic has reshaped expectations of higher education—but it’s also created an opportunity for institutions to accelerate their digital transformation, and build resiliency in the next normal.
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Take a deep dive into the research findings in a virtual forum on December 8th, 2020.