Innovations in how post-secondary education are delivered, financed, and recognized are driven by a range of actors – but to understand why these new approaches are emerging, we need to first look at what is driving them.


While there are many factors influencing the direction of post-secondary education around the world, three are particularly noteworthy for influencing recent innovation: reduced return on investment for students, reduced government spending, and significant skills mis-matches between graduates’ abilities and jobs available.


These major shifts in higher education are opening opportunities for new approaches and new actors to help support post-secondary learning and skill development. There are six trends that are particularly notable.

  1. Online education has become an increasingly accepted option, especially when “stackable” into degrees
  2. Competency-based education (CBE) lowers costs and reduces completion time for students
  3. Income Share Agreements (ISAs) help students reduce the risk associated with student loans
  4. Online Program Manager (OPM) organizations benefit both universities and nontraditional, working-adult students
  5. Enterprise training companies are filling the skills gap by working directly with employers
  6. Pathway programs facilitate increasing transnational education, which serves as an additional revenue stream for universities


Click here to read the entire article released by Brookings.