Higher Education, Demographics, Numeracy, Policy, Modeling


Nathan D. Grawe. 2018. Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press). 175 pp. ISBN 9781421424132.

Grawe introduces the Higher Education Demand Index (HEDI), a new probabilistic model designed to produce more nuanced forecasts of college attendance in the US than one-dimensional predictions based on the declining number of 18 year-olds. Using HEDI, Grawe confirms that nationwide attendance at both 2-year and 4-year schools is likely to decline over the next decade, but that the nature of this decline will vary by type of institution, geography, race and ethnicity, and parental income and education levels; some institutions may actually experience increased applications and enrollment. Grawe provides forecasts for percentage decrease or increase in college attendance across nine geographic areas divided into 63 divisions (28 urban and 35 non-urban), incorporating differences across these variables. The target audience includes “administrators and trustees who are responsible for recruitment, admissions, student support, tenure practices, facilities construction and strategic planning,” and one might also add instructors experiencing or interested in changing patterns of diversity at their institutions. Readers of Numeracy involved in these roles in higher education may thus find the book of interest, but even those who are not may appreciate the quantitative modeling and application of statistics to a significant real-world problem valuable.



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