In the near future stealth fighter parents will soon be replacing helicopter parents (See Neil Howe and William Strauss have recently published the second edition of their book Millennials Go to College and they predict that this parental transition could cause higher education to experience institutional shifts unlike any seen in living memory.

Howe and Strauss talk at length about the price of higher education and how Gen X parents will respond. They feel that few college leaders have taken a public position on the sustainability of endless tuition increases. No price can indefinitely increase faster than family income. Gen X parents will be particularly focused on their return on investment as their children go to college. They will begin demanding that colleges re-examine their entire product from a a price and value-oriented perspective.

Stealth fighter parents will look at the college their children attend as a calculated market choice. If the costs at one college are $30,000 per year and another charges $20,000, they will want to know what that extra $10,000 is actually buying them. In addition, they will want to know why they should purchase a whole college package with what they view as expensive extras. They will want the option to split the college experience into its component parts and pick and chose exactly what their children need. They will want the documented earning capabilities of graduates, the percentage that pursue a career in their field of study, the drop out rate, the size of loan obligations, etc.

Howe and Strauss also predict that stealth fighter parents will view colleges as one of many providers in a large marketplace. New competitors will emerge providing alternative choices for much of what college provides.

All of this will put increasing pressure on colleges to provide value and to focus on efficiencies. The option to outsource and/or automate services will become a viable option for institutions that want to control costs in order to stay competitive.

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