Editor's Note (The View From Here)

The 2017 Education Marketplace

The National Center for Education Statistics has a mandate to report to Congress on the condition of education by June 1 of each year. Their recently released report, The Condition of Education 2016, gives us a look at the trends and developments in education using the latest available data.

Student enrollment, as well as the actual number degree-granting institutions with first-year undergraduates, is showing a decline. In 2013-14 there were 4,294 institutions compared to 4,207 in 2014-15. Declines were seen in the number of both two-year and four-year institutions. When looking at total undergraduate enrollment, the number of students enrolled fell from 17.47 million in the fall of 2014 to 17.29 million in the fall of 2015. While enrollment grew slightly in four-year institutions, a decline was seen in two-year colleges. Revenues from tuition and fees per FTE student increased in both public and private institutions, along with institution expenses.

With the upcoming presidential election and politics being what it is, we would be hard-pressed to predict where funding for higher education will end up in the next few years. The only thing we know for sure is that the cost of a college education — along with student loan debt — has reached a tipping point. For many, economic return on investment has become the measure of the value of a higher education. Despite the talk, no one really knows the impact that “free” higher education will have. No matter the outcome of the election or policy changes in the future, the responsibility for making college affordable falls on us — and this means “doing more with less.”

Our buyers’ guide section of this issue is designed to help institutions make the most of their money by helping them evaluate suppliers and examine the wide range of options available to them. This year’s directory contains product information from more than 1,700 suppliers to the education market. Products are sorted by category, then sub-category. For example, under the main category “Safety and Security” you will find sub-categories for access control systems, alarms, surveillance cameras, etc.

The Products Index can be found on page 26. Find the product category you are interested in, and then flip to the designated page for a list of companies that provide this product. Full contact information for all suppliers in the directory can be found in the Suppliers Section that begins on page 72. The suppliers with bold or enhanced listings support the publication of this guide through their advertising dollars. Product Showcases, starting on page 103, will give you more detailed information about the latest products and services available to you.

Our goal is to help you make the most of the dollars you have!

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2016 issue of College Planning & Management.

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