In his highly influential book, Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education, Carleton College Professor of Economics, Nathan Grawe, alerted college and university leaders to the challenges they would be facing with the accelerating decline in the number of U.S. high school graduates that will come in the middle of this decade. In his new book, The Agile College: How Institutions Successfully Navigate Demographic Changes (Johns Hopkins UP, 2021), he updates the demographic trends through the mid-2030s and describes the variety of strategies different institutions are adopting to respond to the decline in their traditional student population. He shares what led him to become an economist and the rigorous training he received at the University of Chicago. We have an engaging discussion of the implications of his work for both university leaders and policymakers as they debate reforms for funding college students. He also shares some insights from his new project looking at the publishing and career paths of economists working in liberal arts colleges.
David Finegold is the president of Chatham University.