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How to survive changes in higher education

We know change is inevitable, but inevitable does not guarantee easy. Higher education is no exception. Changes in accessibility, availability, and cost have combined to create the perfect storm. With so many colleges and universities bracing for impact, is it possible to survive this new educational landscape?

The headlines aren’t exactly optimistic

Last year’s Supreme Court decision to strike down the use of affirmative action in college admissions continues to reverberate, but its impact won’t be felt fully for years. Even now, enrollment is shrinking—especially among nontraditional students who have boosted student body numbers for decades.

At the same time, college costs continue to increase, with the biggest financial burdens falling on the people who can least afford them. According to the Student Borrower Protection Center, even four years after graduation, Black students still have nearly twice as much loan debt as their white classmates. 

Finally, traditional, four-year college alternatives are frequently hard to find, in part because the search algorithm hasn’t caught up. In reality, it’s also due to branding and marketing problems within these institutions.  

Despite all of this, some faculty and administrators are digging in their heels—convinced they can outlast the crisis on their campuses by avoiding change altogether.

…but there is hope

Here’s a hard truth. We won’t solve today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions. In a post-pandemic, socially-conscious world, we need new ways of thinking and doing if our institutions are going to make it. 

If that idea resonates, keep reading to learn how to survive—and even thrive—in today’s changing educational landscape.

Becoming a brand leader in higher education

The colleges and universities that survive our current crisis will all share one thing in common. 

They will have become brand leaders—people who are curious, open to a new direction, and committed to an inclusive future for their students, faculty, and staff. 

All of this requires work, but in our experience, every brand culture audit, strategic messaging session, positioning campaign, and launch plan is a chapter in your unique success story.

Here’s the best part. You don’t have to do any of this work alone. 

At Neka Creative, we’ve spent the last 15 years helping institutions like yours bridge the gap between an uncertain future and inclusive brand success. Our tools include:

  • Brand blueprints for reaching a bigger audience
  • Audits and workshops that activate your brand values
  • Strategic messaging that inspires confidence and commitment
  • Marketing collateral and creative assets that help you stand out from the crowd
  • …and so much more


Higher education has enough people playing follow-the-leader. If you’re ready to thrive, we can help. Click the button below to schedule your one-on-one consultation.

Neka Creative is a full-service brand development agency in Minneapolis, anchored on the promise of inclusion.

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