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This report is the first step in an ongoing environmental scan of the factors and trends affecting the structure and governance of modern higher education. It describes the confluence of demographic and economic forces that underlie a remarkable era of growth in higher education that peaked in the mid-1960s and abruptly ended in the mid-1970s. The authors do not attempt to forecast the exact future course of these trends, but rather seek to illuminate higher education's changing environment to help legislators, policymakers and analysts, administrators, and members of the higher education community assess and adapt to what the future might hold.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Draft series. The unrestricted draft was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003 that represented preliminary or prepublication versions of other more formal RAND products for distribution to appropriate external audiences. The draft could be considered similar to an academic discussion paper. Although unrestricted drafts had been approved for circulation, they were not usually formally edited or peer reviewed.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.