Skip to main content

Discover the latest higher education trends from the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference 2023. We explore the EDUCAUSE Top 10 issues facing Higher Ed.

Higher Ed’s IT professionals met last month at the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference 2023 to discuss the latest trends, issues and edtech innovations for the higher education industry. The conference convened in Chicago and the main higher education trends on the agenda included cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, data insights and more.  

Following this year’s EDUCAUSE Annual Conference 2023, an expert panel released the ‘EDUCAUSE Top 10’ list for 2024. This reflects the most important issues facing higher education institutions today. In this blog we’ll breakdown some of these key higher education trends, as discussed at this year’s EDUCAUSE Annual Conference.

Data and Analytics

How to collect, manage, analyze, and use data to inform decisions and improve outcomes for students, faculty, and staff. 

Data analytics is an incredibly powerful tool for improving learning and student success in higher education. It can help institutions to evaluate and improve their academic offerings and student support, tailor learning to individual needs, and foster student engagement and satisfaction. A major point from this year’s EDUCAUSE Top 10 list is that institutions need to invest in their data infrastructure to leverage analytics for actionable insights.

“…decision-makers have more access than ever before to data and analytics related to learning and student success. The information in the LMS is no longer sufficient. Analytics and data professionals need to integrate data from the many resources gathering students’ data to give the students, faculty, and advisors insights they can act on.

2024 EDUCAUSE Top 10, #4: Diving Deep into Data

Data can also help leaders make informed decisions in the face of limited resources and revenue, a key concern of higher education leaders at the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference 2023. Data can help leaders identify what is or isn’t working, as well as prioritize new opportunities for growth and innovation.

However, data quality and governance remain major challenges for higher education. Data silos can be incredibly harmful to institutions and slow the benefits from data analytics.

Data-Analytics from the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference 2023

Technologies and practices to integrate, manage, and visualize all campus data are constantly evolving, and institutions need to keep up with them.  

Cost and Risk 

How to balance the trade-offs between investing in technology and security, reducing administrative expenses, and managing vendors and contracts.

The next of the key higher education trends is Cybersecurity. This is not an optional concern for higher education institutions in 2024. It affects every aspect of their operations, from teaching and learning to research and administration. Cyberattacks can harm the data, services, reputation, and trust of institutions. As a result, institutions need to invest in cybersecurity infrastructure, policies, and training, while choosing technologies that prioritize their protection and security.

Another of the key higher education trends identified at the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference 2023: reducing administrative costs and burden. Institutions need to streamline their processes, data, and technologies to reduce administrative costs. This can help them eliminate inefficiencies, and silos in their workflows and systems.

“Staff workload and well-being is a challenge. We ask our staff to do more with less.”

Chris Linton, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Provost, Loughborough University, EDUCAUSE Top 10

Streamlining processes can also improve data quality, external reporting, and staff wellbeing.

Staff wellbeing and work-life balance is an important issue identified in the EDUCAUSE Top 10 for 2024. Higher education staff face increasing workloads and shrinking resources. Addressing these issues involves process automation and optimization, consolidating redundant technologies, enhancing cybersecurity, and leading data analytics initiatives.

Access and Equity 

How to provide universal and inclusive access to institutional services, resources, and opportunities for all students, regardless of location, background, or circumstances. 

Equity and Access was a pressing issue at the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference 2023. The pandemic has exposed the diverse and urgent needs of students, as well as the gaps in the current institutional services

“If you’re going to center yourselves in equity and if equitable outcomes are the metric you’re going to focus on, then data and technology systems are the drivers that get you there.”

2024 EDUCAUSE Top 10, #2: Driving to Better Decisions

To address these higher education trends, institutions need to adopt an equity-centered approach, where data and technology systems are the key drivers for achieving equitable outcomes. This requires institutional agility, effective governance and leadership, and investment in the right data-driven systems. By providing universal access to institutional services, institutions can ensure that all students have an opportunity to succeed. 

Resilience and Agility

How to adapt to changing conditions, challenges, and opportunities in the higher education landscape, while maintaining quality and continuity of IT services and talent.

Is it clear the higher education sector is facing unprecedented changes and uncertainties. According to this year’s EDUCAUSE Top 10, achieving institutional resilience is crucial. Higher education leaders must learn how to adapt more rapidly to change, opportunities, and crises. Key to this process is embracing the trends above. Embracing data and analytics, reducing cost and managing risk and prioritizing access and equity is they way to achieving institutional resilience.

Institutional-Resilience as Higher Education Trends

The EDUCAUSE Top 10 list for 2024 outlines the requirements for Institutional Resilience in Higher Education


Both the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference 2023 and this year’s EDUCAUSE Top 10 list, highlight the challenges that higher education institutions are currently facing. Higher education trends such as data and analytics are essential tools for improving student outcomes, enhancing learning experiences, and informing strategic decisions. Additionally, cost and risk are intertwined factors that require careful management, especially in the face of cyber threats, budget constraints, and regulatory compliance.  

Trends highlighted during the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference 2023 such as access and equity are core values that drive higher education’s mission to serve diverse populations, and to foster inclusion and belonging. Resilience and agility are key competencies that enable higher education institutions to adapt and innovate in response to emerging trends. By addressing these issues, higher education can continue to advance its goals of excellence, impact, and transformation.