Most schools are shifting their focus from the shrinking pool of traditional high school students toward the growing, adult-learner population. Where do you find these students? What is important to them? Are they looking for competency-based programs or adaptive learning technology? Is your organization the first to identify a new niche market that emerges from government grants and funding? Which programs will be the most in demand as you plan for 2017 and beyond? New to higher education, are nanodegrees, or specific classes geared toward creating select, higher value-added skills. Colleges that offer nanodegrees geared toward developing high-demand skills or termed “up-skilling” will gain a competitive advantage over other institutions still offering traditional degrees. On the MBA front, many schools are growing their enrollment by innovating through program expansion and customizability. One recent example, a private, non-profit traditional, all female-based campus opened their MBA program up to their male counterparts and saw a quick uptick in enrollment results. Let’s face it, an online MBA is a must for all four-year institutions. How will you differentiate yours from the rest?
It is not enough to spend advertising dollars on the upfront enrollment if the student simply leaves out the back door. Does your organization know why students leave? Are there issues with online orientation or heavy faculty turn-over? Schools are now instituting a roadmap to success and a personal coach to guide the student to program completion, but is this the right solution for your organization? Retention starts with one student at a time!
Government Funding/Tuition/Pricing Models
Expect a shift in government funding from four-year institutions to community colleges. Subsequently, new partnerships will emerge between the two as four-year colleges need to make up for low freshman and sophomore enrollment. Do you have a plan in place to mitigate this flux in the revenue stream? It may be time to change your pricing model. Colleges are seeking alternative pricing arranging that keep costs low but still preserves the expected focus on the holistic development of students. Variations in pricing models over the next few years is inevitable.
Traditional Marketing to Digital Marketing Strategy
Although traditional marketing is still effective with certain target markets, digital marketing has had a profound effect on the 21st century economy. Online, for-profit colleges seem to be leading the way in these efforts as they have dedicated resources to ensure marketing dollars yield a solid return-on-investment. The goal is to ensure the digital strategy is aligned with organizational goals. If your institution is not quite there yet, we can get you there!