The findings of the University Business (UB) Outlook on 2019: Access and Enrollment generally echoed the concerns among colleges nationwide. Namely, that enrollments are not scaling at a satisfactory rate, and that administrators and faculty are finding it necessary to do more with less resources at some higher education institutions. The 204 retention and enrollment administrators surveyed, including college administrators from admissions, marketing, financial aid and retention-related occupations, did anticipate modest gains and positive changes in a number of areas, including online learning, support services and enrollment and retention innovations.
While higher education respondents did anticipate modest gains in online enrollment, similar to those in overall student enrollment, there is also reason to feel positive about continued innovation in online learning. In a separate survey of campus CIOs, technology directors, AC/IT administrators and academic technology administrators, 40% anticipated significant new investments in online education. 52% of the general survey respondents are very concerned about meeting enrollment projections, so further innovations in online education can be a positive move for meeting those numbers.
New Approaches To Recruitment Are Anticipated As Higher Education Institutions Become More Proactive
30% of Outlook on 2019: Access and Enrollment respondents said that attracting enough applicants was a major concern, and they anticipated changes to their application and recruitment processes. Among those surveyed, 57% predicted enrollment-related partnerships with other higher education institutions or high schools, and 45% expected expanded academic program offerings to boost enrollment. More than a quarter of respondents also predicted changes to their application processes and new approaches to recruitment. Colleges and universities across the country are trying innovative recruitment strategies already, and 2019 will likely offer new and unique approaches to meet this challenge.
Encouraging Students To Stay In School May Include Increased Student Services
Of the separately surveyed presidents, chancellors and provosts, 77% indicated that retention services will be more of a priority than in prior years, and that includes an emphasis on services and support for students. Among these services, financial aid, campus visits and increased guidance on degree programs all garnered interest from respondents. Support services for first generation students, adult students and international students were also being deployed as retention tactics. However, enrollment for international students is an area without any predicted growth, and only 23% of respondents anticipated an increase in support for those students.
All in all, the Outlook on 2019: Access and Enrollment survey sends a message to marketers that continued optimization of recruitment techniques, which can calm fears about enrollment goals, is going to be fundamental to higher education institutions going forward, as will a flexible approach that remains open to innovations and improvements aligned with the latest data.
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About the AuthorMore Content by Sarah Cavill