The article below explains a few ways the higher education landscape is changing.
Ten Demographic Trends Offer Unprecedented Challenge―and Opportunity―for Colleges and Universities in 2010
EducationDynamics’ Market Research and Advisory Services identifies key growth areas
Hoboken, New Jersey (January 28, 2010)― Market Research and Advisory Services, a division of EducationDynamics led by Carol Aslanian, has identified ten demographic trends poised to change higher education market assumptions―and the way colleges and universities do business. According to Aslanian, “Our observation, market research, and student market analysis show that tomorrow’s students will have different expectations for their college experience, will expect a much greater level of flexibility and are likely to be working on their class project with a fellow student the same age as their mother or father.”
Like most changes, however, the coming trends offer opportunity. “For those schools both smart and nimble enough to respond, we see some major areas for competitive advantage based on our student market assessment,” notes Aslanian. The 10 key trends cited by Aslanian are:
1. Higher education is a growth market at both ends of the degree spectrum. The greatest enrollment growth (25 percent) will be among the 25 to 34-year-old cohort. Graduate-level and associate degrees will see exceptional growth: 20 percent and 25 percent, respectively. Opportunity: Continue to invest in the growth of associate or graduate programs while aligning them with student preferences in convenience, career-relevant programming and recruitment.
2. Employers have realized the value of ongoing training to their bottom line. They currently spend close to $130 billion annually on employee development. Opportunity: Build innovative, collaborative programs with organizations that focus on supporting their emerging business opportunities.
3. Men in both traditional and adult-education programs are under-represented. Women outnumber men in traditional U.S. undergraduate programs and among adult learners, according to Aslanian’s student market assessment. Opportunity: Find ways to provide the courses, learning environment and support services that will entice men of all ages into programs that can demonstrate rapid
4. Global demand for college study is growing significantly. No surprise, the increasingly competitive global economy is driving demand for higher education throughout the world, with the need for postsecondary education strongest in developing nations. Opportunity: Find ways to capitalize on best-practice online delivery tools and technologies, and smart, targeted marketing to tailor existing programs to country- and economy-specific education needs.
5. College students increasingly approach higher education as consumers. Comparison shoppers, they increasingly make college choices based on consumer-related issues and concerns: researching cost, convenience, quality, and job placement rates. Opportunity: Identify the strongest institutional value propositions and target prospective students for whom those are key decision-drivers.
6. Age has less and less impact on how students learn. Student market analysis indicates that more and more students of all ages find convenience the key factor in where, when and how to study, and want more options and career relevance in their studies. Opportunity: Meet the changing market demand with online, hybrid and accelerated course instruction.
7. An increasing number of traditional-age minority students are entering higher education. In 2020 and shortly thereafter, minority students will outnumber Caucasian students and one-third of high school graduates will be of Hispanic heritage. Research shows that these students have different needs and expectations. Opportunity: Provide a supportive college environment (including minority faculty), career coaching and flexible course schedules.
8. Enrollment in online high school courses is growing rapidly. In fact, it is growing faster than online college enrollments. The “online-experienced” new students will expect both the convenience and flexibility of online and hybrid courses as well as a high level of instructional quality when they enroll in college. Opportunity: Focus on innovation and excellence in online learning experiences by creating an environment that rewards faculty for bringing a high level of teaching creativity to their online courses.
9. Enrollment demand in the two-year public sector will exceed supply. Given state and local budget shortfalls, costs may increase as well. Unfortunately, unemployment and the recession make vocational, occupational and technical education especially critical. Opportunity: Find innovative ways to “increase capacity” for these community-based, employment-focused programs, thereby providing access to a large and growing population.
10. More older Americans, a rapidly increasing demographic, are considering college. Sixty million Americans today are 55 or older; by 2025, more than 100 million will be over 60. For many, retirement isn’t on their to-do list, but education is. Opportunity: Tailor programs to meet the needs of older adults, who will be looking for short-term education and training options with a clear career payoff.
“While we believe that the demographic trends identified by our student market analysis pose significant challenges to the higher education industry,” notes Aslanian, “knowing what to expect allows schools to start repositioning for opportunity now.”
EducationDynamics and Aslanian Group have joined forces to offer colleges and universities the best customized market demand research available to expand adult undergraduate, graduate, and online student enrollments for all types of institutions. EducationDynamics, a portfolio company of Halyard Capital, is higher education’s leading marketing services company dedicated to helping institutions find, enroll and retain students. Through its Market Research and Advisory Services division, the company brings a decade of proprietary research, unparalleled market and student intelligence, and best practice insights to its clients. Its content-rich and highly visible education websites, including EarnMyDegree.com, eLearners.com, GradSchools.com, StudyAbroad.com, and its more than 50 special interest microsites, make EducationDynamics the premier provider of qualified prospective students for colleges and universities. In addition, the company offers a full suite of Web-delivered services proven to drive enrollment growth and reduce student attrition. For more information, visit http://www.educationdynamics.com.