Driving Revenue and Enrollment Growth During Uncertainty
COVID has proven that uncertainty is the new normal, but despite the obstacles that uncertainty presents, there are still opportunities for growing revenue and enrollment in higher ed.
According to a recent survey by Modern Campus, many respondents working in higher ed remain passionate in their pursuit of business outcomes.
One third of survey respondents identified revenue growth as their primary business goal. About 35% of respondents identified enrollment growth as a primary business goal.
A combined 68% of leaders then focus on one thing: growth.
A Paradigm Shift
This signals an exciting time for higher education institutions. Our industry is undergoing a paradigm shift. With demographics changing, an increasing number of colleges and universities are looking for new revenue streams.
It also means that the competencies of continuing education (CE) leaders need to evolve. After all, this is a competitive market with higher expectations and more competition from for-profit training and professional development companies than ever before.
“Extended education has long placed a premium on administrators who understand how to generate a surplus,” wrote John Ebersole, the late former President of Excelsior College. “These will need to be joined in the future by those with expertise reading industry trends [needs], assembling relevant programs [content] and making potential audiences aware of offering existence [marketing].”
In this era of growth, there are more possibilities for a wider array of learners to gain access to the academy.
“Having served lifetime learners for decades, professional, continuing and online education units are ideally poised to steer their universities through uncharted waters and take the lead in shaping the future of higher education,” said Georgia Tech’s Nelson Baker.
A Path for Growth
The survey showed that leaders of non-traditional divisions are optimistic. There are new markets to serve and opportunities to grow enrollments and revenues.
Regardless of institutional type, respondents agreed on the greatest opportunities for growth. But they differed in how they weighed each area of opportunity.
Finding pathways to support learners' employment outcomes remains a priority for all leaders. This focus on programmatic relevance is central to the DNA of non-traditional programs. Students expect a pathway from learning to a job, and they want education and training that will lead to higher wages and in-demand jobs.
Stackable credentialing, appearing third on the list, is another reason for excitement. It suggests a need to rethink credentialing to ensure we’re serving learners' needs.
Stackable credentials allow learners to combine micro-credentials together into a robust, “macro-credential” learning record. Ideally, this paves the way for partnerships between institutions, with students studying at different institutions and in different curriculums for a macro-credentialed degree that plays on the unique strengths of the different schools, but also enhances the students’ marketability.
Higher ed was already undergoing transformation. But now, with the new normal shaped by COVID-19, it’s more pressing than ever for schools to find and capitalize on new revenue streams.
Last updated: February 5, 2021