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Enrollment: The greatest concern for universities and colleges

We recently read an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education regarding KPMG’s annual survey of 120 senior executives (comprised mostly of chief financial officers, chief academic officers and controllers) at public and private institutions across the US.

The survey found that 85% of those surveyed were either very or somewhat concerned about maintaining enrolment levels at their institution.

Interestingly, this figure is 14 points higher than last year and 19 points higher than 2012. So, what do those surveyed contribute falling enrolment numbers to? Two- thirds of respondents attributed it to an inability to pay tuition while half felt it was due to competition from other institutions.

This survey also reflects the results of our higher education web survey published last month which found that 91% of IT & Marketing professionals working within Higher Education believed student recruitment to be the organizational goal with the most impact on defining the web strategy for their institution.

The results of these surveys brings to the fore the widespread dilemma that is facing universities and colleges at present. Student enrolment numbers are declining significantly due to lower numbers of high school graduates, reductions in state and federal funding and increased tuition costs.

One of the huge changes in higher education over the last number of years is an increase in competition (both domestic and foreign) for students. This isn’t going away; if anything it’s going to get worse. Much of this battle for students is played out online which is why you need to be sure your institution is ready to compete.

You mightn’t be able to do anything about declining student numbers or cuts to higher education funding but you can make sure that your online voice is being heard loud and clear above the roar of the competition.

If your school has struggled to fill seats for the year ahead, now’s the time to plan your online strategy for next year.

Take stock of your websites and social media accounts and be realistic about your downfalls.

This time next year, we could be saying; we told you so!

Tagged: Enrollment, Recruitment , Online

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