3 Ways to Combat Drop in Enrollments

In the US, many colleges and universities have experienced a drop in domestic enrollments. So if this is happening to your institute right now, it’s not your fault – it’s almost a country-wide problem (except in 7 states as mentioned in Forbes).

According to Forbes, that’s because domestic students are finding higher education expensive and not worth the student debt.

After speaking to multiple enrollment management teams, we found that these are the most common ways of increasing enrollments:

  1. offering online programs
  2. provide hybrid programs
  3. recruiting international students

Online is most scalable and can be offered at a much lower cost than face-to-face programs.

Hybrid offers some kind of campus experience but reduces the expenses for the faculty and college/university thus dropping the cost of the programs though higher than online.

Both of these methods have been said to increase domestic enrollments since it reduces the costs.

On the other hand, many education providers have started to recruit international students, who still have a high intention to have an overseas degree to help them have a better career, whether back home or internationally. They still highly value an overseas degree and are willing to pay more than double the tuition fees as domestic students. In some countries, they would even pool together the money of their whole family or village just to get an overseas degree – that’s how much they value it.

When combining this strategy with offering online/hybrid programs, this allows for programs that are lower cost, more scalable, increase in total enrollments, and thus more revenues. There’s also less concern about student diversity.

However, to execute this strategy, there are a few things to be aware of:

  • When working with agents, some will not be willing to promote online programs, as the commission fees are lower.
  • Some students will always prefer in-person programs. Which countries are most interested in what type of online/hybrid programs?
  • Which countries are the low-hanging fruits that should be targeted first?
  • What kind of messaging should you use when promoting to these different countries?

When this is done wrong, what you’ll find is you’ve promoted the wrong program to the wrong country, wasting further time and money.

The fastest and most secure way to do this is by in-depth research and rapid testing. Target a few countries at the same time, then quickly see the response of the students and parents. In between, they would give feedback about your program, and the adjustments that are needed. Then continue to see which countries have a strong preference towards your programs and target them first.

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