- Enrollment concerns continue to dog higher education officials
- The nontraditional student landscape is evolving
- See related article: 8 in 10 colleges will use AI in admissions by 2024
- For more news on enrollment, visit eCN’s Campus Leadership page
Higher education continues to face challenges at nearly every level as enrollment remains precarious, according to the 2023 Higher Ed Landscape Report from enrollment management agency EducationDynamics.
This is due to external disruptions, technological advancements and shifting government policies which continue to influence the industry, while the role of AI continued its meteoric rise in reshaping job opportunities and skills demanded by the workforce.
In addition to the external forces reshaping higher education, the report offers three important factors that continue to impact enrollment:
Faith in higher education continues to drop: Faith in higher education has reached an all-time low, with only 36 percent of Americans expressing a “Great Deal” or “Quite a Lot” of confidence in higher education. Institutions must now persuade students that pursuing higher education overall is a worthwhile endeavor before convincing them that their specific school or program is the right choice.
The “Some College, No Credential” (SCNC) audience continues to grow: While the SCNC demographic is a known entity to higher education, the report details how the number of Americans classified as “Some College, No Credential” continues to grow. With more than 45 million Americans identifying as SCNC, many believe re-engaging this audience is a ripe opportunity for schools looking to maintain or boost enrollment. But, the wide range of factors that led to their stopping out means that attracting this audience will require a more personalized and compassionate approach to outreach.
Non-traditional students are younger: Younger, digital natives now identify as “non-traditional” learners, preferring hybrid, online, and flexible modalities. The combination of convenience, the rising cost of education and a robust employment environment are expected to drive more students to pursue higher education through less traditional paths.
Released each October, the “2023 Higher Ed Landscape Report” is the first report of the academic year, followed by the “Marketing and Enrollment Management” report in January, an “Online College Students” report in February, and June’s “eLearning Index.”
The report delves into the evolving dynamics between higher education, the changing labor market and prospective students. It compiles information from publicly available data sources, including the National Student Clearinghouse and the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), to create a holistic analysis of the challenges facing higher education. This year, the industry continues to face challenges at almost every level, and enrollment remains below pre-2020 levels.
“Our ‘2023 Higher Ed Landscape Report’ not only details the evolving nature of education in America, but also provides institutional leadership with insight into the priorities of their largest stakeholders: prospective students,” said EducationDynamics CEO Bruce Douglas. “We remain committed to helping higher education navigate these challenges and communicate the value of education to their communities.”
Data for the “2023 Higher Ed Landscape Report” was sourced from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Center for Education Statistics, and Gallup polling. The report is available for free download on the EducationDynamics website.
- Too many students feel neutral or negative about their institutions - December 6, 2023
- Students say their biggest obstacle is being unprepared for courses - November 30, 2023
- New report reveals persistent gender disparities in college, career readiness - November 28, 2023