Future Thinking in Higher Education (Part 2)

By Kathy Kurz on Mar 13, 2012

What future trends do you think are game changers?

Tags: administrative, enrollment strategies

Yesterday we talked about three mega-trends that could be game changes for higher education and enrollment management: Transparency, credentialing, and virtualization. (You can read yesterday's blog post here.) Two other emerging trends that could rock our world are: 

  1. Are you keeping up with changing trends in enrollment management?Speed: Everything happens faster today. People expect immediate responses to their inquiries; new consumer products and services are introduced more rapidly; data for decision making is updated constantly; etc. Yet, in many higher education institutions, and even enrollment management areas, the pace has not “kept pace.” Here, non-profit institutions have a lot to learn from their for-profit counterparts, where inquiry responses are sent within the same hour; where curricula are updated continuously and new programs are started as soon as the market need emerges. I would recommend that enrollment managers at non-profit institutions do some “secret shopping” at places like DeVry or Strayer to compare their response times and communication processes to yours. And while you are at it, if you aren’t already doing “secret shopping” at your own institution, you ought to.
  2. Efficiency: Higher education consumers are becoming increasingly cost conscious at the same time that government support for higher education is shrinking. Per Moody’s recent Outlook for Higher Education, “Tuition levels are at a tipping point, and the cost of college will be a critical credit factor for universities to manage long term.” In other words, to get good credit ratings institutions will need to do a better job of managing their costs. So efficiency — in delivering educational value; in recruiting and retaining students; and in managing non-core services like dining, parking, etc. will be a mandate for success in the future. This isn’t about just lowering sticker price — S&K believes that for most students at institutions that are announcing price cuts the net price isn’t really changing. This is about truly making it less expensive to get a degree by managing spending more effectively and delivering services — including those related to enrollments – more efficiently. We will be talking about this last trend more in an upcoming Webinar co-sponsored by Scannell & Kurz and Stamats. To register for this webinar, go to:

We certainly have not covered all the emerging trends that will impact higher education. A few additional examples would include: the increasingly global economy (and subsequent vulnerabilities); growing attention to the environment (and sustainable energy sources); changing demographics; and increasing consumer demands regarding the likely career “return” on an investment in education.

What future trends do you think are game changers? We’d love to hear from you.

Image © iStockphoto.

Kathy KurzAbout the author: Kathy Kurz retired after 18 years as Vice President of Scannell & Kurz. Her area of expertise is developing strategic financial aid and retention programs designed to enhance enrollment and net tuition revenue results. She previously served as Associate Vice President at the University of Rochester and Director of Financial Aid at Earlham College.

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