FAST LoginSKORE Login

Future Thinking in Higher Education (Part 1) - Monday Musings

By Kathy Kurz on Mar 12, 2012

Are you monitoring online trends that might signal significant changes for your institution?

Tags: administrative, enrollment strategies


In a recent article for AACRAO, Marguerite Dennis, former Vice President for Enrollment and International Programs at Suffolk University, talked about Anticipatory Enrollment Management — stressing the need for enrollment managers to monitor emerging trends that may signal significant change for their institutions and higher education in general. We believe she is absolutely right, and wanted to talk about five emerging game changers and the implications we see for enrollment managers. Today we’ll cover the first three. Be sure to come back tomorrow as we’ll cover the last two.

  1. Transparency: Increasingly colleges and universities are being required to provide more information to consumers about net costs; graduation rates; outcomes; etc. but even more important, students and families more and more are able to get the “inside scoop” on institutions through uncontrolled social media outlets. Consequently, enrollment managers need to stop thinking about how to “control” the messages and start thinking more about how to influence them.
  2. What will the future look like for enrollment managers?Credentialing: The establishment of MITX—under which MIT will offer a portfolio of free online courses and then charge a modest fee for credentialing the successful master of the content—is the latest, and most notable, addition to the credentialing trend. (Even NASFAA has jumped on the bandwagon, now offering credentialing for financial aid administrators.) Higher education institutions need to begin to think now about what their worlds will be like if employers begin to accept a portfolio of credentials in lieu of a college degree. This game changer could mean that students still thinking about attending traditional colleges are looking far more for socialization than education. In the extreme, “enrollment management” may be more about facilitating a student’s entrance to a network of educational opportunities than admitting students to a college.
  3. Virtualization: Technology has already changed the way we work, learn, and play together. “In-person” has given way to “online”. And yet, as a society, we still seek both individual recognition and a community (e.g., Facebook). Enrollment managers, therefore, need to become increasingly creative about building relationships with prospective students through new media and methods. Similarly, educators will need to become increasingly facile at building “virtual” learning communities to supplement (or even eventually supplant) the in-classroom experience.

What do you think about the first three trends we have listed here? Read part two here.

Image © iStockphoto.


Kathy KurzAbout the author: Vice President Kathy Kurz's special area of expertise is in developing strategic financial aid and retention programs, designed to enhance enrollment and net tuition revenue results. A former Associate Vice President at the University of Rochester and Director of Financial Aid at Earlham College, she pays special attention to ensuring that the solutions recommended are practical, detailed, and implementable.

Kathy contributes regularly to University Business, authored a chapter entitled The Changing Role of Financial Aid and Enrollment Management in New Directions for Student Services, a Jossey-Bass publication, and speaks at national conferences and seminars such as NACUBO, Academic Impressions, and CIC.

Connect with Kathy on LinkedIn.


Comments (2)

  1. Rachel Haber

    Rachel Haber
    Mar 13, 2012 at 07:44 AM

    These are great points. Last year I attended the University Continuing and Professional Education Association (UPCEA) annual marketing seminar, including a pre-conference event led by Google. One of the key take-aways for me was that prospective students are more digitally savvy than ever. They made the point that search is the new guidance counselor with students using Google to discover and research schools, as well as evaluate them as a match. This means Enrollment Managers need to be even more aware of the the information presented on their website(s) and how prospective students interact with their sites. You only have one chance to make a first impression, right?

  2. Kathy Kurz

    Kathy Kurz
    Mar 13, 2012 at 09:18 AM

    Rachel, you are right on the money. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.






Allowed tags: <strong><em><br>Add a new comment: