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Recruiting Intelligence

New Revenue Sources: Your Success Depends on It

How does a university facing reduced enrollment find new sources of revenue? Let's get specific. 

There are a number of answers to this question. And they hinge a bit on how much time your institution has. Is this need for diversified sources urgent, as in, “Let’s get a new program out there this summer to increase fall enrollment”? Or do you have funds (endowment or reserves) to draw upon for the next year to weather the storm, allowing new revenue sources to be developed more slowly?

Either way, the response will require speed -- not a strong suit for academic institutions in general. And it requires a level of nimble creativity and well-coordinated collaboration. These are hard combinations to pull together. But mostly, it is the compressed length of time to bring a new idea to market that will likely be your biggest challenge.

With this post we are offering a range of ideas for new academic programs that you can offer to students across the country and around the world. For the most part, these are all programs that you can create from what you have on hand already. There’s a bit of repackaging and rebranding required. And an innovative delivery system. But it can all be done in the time you have available.

What’s the catch? Why haven’t you done this before? Well…

To succeed at this, you must have support from the those at the top and the ability to innovate. Easier said than done. But now your success depends on just that — getting it done. 

Want to find a way to fill the looming holes in your revenue streams? Our recommendations and tips follow.

This is not for the feint of heart. Buckle up and read on.

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Full On Armchair Student Recruiting Has Arrived

We're coining a new phrase here: COVID Caveat. As in, “Yes, I’ll join your Zoom meeting next Tuesday morning…COVID Caveat.”

There’s so much change that we are all facing right now. It's hard to predict what will happen this Tuesday, much less this fall. Still, there is a bunch of data out there that, taken together, makes a clear case for what this fall will look like for academia.

The information below is seriously valuable to your enrollment planning. And technology will play such a huge role. Thankfully, the tools are available to take your student recruiting entirely digital until everyone is traveling again and recruitment fairs are back in business -- Digital Student Orientation, anyone?

Look, China, 4 months into this thing, has yet to re-open any universities due to concerns about bringing people together from many places. If you want to travel (business or pleasure) between Shanghai and Beijing, you have a 14-day quarantine before you can move about the new city. As leaders, we need to be thinking about the near-term and much farther out. And we need data from many sources to make good decisions. 

Your students will not be showing up on campus this fall. Below we provide the data and thinking that justifies that radical thought. We are demonstrating the broad and deep industry insight that the Intead team brings to our clients every day, along with the ability to execute on the plans.

Our primary take away: putting all your classes online is simply not enough if you want to compete with all the options students will be considering this fall. How and what you use to attract, nurture and then deliver an education to your students online needs to improve, a lot, and fast.

From our point of view, when you boil it all down (and maybe spritz it with some bleach spray), these are your essential imperatives:

  1. Deliver on your education mission to your students, your community and the world, and
  2. Maintain a student enrollment base that allows you to continue to operate.

You're going to need to be versatile and act fast. The only way large organizations pull that off is by hiring smaller, nimble agencies. You know this, but you can ask your business professors for confirmation based on case studies.

Read on for how we think this all plays out in the near-term and longer-term and what we think you ought to be doing about it. Quickly.

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In Case of Emergency Break Glass

You all see the enrollment storm we are heading into, right?

Now is the ‘Break Glass’ moment. If you act smart, fast, and right now, your fall enrollment is still salvageable, sort of. And your class of 2021 can remain within reach.

So, that travel budget you won’t be spending on travel? It’s time to determine how you will re-allocate it to make the greatest impact. And yes, you will need ALL of it (and more) to try to make things work out for your institution.

Sound overly dire? If you are thinking that, we fear you have not played this out far enough. Two key points to consider:

  • China, 3 months ahead of the rest of the world on the whole COVID-19 thing, has yet to open any of its universities as of April 1.
  • Last week, the US recorded 3.3M new jobless claims, the largest one-week spike ever. By a factor of 6x. And if that weren't bad enough, the next weekly figure is projected to exceed last week's. By alot. 

Yes, you will need a strong marketing budget to withstand the storm ahead.

Our primary message right now: gather the team you trust around you. There are SO many offers from vendors (like us) seeking your limited budget dollars and offering to take your classes and faculty online and do so much more for you. Some institutions are making snap judgments they are going to regret in 3 to 6 months. Go with the team you know and trust to have deep industry experience and a nimble approach.

Why? Because the situation is going to continue to be fluid for quite a while. This is not a time to partner up with folks you are unsure of.

One more reality to consider: 

  • Assuming the world's visa process is turned back on for international travelers, are you going to allow international students to join you on campus this fall without a quarantine period? Will you make decisions based on where they are from? Wuhan? Seoul? But wait, what about an admitted student from Seattle or NYC? How will you communicate the safety of your campus environment to your students and their parents?

This situation will remain fluid for quite some time. Processes will need to adapt. Having nimble and trusted partners allows you to move forward with as much confidence as possible, knowing your team can adapt quickly and never questioning their motives. Our team truly has your best interests in mind.

The constant in the student journey

Students start their discovery process by asking a number of key questions. It starts with a, “What if?” exploration. There is a level of excitement for possibilities. It quickly turns to more concrete questions of:

  1. Do you have programs in my areas of interest? and
  2. Can I afford it?

The answers to these questions have ALL changed in just a few short weeks.

Our digital Town Hall meetings over the past few weeks have been invaluable sources of insight in navigating this unprecedented situation. The two resource and tip guides that accompanied them have been gobbled up. Fortunately, they are digital so we can make more of them instantly ; -)

You can access these valuable Resources and Tips PDFs, as well as recordings of both Town Hall meetings, at the end of this post. Read on. 

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Convene and Deliver the Plans

Hoping all of you are well and looking out at the horizon (physically and metaphorically).

Right now, there are so many angles to consider. From delivering on our education missions to providing safety to our student and our colleagues, there is just a lot to think about.

The participants at our first Town Hall last week asked for more. So we must deliver! A GREAT BIG SHOUT OUT to last week's amazing panelists – see photos above and list below.

And Now, "The New Abnormal" Town Hall #2: The Perish Economy

Let us help you demonstrate the survival and adaptation skills you are trying to instill in your students.

As of this month, we are living in a start now or perish economy.

Those institutions that move at their traditional pace will fall down, likely hard. Our next Town Hall will be this Thursday, March 26 from 10-11:30am Eastern Time.

Register Now

We will present this Town Hall in 3 sessions and our panel of experts will take your questions in this Ask Us Anything event:

  • 10-10:30am The Technology Platforms that matter and the features you need
  • 10:30-11am Recruiting and Admissions Processes that will deliver despite social distancing
  • 11-11:30am Digital Marketing Campaigns to attract and convert within a 25-mile radius or from 8,600 miles away.

All registrants will receive access to the full recording of Town Hall #1 held last week and all of the resources we shared with those who attended.

You know this about us: The Intead team has been evaluating edtech solutions and recruiting tools for the past 12 years. We’ve reported on student trend data (domestic and international) and provided free guidance on it all for the past decade, every week. We’ve launched recruitment campaigns targeting students around the corner and around the world.

We simply don’t stop thinking about this stuff. Read on for what we can do to help you move forward.

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The New Abnormal

Intead will hold a Town Hall on Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 8:30am Eastern Time. We have a panel of experts with a world of travel and student experience under their belts. Please join us.

What’s this all about?

Every 2 – 3 days our situation changes, globally, domestically. And it changes dramatically. This is the new abnormal.

As one of our wise Intead Advisory Board members shared recently, there is BEST PRACTICE and then there is ACTUAL PRACTICE. Let’s all be real about what we can do and the fact that we put our best foot forward every day with good intent. In the new abnormal, best practice is going to be relative.

And putting our best foot forward is what we are all about right now. This is no time to become mired in anxiety and wait to act. Decisions need to be made quickly and in the face of massive ambiguity.

With campuses across the country and around the world continuing to pursue their education mission in new ways, we all have important ideas to share and new realities to adjust to. What better way to move forward than getting together…virtually, of course!

Register Now

NOTE: A recording of the webinar will be shared with all who register, whether or not you attend.

This is a not to be missed event.

Joining our Intead Team as Panelists, we are honored to bring you:

  • Jessica Sandberg, Dean of International Enrollment at Duke Kunshan University
  • David Fleshler, JD, Vice Provost for International Affairs at Case Western Reserve University
  • Seamus Harreys, VP, Global Enrollment at CIEE
  • Angel Ahmed, CEO of GNET
  • Ashish Fernando, Founder of iSchoolConnect

Read on. 

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International Strategy in the Time of Coronavirus: Longer-Term Thinking

In the past two weeks, since we posted our near-term thinking about student recruiting, enrollment, and the impact of the Coronavirus, a lot has happened. The advice we gave for institutions continues to hold. And now it is time to share some of our longer-term thinking.

Many of our readers are responsible for international student recruitment, enrollment, and student services. Other readers are in leadership roles with broader student enrollment responsibilities.

Intead has long been advocating for a diversified approach to enrollment growth beyond a focus on just international students -- advice on diversified approaches to enrollment strategy follows. Keep reading, and hang on to your hat…

A given: the virus represents a significant threat to international travel and the economy. This past week the APAIE 2020 conference scheduled for late March in Vancouver was postponed to 2021. Other education industry conferences have been cancelled as well. Some 200,000 international flights have been canceled since the virus outbreak. Academic administrators in Australia are taking the brunt of all the travel restrictions and challenges right now. The rest of us will be feeling it acutely this summer and fall and beyond.

As we mentioned two weeks ago, challenges do arise and when they do, we don’t get frustrated, we get focused. This is an important mindset in any scenario and especially important when your industry is suffering a significant shock.

A few quick assessment questions:

  • Do you have leaders who welcome big picture thinking?
  • Can you execute on your strategic plans?
  • Can you calculate the cost of putting your ideas into practice?
  • Can you provide market data to support your projected results?

Hopefully you answered, “Yes” to the first question (if not, you might be in the wrong place), and you think your answers to the next 3 questions are also, “Yes” (perhaps with the caveat that you’ll need some help to do it).

With this in mind, let’s dive into our longer-term thinking prompted by the latest threat to your student enrollment and revenue projections. Read on. 

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Adjusting Your Chinese Recruiting: 10 Insights to Guide Your Plan

This is going to be a long post with some really valuable insights. We hope you’ll grab some coffee and take time to skim through. This is important to you and your bottom line. You’ll want to share this with specific colleagues with a few highlights based on where the priorities are at your institution…

A word to the wise: people often remember most how you behave in a crisis.

The world of international student recruitment faces consistent challenges. At times they are huge, recall 9/11, and other times they are as small as the annoying intermittent WiFi access at your student recruitment fair in Istanbul.

The past decade has seen a range of significant challenges to your recruitment marketing plans and those challenges have been due to largely unanticipated causes.

  • 2008 brought us the global financial crisis. How bad was it? For a brief period, banks were too afraid to lend to each other!
  • 2015 brought us a new level of anti-immigrant rhetoric out of the US as the 2016 election cycle ramped up.
  • Not long after that, the new White House administration delivered the travel ban (aka the Muslim ban) among other changes to visa approvals.
  • Now the immediate and unexpected challenge of the Coronavirus coupled with an extension of the travel ban to a spate of new countries including Nigeria.

To quote a good friend and colleague, Angel Ahmed, CEO of GNET, “When things get challenging, we don’t get frustrated, we get focused.”

So, what’s an enrollment professional to do when unexpected and significant challenges are disrupting your marketing plans and your results? You’ve probably already given these challenges a lot of your time and thinking, but we know a second (or third) set of eyes is always helpful. Read on for ten concrete recommendations to focus you, Intead style.

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