This just in: undergraduate enrollment at the George Washington University fell nearly 25 percent this year based on preliminary estimates. That decline includes more than 600 upperclass undergrads and more than 900 international students. A budget impact of ~$76 million.
This is only the start of the pandemic impact figures from institutions set to roll in over the next few weeks.
But there's no time to wait around for the bad news. It's time to work with the data we have now.
Fortunately, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center has preserved a crucial record of the last few months that provide a wealth of indicators of what is to come: summer 2020 enrollment numbers.
Today’s post is the first in a three-part, data-focused series in which we’ll be diving into the latest enrollment trends and early indicators of COVID-19’s impact — plus what these findings mean for your marketing, of course.
The web has been rife with clickbait headlines and data from student sentiment surveys since the early spring, each claiming to predict COVID-era student decision-making in the fall and beyond. Despite our love for data around here, you might have noticed that we haven’t given these surveys much attention on this blog.
Think: when was the last time you accurately predicted your own thoughts and behavior six months in advance? What about the last time you predicted anything in the evolving economic, health, and employment conditions of the COVID-19 reality?
Chances are, many students don’t even know what they want for tonight’s dinner, much less what decisions they’ll be making in the months ahead. And any of those surveys regarding their stated future COVID-era educational plans from six months ago? Well, we hope you took them with a grain of salt.
So much of the planning we see being done by individuals and institutions is based on hoping that things will improve in 2 weeks, 2 months, 6 months. Hope is SO important to developing vision and inspiring the team, but when it gets down to academic and business planning to execute on the strategic vision, stability is what feeds accurate predictions. We are sorely lacking in stability these days, making predictions far less reliable.
We look for data that can support the work – data that is not based on point in time records of hopeful sentiments.
In the National Student Clearinghouse’s newly released report, which includes data from 7 million students enrolled in May-July summer sessions across 2,300 colleges, we have our first look at concrete, behavioral insights on the enrollment effects of COVID-19 across various degree levels, institution types, and demographic groups. This is the type of data that gets our marketing gears turning.
Read on for these early enrollment signals and a few hints at what’s to come.Read More