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Recruiting Intelligence

Who will educate future college students ,where and how? (Part II)

This is part II of the Ambient Insights, we are going to focus on the expected shifts in the higher education student population in terms of type of institution and learning channels. The presented data is based on Ambient Insight's report 2012 Learning Technology Research Taxonomy, updated in August 2012.

Abient Insights predicts that attendance in all higher-education channels is going to decline by 1.4 percent in the next five years, with public universities experiencing a decline of 4.1 percent and non-profit universities taken a bigger hit of 9.6 %. Although on the smallest base with 2.7 million students, for-profit are expected to increase attendance by 33 percent. We find this aggressive growth projection optimistic given the current enrollment declines in for-profit colleges based on adjusted enrollment marketing and a more stringent regulatory environment.

Even more interesting are predicted shifts in the changes of teaching channels. Class room only education will experience a dramatic decline (22 % annually) and only $3 million of a total of 26.8 million higher ed students are expected to take classroom only courses. 19 million are expected to participated in hybrid teaching including both class room and online teaching. 15 percent of students, a total of 4.1m million are expected to take online only courses, as opposed to 5.7 percent of all highered students today.

The implication is that all higher education institutions will have to be prepared to deliver high quality and robust online education offers. It will not be a competitive differentiator, but a standard. Hybrid and online classes only will continue to shift the competitive dynamic of enrollment marketing. Campus environments and diverse student bodies will be less critical to attract students as opposed to other factors such as online customer service and possibly post-graduation career services. Colleges and universities will also have to focus on development of an alumni relationship given the looser connection of online students with their alma mater.

The trends point strongly to extensive investment needs of universities in their digital teaching channels. We predict that marketing will emphasize digital marketing channels for the hybrid and online student enrollment marketing.

Graph 1

Source: Ambient Insight. Extrapolated from US Department of Education's National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) – 12 month unduplicated headcount in Title IV in millions

Table 1

Topics: Insights