Become a Leader in the Transformation of Higher Education

Disruptive forces are sweeping the educational landscape. Fast-growing universities are smartly leveraging modern technology to create an operational ecosystem designed to build strong relationships required to grow at scale. Are you a leader in Higher Education or slowly being left behind?

Disruptive forces are sweeping the educational landscape. Fast-growing universities smartly leverage modern technology to create operational ecosystems designed to build the strong relationships required to grow at scale. Are you ready to become the leader of innovation at your institution?

The growth of large, fast-growing institutions may signal a change in traditional and non-traditional consumer behavior. This  shift brings about the need for new methods to grow enrollments in higher education programs or extended education practices.

Transformation is scary: no one likes change, and this one in particular requires reevaluation of the old ways of doing things. The complex and bureaucratic nature of meeting your institution’s needs is shaken up in unprecedented ways.

Educational leaders must seek to increase their status and become acknowledged experts in higher education transformation. Students now seek the most innovative institutions to meet their needs; if you’re not keeping up, you’re going to be left behind.

As you explore this transition, it’s critical to discern how this new era will unfold and how you can leverage this information to grow your programs. One way to discern is to follow what other fast-growing universities are doing and understand how they’re leveraging advanced technological ecosystems to make it happen.
We’d like to share some of the secrets used by fast growing institutions. What do fast growing institutions, who are rapidly gaining market share, know that you don’t?

You can use these secrets to grow enrollments in your program, institution, or extended education practice.

Innovate or Slowly Lose Market Share

While participating on a Clayton Christensen Institute panel, SNHU's President Dr. Paul LeBlanc highlighted the need to transform higher education. However, he leaves out several growth secrets. To be direct, the challenge to grow at scale represents a significant investment in an expensive, complex operational and technical learning ecosystem.

Watch this video and consider the resources required to employ 70 IT personnel dedicated to analytics. Clayton Christensen Institute Panel Discussion Part 6

As Dr. LeBlanc points out, technology enables efficient access to high quality education at scale.

Strut created a complete, turnkey educational ecosystem that enables any institution to deploy the same SNHU ecosystem at a 1/10000 the cost.

Clearly, unlike other large institutions in the past that scaled past their ability to effectively manage quality, Dr. LeBlanc and select other visionary leaders have invested in the technology ecosystems required to manage quality, relationships, and student learning outcomes at scale.

We can infer by the success of universities like SNHU, WGU, Brandman, and UMUC that there’s a generational shift in consumer behavior. 135,000 plus students have decided to attend SNHU and 90,000 plus at WGU.  But traditional colleges and universities, even those considered most competitive are moving forward online.

EducationDive a leading industry publication that provides original analysis on the latest happenings in the education industry has recently noted all of the following.

  • Reported in an article that the University of Illinois System flagship plans to drop residential MBA amid shift to online
  • Noted that “A major vote of confidence in online business education came in January, when Harvard University rebranded its online education platform from HBX to the Harvard Business School Online.”
  • Described how the University of California, Davis Graduate School of Management announced earlier this month that it is launching an online-only MBA with online program manager 2U. Curriculum will be similar to the on-campus version, as will tuition, which The Sacramento Bee reported will be about $104,400.”
  • Reported that “The University of Miami Business School is also looking at specialization to differentiate its offerings. Its dean, John Quelch, told Education Dive in February that its one-year specialized master's programs in areas such as business analytics, finance and sustainable business are increasingly popular.”
  • EducationDive also cited several states making big moves in online education:
  • California Community College system is opening a new fully online campus
  • The University of Massachusetts System announced earlier this year it will launch an online-only college for working adults in an effort to stave off enrollment declines in New England.
  • The State University of New York (SUNY) System last year put out a request for information to grow its online footprint within and beyond New York.  

The New Kid on the Block: The “Mega University”

The dominant non-traditional demographic gravitates towards flexible, digital, accessible programs with delivery modalities specifically tailored to their taste. The large, fast-growing “Mega” university pack is thus growing. Although this puzzles many, there’s a good reason why it’s happening – there’s a generation shift underway.

Generation X, Z, and millennials make up the lion's share of the market. Their tastes for debt and selective prestige have radically changed. We’re not talking about elites here, where success is defined by where you went to school. With that said, initially resistant even top tier selective have begun to move into the online as reported by EducationDive reported, University of Illinois System flagship to drop residential.

Certainly tiers below that are the mass consumer of education. Traditional and non-traditional institutions are in a position where they must ask hard questions about the value of the education product vs. job prospects opened by select alumni status. The problem is the math isn’t favorable to expensive colleges.

Economic Factors Disrupting Education

Every year, The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) releases a report that shows tuition discounting trends. Tuition prices tend to rise every year, due to Title IV and other factors. This only serves to feed the negative enrollment loop. NACUBO points out, at the end of the day, net tuition revenue is declining or stagnant. This is really the point of concern.

Not a day goes by when Inside Higher Education or the Chronicle of Higher Education doesn’t include a story about enrollment challenges, along with Merger and Acquisition activity. We’ve heard the constant drumbeat from the press and blogosphere around enrollment declines, but do we truly understand the forces acting to change the marketspace and consumer behavior. How can you stay relevant and innovative among a financially competitive landscape?

Employer and Social Relationships Can Increase Market Value

Major players and up-and-comers like WGU, UMUC, Brandman, and SNHU have the most growth potential. Why? They have B2B and select OPM partnerships. As an example, Brandman’s addressable market has significantly expanded through their GUILD and other "self-directed" B2B partnerships. A key to their success WGU, SNHU, Brandman, and UMUC all aggressively pursue similar B2B partnerships. These universities are tailoring course and delivery modalities specifically to the changing taste of the dominant non-traditional demographic.

Another common thread among Millennials and Gen X are that they’re socially networked like never before. They work with their trusted networks to confirm perspectives and perceptions of reality. Social referrals are thus increasingly important to growth.

Because they focus on technology that enables high-touch student services that foster positive student relationships, roughly 33 percent of all new WGU and SNHU students come from student referrals. An unknown number come from social networks where WGU students act as informal influences. This is an important change that most institutions haven't connected to their decreasing enrollments.

After all, it goes under the radar in most cases. With that said, it's not as simple as you'd think to turn this around. Recall, that operational and technical ecosystem? Well, that's why it's a requirement.

In Conclusion

Today’s students are different. The changing tastes of the dominant, non-traditional demographic increases the need for institutions to invest in technology and programs that streamline and manage systems. You can do it yourself or enlist an online program management solution to do it for you.

Strut Learning can bring you closer to the Mega Model – we’ve manifested everything you need to excel and put it in a box. Strut enables educators to innovate by creating high quality, affordable, and ground-breaking technology and courseware solutions that enable our clients to transform and thrive. Leveraging an opportunity like this will lead to increased student satisfaction and quality educational outcomes that accelerate enrollment growth.

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