Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | February 15th, 2024

Strategies to Increase Enrollment Amid Rising Higher Education Skepticism

Increase Enrollment Amid Rising Higher Education SkepticismIt’s no secret that higher education institutions face growing skepticism from the public for many reasons these days. High tuition costs, questions about return on investment, demographic shifts, and the rising popularity of trade schools, certificates, and other alternatives are just some of the reasons why higher education institutions are seeing shifts in enrollment. So, how do you increase enrollment amid rising higher education skepticism?

The good news is this enrollment trend isn’t necessarily set in stone. By prioritizing certain changes and honing your messaging and marketing the right way, your institution can boost enrollment. Here are some ideas on how to do just that.

Focus on value to address skepticism

When crafting your messaging and marketing materials, focus on the value your school brings to your students to address rising higher education skepticism and boost enrollment.

Yes, it may seem like a costly investment upfront, but the lifetime earnings and educational value of a degree are well worth it, making it well worth their time and money. By stressing this, you can help students overcome the “sticker shock” that tuition often brings and shift their thinking to their long-term success.

Change with the times to increase enrollment

Things are changing quickly in the world of higher education – and institutions need to adapt or be left behind.

While the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is the root cause for many of the changes today, some were in motion before that time and were accelerated by the pandemic. Nowadays, schools need to change with the times and embrace the new world of higher education. How so? That means investing more in online and hybrid learning, focusing on your unique selling points and mission, reaching out to new segments of the student population, and prioritizing digital marketing and advertising.

With these changes, you can better position your institution to increase enrollment amid rising higher education skepticism.

Prioritize digital transformation

Similarly, schools need to prioritize digital transformation to stay competitive and attract new students.

By investing in priorities like online classes, social media marketing, video marketing, and mobile-friendly websites optimized for search engines like Google, schools can stay ahead of the technology curve. This, in turn, can help them reach new enrollees more easily and expand their pool of potential students.

Personalize your marketing

Personalized marketing is crucial for reaching target audiences nowadays.

Long gone are the days when sending out mass emails and direct mail without any rhyme or reason worked. Instead, higher education institutions need to focus on taking a more personal and humanized approach to their marketing. This can be as simple as addressing emails and newsletters to individual prospects specifically, while it also means creating engaging content about student and alumni success stories that can be shared on social media, blogs, and the like. By focusing on personalization, students can better imagine themselves at your institution – boosting enrollment over the long term.

Take another look at underserved student populations

Finally, don’t forget to tap into some of the overlooked and underserved student populations.

Focusing your marketing and outreach efforts on these populations can pay dividends. A few segments to keep in mind include students from rural areas, non-native English speakers, and people who graduated from college years back but are looking for a career change or upskilling. By focusing on populations like these, you can expand your pool of prospective students and potentially boost enrollment.

Implement an enrollment turnaround today

Times are tough for higher education institutions, but embracing change and adapting to new challenges can ease or even reverse the ongoing “enrollment cliff” that many schools will ultimately feel the pinch of. With some changes to your thinking, you can better position your institution for long-term success – even in these challenging times.