Public Universities Lead Growth in Distance Learning Enrollment. Now, Getting Students to Stay the Course.

Posted by Marty McGough on Jan 16, 2018 6:52:27 PM

Recently I discussed distance education with a friend who works in institutional research at a small private college. She boasted about being right in her prediction that enrollment in distance education courses would drop, citing the fact that the University of Phoenix has lost near 100,000 in enrollment the last few years.

My friend is mistaken. Enrollment in distance learning is growing, particularly at public universities. Yes, my friend is right about University of Phoenix, where the lost enrollment figure is 93,343 (from 2012-2015), according to National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) statistics profiled in the Digital Learning Compass: Distance Education Enrollment Report 2017. And other large, private, for-profit, distance learning schools also took a big hit, such as Ashford University: down 34,676 from 2012-2015. But this, of course, is hardly the big picture.


Topics: Education

7 Steps to Start a Brand Refresh

Posted by Marty McGough on Oct 4, 2017 5:04:00 PM

I’ve received quite a response from higher ed administrators about my recent posts and e-book, “How to Build a Powerful Higher Ed Brand Strategy (Without Starting Over)” about the brand refresh process. There was some great feedback, including several people who acknowledged that, though they know they need to consider a brand refresh, they are a little overwhelmed and want some guidance on how to begin. This post is for them.

Your institution likely has long-standing, hard-earned brand equity. A brand refresh starts with taking inventory of that equity and deeply understanding it before you do anything else.

So, let’s begin!


Topics: Education

The Excelsior Scholarship: "Putting Students First" Puts Private Colleges Last

Posted by Marty McGough on Sep 1, 2017 1:20:00 PM

Yet another trial has arisen in the business of higher education, and this one tests private colleges and institutions in particular. New York State recently announced its Excelsior Scholarship, which provides free tuition to families making less than $125,000 per year at the state’s 2-year and 4-year public colleges and universities. The initiative's motto is “Putting Students First.” It could also be “Putting Private Colleges Last.”

The Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities in New York seems to agree: This presents a major challenge to private colleges. The Commission's March report projects an enrollment increase of between 9% and 22% for public institutions under the plan, while the state’s private nonprofit colleges and universities would fall by between 7% and 15%. That’s a big switch, given unfavorable demographic trends in the state. Private colleges and universities in New York have limited options that include pricing and enrollment strategies. None of them are ideal:


Topics: Education

Could your institution use a brand refresh?

Posted by Marty McGough on Aug 1, 2017 4:22:00 PM

I speak with many people in the higher ed industry over the course of a day, and often the existential crisis the industry is experiencing comes up. Most think that the situation is going to get worse before it gets better–with little hope for a deus ex machina.

But the conversation never ends there.


Topics: Education

College campus food banks take on hidden hunger

Posted by Marty McGough on Jul 5, 2017 5:25:00 PM

Nearly half of college students are going hungry. It’s disheartening enough to write about barriers to student success like staggering student loan debt, but students not having enough to eat?

Our college campuses are facing a growing malnutrition epidemic referred to as "hidden hunger"–a micronutrient deficiency caused by living on cheap empty-calorie foods to feel full. As Karen Gerlach, vice president for student affairs at Trinity Washington University in DC, commented, “If you have only $10 a day, how do you keep within that budget and make sure you’re getting your nutritional needs met? Sometimes it is a choice between whether they buy a book for class, or they put food on the table.”


Topics: Education

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