Challenges and Trends in Higher Ed… What to Keep Your Eye On

To show college students on campus

Every business has its challenges, and higher education is no exception. This has become especially true for “traditional” institutions of higher ed. In fact, over the past few years, maintaining, and expanding enrollment at four-year institutions has become the challenge..

Since at least 2010, the “industry” overall has experienced a dramatic drop in four-year enrollments. And, unfortunately, this trend shows little sign of changing.

But just because prospective students have begun looking at alternatives to the traditional four-year college experience, it doesn’t mean your institution can’t succeed.

See, even in this environment, if you utilize the proper marketing channels, methodologies and messaging, your school could buck the trend and prosper.

Conversion Media Group, a nationwide leader in generating high quality, high intent leads for higher education, has our finger on the pulse of prospective students… we talk with thousands of them every week.

We also listen very carefully to the needs and desires of our clients (traditional four-year colleges, online-only colleges, trade schools, vocational schools, tech academies and career-based licensing schools, among others) … and we’ve developed enrollment solutions for each one of them.

Enrollment solutions that work.

Now, before we discuss our top enrollment solution, the solution that has the potential to flood your enrollment department with new student leads, let’s discuss some of the challenges and trends in higher ed that you should keep your eye on.

According to a recent report from CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP, a wealth, tax advisory and business consulting firm, there are a number of trends that are challenging traditional higher ed.[1]

And, as a professional in this “business” you know them all too well. Here are five…

  • Constrained operating revenue growth: Declining enrollments means less tuition/operating revenue. To combat this, you must either cut spending, increase tuition, or increase enrollments.
  • Inflation is outpacing revenue growth: Even if your institution is growing its revenue, unless that revenue growth is outpacing the rate of inflation, your “real” revenue is actually dropping.
  • Labor shortages and faculty challenges: The demand for labor has caused a dramatic increase in salaries across the board, once again straining budgets. Finding and retaining talented staff is a major issue as well.
  • The economy: with so much uncertainty in the economy, budgeting and operational decision making have become quite challenging. Even the best forecasting models become “fuzzy” at best when the future is uncertain.
  • Tuition: Perhaps the single biggest factor in the downtrend in enrollment, tuition and fees have put incredible strain on students. As a result, many have chosen an alternative pathway, believing college is too expensive.

Now, as we said earlier, every business faces challenges. However, you can overcome many of the challenges above with one fix… increase your enrollments.

Of course, you know this. And if it were that easy to increase enrollments, the industry as a whole wouldn’t be in the condition it’s in right now, and your school would be thriving, perhaps even turning away students.

However, as difficult as it may be, there is a great way to help increase enrollments at your institution. It’s a solution you may have never tried.

And this solution, our top solution, can work for any institution of higher education, four-year colleges, online schools, trade schools or otherwise. It’s not an easy solution, but it’s one we at CMG excel at.

Here it is in a nutshell: As discussed earlier, Conversion Media Group in is continual contact with thousands of prospective students every week. These prospective students, highly qualified, high intent leads, can be handed off directly to your enrollment department.

There are a bunch of ways we can do it…

But the number one way to do it, and our clients can attest to this, is by transferring our live telephone calls with them, directly to you, while they’re still on the phone.

You see, beyond our digital marketing capabilities, Conversion Media Group is the owner and operator of US-based contact centers. And during a regular workday, our agents talk to a truly impressive number of prospective students on the phone.

These are real prospects with real educational goals. And we have real conversations with them.

Once they show a genuine interest in your institution or its programs, we can transfer them directly to your enrollment department, live.

This is called a live transfer.

With live transfers, we could potentially increase your enrollments by 50, 100, 1,000 new students or more. It all depends on how many new enrollments you’re looking for, or how many calls your enrollment department can handle.

You see, while there are challenges in higher-ed, addressing your challenges is what we do…

And enrollment initiatives are our bread and butter.

So, If you’re interested in learning more about how Conversion Media Group can drive qualified education leads, applications, and enrollments to your institution – call one of our education specialists today at: (+1) 800 419 3201.

Or you can contact us HERE, and an enrollment expert will get back with you as soon as possible.

[1] Trends in Higher Education and 2024 Outlook : 2023 : Articles : Resources : CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen) (

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