College Enrollment Is Long Past It’s Peak

To show college student

But Could the Big Mac Solution Help Turn it Around?

Colleges are in crisis. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, total U.S. enrollment topped out a decade ago with about 18.1 million students. Today, there are about 2.5 million fewer students in the system.[1] This, while U.S. Census data show our overall population has grown by 23 million during the same timeframe.[2]

Mathematically speaking, we should see more students enrolling, not fewer.

Clearly, unless the attitudes of prospective students change, and the marketing and opportunity efforts by institutions of higher education changes, we may already be well beyond the enrollment peak, no matter how much our population grows.

For some institutions there is, however, a very bright spot. It’s called the Big Mac solution, and Conversion Media Group, a national leader in higher education enrollment initiatives will explain it in a moment.


As of the third quarter of 2021, only 62% of high school seniors planned to enroll in college directly after graduation (it’s worse now). This is down from 68% in 2010.[3] The big question is why?

A large percentage of today’s high school grads (and adult learners as well) believe a traditional four-year college is simply too expensive, and having to take a liberal arts course load that does not involve direct career training may be a waste of time.

In fact, only 45% of students from either low-income households, or first-generation and minority backgrounds believe higher education is necessary to help them achieve career goals after high school.[4]

Moreover, a 2023 survey of current high school students showed that 75% of them believe a 2-year degree or technical education is what can lead to career success. Only 41% say a four-year-degree will lead to a good job.[5]

This is devastating news for the traditional college system, as it may indicate continued enrollment declines. But, by making a few pointed changes, things could eventually turn around.

Take the story of Michael Delligatti, for example. 

Back in the late 1950’s, Mr. Dellagatti was the owner of a McDonalds franchise in Pittsburg. Business was booming. It was booming until a sandwich shop opened up down the block that offered his main clientele (steel workers) a more appealing option.

A meal that was a better fit for their hunger. 

His clientele chose the better fit, and his franchise suffered.

But instead of continuing to rely on the marketing of small hamburgers and fries and hoping his clientele would come back, Mr. Dellagatti decided instead to give them what they wanted.

He went outside of corporate guidelines and invented a huge sandwich. One he believed would get his clientele back… 

He was right.

Customers returned, Dellagatti was able to open additional franchises, and the Big Mac became legend.

Why this anecdote? Well, it’s precisely what colleges should be doing. Instead of “hoping” for enrollments, they should be giving prospective students what they are looking for. And the data show many are looking for a career-based education.

It’s why technical schools and career colleges have been doing so well. They’ve already employed the Big Mac solution.

You see, by knowing what your prospective students really want, and giving it to them, perhaps every institution could boost enrollments, even four-year colleges.

It’s why, if you’re an institution of higher education (career school or otherwise), you should consider partnering with Conversion Media Group. Not only are we a leader in higher education enrollment initiatives, but we know what your prospective students want from an education.

Some want a four-year degree… 

Some adult learners want to earn a degree online…

Some are looking for trade schools…

And some want a career-based education.

How do we know this? How do we know who is who?

Well, we’re in constant personal contact with thousands of prospective students nearly every business day of the week. Our open dialogue with them means we know what they’re hungry for, and can direct each prospective student into areas of study (or particular institutions) that they are actually interested in. 

It’s our Big Mac solution. And it’s available to your institution.

Right now, CMG has the ability to deliver up to 2,000 highly qualified leads, directly to your enrollment representatives, every business day of the week.

Better, through the use of our US-based contact centers, we can also deliver up to 300 live transfer leads, to your enrollment reps… every business day.

But even better than that…

No matter what kind of institution you are, we could potentially deliver 2,000 leads, plus 300 live transfers, every single day of the work week! These are prospective students who are seriously interested in furthering their education.

Through the use of our US-based educational lead-focused contact centers (which we own and operate), our online education portal at School Match Pro, and our highly targeted digital marketing efforts, it’s simple…

CMG should be your preferred partner for all your enrollment initiatives. 

See how Conversion Media Group can drive qualified education leads, live transfers, applications, and enrollments to your institution by calling one of our education specialists today at: (+1) 800 419 3201.

Or you can contact us HERE, and an education enrollment expert will get back with you to share our incredible enrollment insights, as soon as possible.

Stop relying on “hope.” Instead, let CMG’s Big Mac solution fill your rolls!

[1] COE – Undergraduate Enrollment (

[2] Historical Population Change Data (1910-2020) (

[3] Fast Facts: Immediate transition to college (51)

[4] White Paper: Insights from Underserved Student Populations | Question The Quo

[5] New Research Shows Teens are Re-Thinking the Future of Work | Business Wire

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