Higher Ed Enrollments Finally Trending Up!

To show college students at university

Yet Credit Rating Agencies Split on Higher Ed’s Future Outlook

It’s no secret that many traditional colleges and universities have been struggling with enrollments for over a decade now. In fact, it’s gotten so difficult that some institutions have either had to cut degree programs or close down all together. But recent data on enrollment numbers have given many institutions a glimmer of hope.

According to the National Student Clearinghouse Center, year over year undergrad enrollment actually grew by 2.1%; with community colleges, two-year programs and certificate programs being responsible for the bulk of all new enrollments. This marks the first time since the onset of the pandemic that enrollment numbers actually grew.[1]

But that growth was not evenly distributed.

Doug Shapiro, executive director of the research center said, “Associates are doing better than bachelors. Certificates are doing better than associates.” 

Clearly, as both the data and Mr. Shapiro indicate, today’s students are looking for ways to enter the workforce faster and more efficiently than students of the past. No longer do students believe earning a bachelor’s degree is the only way to succeed in the jobs market.

Rather, shorter programs, certificate programs and career-based educations have become the new pathway.

If your institution offers career-based programs, two-year programs, or certificate programs, you may be experiencing some of the growth noted above. And if you’re looking to expand on that growth (or are not attracting enough students in the first place), you should consider partnering with Conversion Media Group.

Here’s why: We’re a national leader in higher education enrollment initiatives, and our programs have proven to boost enrollments at almost any kind of institution of higher ed.

Including: online college, traditional college, certificate programs, trade and vocational schools and community college.

More on this in a moment.

First, while the recent data from the Clearinghouse Center is quite positive, it’s not all sunshine and roses. The major credit ratings agencies are at odds as to what may happen with enrollments next year, one saying even further stresses are coming.

Now, as noted in Higher Ed Dive, the credit rating agency Moody’s has a somewhat positive outlook for next year saying, “gains from multiple revenue sources will materialize. A recent enrollment uptick will modestly improve net tuition revenue.”[2]

Essentially, Moody’s believes higher ed has/will reach stabilization.

However, two of the other major credit ratings agencies, S&P and Fitch, do not have the same rosy outlook.

Fitch Ratings, said recently it expects deteriorating sector conditions and predicted consolidation will persist as institutions attempt to align offerings with student and employer interests.”

While S&P said, “Demographic challenges continue to shrink colleges’ applicant pools, with a significant “cliff” predicted in the next couple of years.”

So, we have two of the three agencies predicting more struggles ahead for some traditional colleges and universities, with one going as far as to predict a significant cliff.

But as Moody’s said, “institutions (are attempting) to align offerings with student and employer interests…”

Meaning traditional colleges and universities are beginning to shift towards programs that prospective students believe could be a faster way into the workforce… aka a career-based focus.

And that refocus may very well be the savior for some. Now, if you’re already offering these programs, you are ahead of the game. However, as more traditional schools begin offering career-based programs, two-year degrees and certifications, the competition for today’s new students may become fierce.

That’s why you should consider partnering with Conversion Media Group. We’re known industrywide for sometimes having overdelivered on prospective student leads. You see, because of our marketing efforts and our US-based contact centers, we have the ability to deliver practically as many new student leads as you need.

And many of these student leads, as you may experience, are ready to enroll the moment they hear from you.

Now, although there are some bright spots for traditional colleges and universities, their shift towards career-educations may mean more competition in the space.

You can stay ahead of the competition with Conversion Media Group; driving high intent leads and live transfers directly to your enrollment department is what we do!

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] Undergraduate enrollment rises 2.1% this fall, preliminary figures show | Higher Ed Dive

[2] Credit rating agencies split on higher ed outlook in 2024 | Higher Ed Dive

Leave a Reply