What Could a Recession Mean for Higher-Ed Enrollment?

The stock market is in shambles, prices of many consumer goods continue to rise, interest rates are skyrocketing, and home prices are collapsing. According to a recent article published in Bloomberg, economists now place a 70% chance of an economic recession hitting this year.[1]

We’ve already begun to see massive layoffs at large US corporations. Amazon, for example, just announced it will axe 18,000 workers, Alphabet (Google’s parent company) plans 12,000 job cuts, Salesforce has announced it will cut 8,000 jobs, Vimeo will lay off 11% of its entire staff, and even Goldman Sachs says it will trim its workforce by 8%.[2]

Clearly, for many businesses, and workers, 2023 will be a difficult year. However, for some businesses, there could be a silver lining to this dark, looming cloud.

During economic recessions, consumers tighten their belts and often shift their spending to more “essential” needs. Many of these consumers, especially those who have been laid off, often view learning new, marketable skills as an “essential” need, and pursue a career education as a pathway to a more promising future…

And a more stable career.

Take for example the Great Recession. While not a direct parallel to today (the economy was in far worse condition back then) the number of students who enrolled in higher ed leapt by 2.5%, or 2.5 million students, even as the economy was in a full meltdown.

And most of these new higher-ed enrollees were adult learners, not simply new high school grads with already laid-out educational plans.[3]

This startling fact begs the question… Why do adult learners flood into higher education during recessions?

Let’s call it fear of being non-essential. During recessions, as perhaps pre-evidenced by Amazon, Vimeo, Salesforce, and others, the first wave of layoffs often occurs at companies who operate with a significant portion of employee redundancies. Meaning these companies are bloated with bureaucracy, and the fat gets cut first.

In an effort to reestablish themselves as a necessity, adult learners who’ve been laid off enroll in programs that offer essential skills. Skills that are often recession proof…

And recession proof skills schools could be the silver lining these adults are looking for.

As CNBC put it back in 2009, “The Great Recession and its jobless recovery have funneled tens of thousands of unemployed workers into vocational education programs and their promise of more secure, well-paid work.” [4]

But, for skills schools, career colleges, tech academies, bootcamps and trade schools, waiting for new students to show up at the door and enroll, simply won’t work; no matter what happens with the economy.

You see, even though there could be a massive number of new prospective students on the horizon (there already are), many career schools will continue to have enrollment issues, even if demand for their programs soars.

And there’s a simple reason why some will struggle.

Prospective students don’t know about the school’s programs, have never heard of the institution, and are never offered the opportunity to enroll.

This is, however, all changing. And it’s changing quickly.

Successful schools, and formerly struggling schools, have begun to employ highly targeted, high response enrollment efforts. Efforts that have proven to increase the student body. In some cases, while utilizing these efforts, some schools may find themselves overbooked with new students.

What separates successful schools from struggling schools?

Simply put, it’s in the formation of a beneficial enrollment partnership, like the partnership offered by Conversion Media Group.

Conversion Media Group specializes in curating, nurturing, and connecting high-intent adult learners directly with career educators, in good economies or bad.

Through the use of our US-based educational lead-focused contact centers (which we own and operate) and our online education portal at School Match Pro, along with our highly targeted digital marketing efforts, CMG has a distinct ability to generate call verified leads and live transfers directly to your admissions and enrollment departments…

At the very moment these students are ready to talk to you.

CMG is in constant telephone, SMS text and email communication with thousands of these high-intent learners every day. Yes, every day.

And we generate 2,000 highly qualified leads plus another 300 live transfers directly into enrollment representatives for our customers every single business day!

Not surprisingly, many of these adult learners and high school grads are prepared to enroll as soon as possible, or within the next 30-90 days… regardless of whether a recession hits, or not.

However, before enrolling, they want to hear directly from your institution.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Conversion Media Group can drive qualified education leads, live transfers, 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 adult education enrollment expert will get back with you to share our incredible enrollment insights, ASAP!

[1] Economists Place 70% Chance for US Recession in 2023 – Bloomberg

[2] Layoffs Sweeping the US: Compass, Amazon, Salesforce Set Cuts (businessinsider.com)

[3] How the great recession affected higher education (hechingerreport.org)

[4] Vocational School Enrollment Booms Amid White-Collar Bust (cnbc.com)

Leave a Reply