04 March 2009

Economy: Impact on Higher Ed

The Lawlor Group, a marketing firm for the education community, opened 2009 with a report on Trends and Tips following the company's research into recruitment and enrollment at independent collleges and universities. The Lawlor report is a synthesis (just 4 pages) but includes some of the statistics gathered to draw seven conclusions about how private institutions might respond to trends in the marketplace. Some of the trends are tied directly to the current economic downturn: students' and families' inability to pay, pragmatism in seeking "better value" schools even when ability to pay is not a problem, and swirling (patchworking credits from several institutions). The report offers suggested solutions for these and other trends.

A colleague at a public institution shared an observation about a new trend in recruitment that she attributes to the economy, also. In her competitive admissions program, prospective students have always been assertive in tracking their applications. In recent weeks, record numbers of applicants have moved beyond assertive to demanding, especially in seeking refunds for application fees after being rejected. The staff's interpretation is that the economy is driving the increase in applications and perhaps the same economy is making the application fee worth recovering.

© 2009 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. Email contact: bold[AT]marybold.com. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as legal or professional advice. Bold is the co-author of Reflections: Preparing for your Practicum or Internship, geared to college interns in the child, education, and family fields. She is a consultant and speaker on assessment, distance learning, and technology.

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