Higher Ed Trend: Business-University Partnerships for Better Student Outcomes

By Joe LaskowskiSeptember 26, 2016

There has been a lot of buzz around for-profit institutions lately and much of it has not been positive. However, it’s important to remember that these cases are the minority and a select few out of many successful, viable business models in the postsecondary education sector. In fact, there are more — and better — ways than ever before for marketers and institutions to work together toward common goals. It takes a bit of innovation, transparency and a continued focus on student outcomes.

As recently highlighted in HEG’s presentation at LeadsCon NY, one highly effective and relatively new model is the development of business–university partnerships. Also referred to as corporation-university partnerships, these agreements help bridge the gap between higher education and the workplace, leading to better outcomes.

Such partnerships take many forms. For-profit entity Grand Canyon University announced free training for entrepreneurs and small business owners. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas developed a program alongside a major car manufacturer. And Grantham University inked a deal with one of the biggest transportation service providers in the US to help company employees advance their education and, in turn, careers. And these are just a few recent examples.

No matter how these programs are structured, business-university partnerships provide unique marketing opportunities and, more importantly, better student outcomes. Here are five reasons why this model creates more opportunity for students, schools and marketers.

Recruitment Practices
For one, there are often opportunities for students to benefit from reduced tuition, financial aid programs and more as a result of these partnerships. This lowers the risk for the student while allowing schools to still achieve aggressive recruitment and revenue goals. Not only is the onus not entirely placed on students, but it also bolsters a student’s return on investment — something that is considered by regulatory boards.

Marketing
Reduced tuition rates can certainly make schools more attractive to students, but business-university partnerships also add another layer of authenticity and credibility — especially for certificates and nontraditional degree paths. For marketers, this means it is an easier buy-in for prospective students.

It’s also important to note that schools can tap into the partner company’s already-established audience, so it’s another avenue to find and attract prospective students.

High-quality Education
Developing programs in tandem with partner businesses ensures that curriculum accurately reflects the skills currently needed in the workplace. It ensures that students are receiving real value from the school.

Businesses benefit, too. Their efforts help shape well-rounded and prepared job candidates. It can help fill talent deficits within their own departments… and even in the local economy.

Transparency
By partnering with businesses, schools can offer realistic expectations about how that degree, certificate or program will help students reach career goals. It eliminates some of the unknowns, like “what kind of companies will seek this kind of training and educational background?” Schools and EDU marketers are also able to share more concrete metrics around job placement with prospective students, removing much of the ambiguity.

Retention & Repayment
The light at the end of the tunnel is not graduation; it’s a career. Business – university partnerships take education a step further by not only preparing the student for a chosen field and occupation, but for the potential of a real job at an actual company. It places job opportunity within reach.

There are more eyes on higher education than ever before, and business-university partnerships are just one trend helping to place a more positive spotlight on the industry. Strategic alliances provide a new path toward compliance and student success, and the opportunities for schools, students, businesses, local economies, and marketers are endless.

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