Infographic: 2016 Enrollment Trends that Higher Ed Marketers Should Know

By Eric FlottmannJuly 21, 2016

Decisions are made on data. Marketing campaigns are created around associated data insights. And for higher ed marketers, enrollment data is mission-critical information. It answers many of the key “w” questions — who, what, when, where — around how students are currently approaching higher education. It tells marketers if efforts have been successful and how they can better serve changing student needs in future campaigns.

With proprietary technologies centered on driving enrollments and meeting other marketing goals, Higher Ed Growth knows the value of this information and regularly analyzes the wealth of enrollment data gleaned from these tools.

A full analysis of how 2016 is shaping up can be found in the newly released College & University Enrollment Trends Q1 2016 Infographic. Gathered from more than 200 education partners and thousands of students, here are some of the key findings.

The Who
Within six months, there were notable changes in demographics. Students born in the 1990s continued to grow as the largest age group in the college classroom, and there were many more returning to school with higher skill levels.

  • Those enrolling with a Master’s degree tripled.
  • Students enrolling 0-23 college credits went from 23 percent to 24 percent.

There were also fluctuations in gender.

  • Male enrollments climbed to 43 percent, up from 39 percent.
  • While female enrollments dropped by 4 percent, they stayed in the lead with 57 percent.

The What
During this time, the enrollment data also revealed a few degree programs gaining steam.

  • Medical assisting was the most popular degree program in the U.S.
  • Inquiries for management/business administration programs rose 43 percent, and it was the most popular degree program in 14 states.
  • Under the healthcare umbrella, phlebotomy technician enrollments more than doubled to more than 6 percent and medical billing enrollments grew 5 percent.

The Why
However, data can only take marketers so far. It’s up to them to piece together the rest of the puzzle — or in other words, the why.

It is important to know what’s driving degree program decisions. Is it an aging population that has continued to make healthcare one of the most in-demand job fields? Are there cultural trends influencing student enrollment behavior? Take, for instance, the “gap year” trend, which is a year-long break between high school senior year and the traditional freshman year of college. Many students are taking this time to do something meaningful, travel the world, gain a new perspective, and better define future goals. It’s a growing trend that even President Obama’s daughter Malia is even taking advantage before moving on to college. It’s also something we may soon see reflected more and more in student enrollment data.

In all, higher education institutions aiming to increase student populations and reach aggressive outcome goals should not only be capturing enrollment data, but regularly analyzing it for opportunities to increase conversions. It’s also always beneficial to compare it against large scale studies of enrollments across the U.S., like the analysis seen in this infographic, to see how individual colleges and universities are measuring up.

HEG infographic

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