As congress adjourns for the year, it’s time for education leaders and practitioners to reflect on the biggest discussions that took place in both the federal government and education sector in 2015. Student outcomes have continued to be a topic of interest with the media and within the higher education industry as schools look further into the student lifecycle to measure success.
The impact these changes have on your current, and future, education marketing practices can help guide your strategic plan of action for 2016. Here are five of the biggest deliberations of 2015:
1. Student Outcomes
With the media focusing their attention on student debt, legislative action for colleges and universities is a high priority. There is an emphasis on and increased demand for preparing students for the workplace, and institutions have an obligation to assess the usefulness of their school’s curricula. Schools should be providing a variety of well-rounded learning methods, knowledge and skills to contribute toward preparing students for rewarding and fulfilling careers. Leaders in post-secondary education and marketing partners alike understand that utilizing and combining external marketing strategies with associated parties is influential in determining where improvements should be made.
2. Gainful Employment
Eight years ago, the United States dropped into a recession that redefined the economical, political and social scene. The U.S. is still recovering from the effects that assisted in shaping student debt and unemployment. A new set of rules, referred to as Gainful Employment Regulations, requires colleges and universities to track their students’ lifecycles and prove their school programs meet federal guidelines. Student retention continues to be an increasingly important topic for both universities and colleges, and more attention is being paid to the role higher education institutions play in preparing the workforce.
3. Leveraging Data
There is not enough data being shared among schools and partners to make informed, data-based decisions and optimizations. Improving the infrastructure and closing the achievement gap requires academic and industry representatives, and policy makers to leverage big data to make improvements and create new opportunities.
The U.S. Department of Education is using data mining to strategize and enhance teaching and learning, and schools are now beginning to partner with government agencies in order to leverage big data to make improvements. Both parties benefit from using data to leverage action and increase positive outcomes. Transparency is needed to fully understand success events and factors; school and agency cooperation are imperative for future success.
Many for-profit schools have been fined and remain under public watch for non-compliance to legislation. For-profit schools have faced scrutiny in the past year as a result of government action, and negative press that has focused on deceptive marketing and recruiting tactics. In this period of new legislation, organizations are learning to adjust and apply new procedures in order to stay compliant. This boost in visibility comes at a time where policy measures relate to outcomes. As many federal and local requirements continue to tighten, higher education organizations are seeking new ways to ensure they are meeting standards.
It is important to remain well aware of the resources that are available to leverage improvements. Schools must measure current practices to uncover new insights and challenges, allowing for more informed decision-making and better investments. In both education and government, the way we educate and the increased reliance on technology continues to influence business practices. The new government program, “Enhancing Education through Technology (Ed Tech)” provides funds to improve student academic achievement through the use of technology-based programs.
As the education industry continues to evolve and new legislation is developed, it is important to evaluate and stay on top of the trends and changes in regulations. Schools and higher education marketers should look for opportunities to make valuable improvements to their processes in 2016.