Overall inquiry volume for all academic programs and institutions, a predictor of future college enrollment, fell seven percent in November, according to Gray Associates, a higher education consulting firm. While better than the average 10.3 percent drop for the year to date, November’s figure represents a decline from October, when inquiry volume only fell three percent.
However, conversions for August, the most recent mature month, were 15 percent ahead of a year ago, driven largely by growing interest for online programs. In addition, conversions for the months that have yet to mature – September, October, and November – are poised to top 2016 levels. Gray presented the data on its December webcast on Demand for Higher Education Programs.
“Conversion rates have gone up substantially,” said Gray Associates Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Robert Atkins. “Q3 2017 (third quarter) is already up 45 percent versus our baseline (first quarter of 2014) and is up another 10 percent versus Q2, and it will have a little longer to mature, so that number is only going to get better as we go forward.”
Inquiry volume is one of 40 pieces of data that Gray incorporates into its Program Evaluation System, which institutions use to manage their program portfolio and make decisions on which programs to Start, Stop, Sustain or Grow at each of their campuses and online. Conversions are inquiries where the applicant has moved further in the admission process. They are counted in the month in which the inquiry was received, rather than the time of the conversion, because it takes three months for the conversion rate to mature.
Online programs saw improvement in both inquiry and conversion rates. Inquiries for online programs for October were six percent higher and for November were two percent higher than a year ago. August conversions for online programs were 17 percent higher. For on-campus programs, inquiries were down 20 percent in November and conversions for August were six percent lower.(more…)
Every month, Gray releases the latest student and employer demand trends in higher education. Here are a few of the trends from November of 2017 that we released in December:The…
High-paying, specialized fields such as health care and technology demand strong, technical skills. However, a review of job postings by Gray Associates, a higher education consulting firm, reveals increasingly employers are demanding a strong foundation in business and office skills, as well.
“Employers are looking for candidates who not only are technically proficient but can thrive in an office or clinical setting,” says Gray Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Robert Atkins. “Schools that produce well-rounded candidates are likely to have higher placement rates, which, in turn, will help them attract more – and better-prepared students.”
Gray analyzes job posting data to help institutions understand the employment prospects for their graduates. Information on skills required for different occupations provides insight into whether academic programs provide the kind of training employers are looking for, and the findings can also aid in curriculum planning.
In addition, the data on employer requirements is incorporated into Gray’s Program Evaluation System (PES), which helps institutions decide which programs to Start, Stop, Sustain or Grow. Gray and subscribers to PES can access data for any of the more than 1,400 programs in the IPEDS-CIP (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System Classification of Instructional Programs) database.(more…)