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Mark: Thank you for joining Gray’s four part webcast series on best practices and program portfolio assessment. Gray combines over 40 program metrics with our methodology to help institutions assess the viability of individual programs by location. Competition and strategic fit will be the focus of this afternoons webcast.
Before we pass the baton over to our senior analyst Pete Steris, a couple of quick housekeeping items. Please feel free to enter any and all questions into the chat window on the left hand side of the page. We’ll be sure to answer all questions at the end of this afternoon’s webcast. And e-mail of the presentation as well as a recording will be sent to all registrant’s upon completion. Without further ado, Pete.
Pete: Thanks, Mark. Welcome everyone and thank you for joining and Bob is not our host this month, so I apologize to any of you who were hoping to hear his voice when we got started today, but you are in good hands. As Mark mentioned, I am a senior analyst here at Gray and I’ve done a lot of work for our higher education institutions that we work for. Gray if you’re not aware is a strategy consulting firm focused entirely on higher education and I’ve actually worked on several projects ranging from program work to locations and marketing, and I’ve been keying, implementing and building along with one of my colleagues, Zach Paz, who you may know. We’ve built what we call the program evaluation system which takes in various sources of data and we’ve come up with an interesting way to be able to comb through every single program and whichever markets you like, and this you know we use as part of our program portfolio profits which ultimately leads to our clients making the decisions on what new programs to start and deciding which current programs to stop, sustain or grow.
Today I will be talking through some approaches and data that you can use to assess the competition for your current and potential new academic programs, and then I’ll touch briefly on the Strategic Fit category, but this is all essentially a part of making good programmatic decisions overall, and when we think about making those good decisions we believe there are four major factors you need to take into account when evaluating either yours or potential new academic programs. We covered two already of those four. On assessing employment opportunities we touched on the last couple of-- Well parts one and two I should say. If you weren’t able to attend those they do exist you can find them through our website where you’ll be able to download the slides and you’ll also be able to watch the videos if you didn’t-- weren’t able to see it all. Third and fourth I mentioned we’ll touch on today so in Competition we’ll talk about how you can identify your competitors and how you determine if the market for an individual program is particularly intense or saturated, and for Strategic Fit we’ll touch on that briefly at the end just because it’s not a huge piece of our overall assessment of programs, but it does focus on making sure you’re capturing the right degree fit essentially by looking at the degrees graduates are earning and degrees the employers are seeking or hiring for so that you know you’re teaching for the right program or for the right degree.
Now the fact that you’re listening to this call probably means you agree that competition plays a role in assessing programs, but some of you out there might be worried about or not worried about why competition really does matter and it’s a valid question because we understand that many schools cooperate with each other. They share curriculums on some cases and we witness this. You know we have community colleges partnered with four year schools where they’re partnering through a degree completion programs. So in many ways there are those partnerships, but in other ways you really do compete with one another in terms of you know the market for students has created competition whether we like it or not, and we pulled some slides together to share. You know some of the drivers of that student enrollment population and one of those drivers is the population especially within the student age it’s flat. It has been flat and based on projections continues to be flat. The compound annual growth rate if we’re looking at the middle section here of the age group for 15 to 65 year olds is forecasted at just point one percent annually, and I know in the past we’ve talked about how we don’t agree with certain future projections and they’re very difficult to do, but in this case they’re actually using population of earlier age groups to potentially calculate what the future will be.
So expecting enrolment to grow especially in the shorter term just because population is growing isn’t the best solution, and when we think about that in terms of looking at the actual data that we do have on how many students are going through programs we can look at the completions data and they sort of confirm that same issue and that if we look at historical data for completions, completions from 2012 to 2016 have inched up only a little bit. You see here from about 5,000,000 right around 5,100,000 so overall we’ve only got about a one percent compound annual growth rate. When we take it back even another year to 2011 when it was at 4,800,000 and this is for the U.S for higher education as a whole.
Now the non-profits have done a little better. We see that the public schools are up three percent annually and their private and not for profits are up one percent annually, but the for profits have pretty much offset that being down six percent, and part of that is due to some of the schools closing, and certainly regulatory issues some schools have run into. But you know if that starts to slow and now that those schools are gone, I would imagine that minus six percent will actually begin to stop and it will certainly make for more competition as those schools begin to try to fix any of those issues and continue to capture the market share, and while we say that schools are overall are going to be experiencing a little bit of trouble. Not all of schools are experiencing the rates we just shared.
If we look at Western and Governor’s University they’ve grown over 20% on each of the last five years, and this pays fact to-- We can see that in 2011 they had right around 4000 completions, they grew 48% in 2012, another 41% in ’13, and if this starts to flow where you’ve got 30% in ’14, 2% and then 25%, but I mean based on the numbers we saw before this these are very solid growth numbers and especially when you compare them to the fact that the overall market’s only at one percent. So there’s clearly taking shares and part of the reason for this too is we do understand they have a pretty robust offer and that’s sort of what it takes, and why you need to assess your competition to be able to see what other schools are doing to capture that share. In this Western Governor’s offers a very low price with a focus on competency based education and obviously mind curriculum, and clearly that’s working. And because we have all this data one of the other things we’ve added to our analysis is this piece on program productivity, and this is just an example of some of the analysis you can do when using all of the data that exists out there on competition.
Now in this case, we were looking at essentially how the percentage of programs or completions on the left axis, the program size in buckets on the bottom axis, and the blue bar represents the percentage of those programs. So this would suggest that Western Governor’s University has 52% of their programs in programs with complete-- more than 100 completions, or more than 99 completions really, and those same programs produce 96% of all of their completions. So clearly they’re spending a lot of their time on, I mean based on the growth numbers we just saw, on growing their largest programs. And then if you move down to the right of the chart you see that for their programs with less than 10 completions there’s only 17% of all programs are in that bucket, and they’re producing less than one percent of their completions. Now this compares to when we looked at this nationally, for all schools nationally 48% of programs are in that bottom bucket and they’re only producing 7% of completions, and we understand there are going to be some smaller niche programs that work for institutions and are essential for the mission, but in terms of growth based on what we just saw with Western Governor’s this does almost exempt that you certainly, while you can keep those smaller programs, you really need to target some of those larger ones. Because you know a small percentage on a program with 100 completions in terms of growth is going to be a lot more growth than something with one completion at five percent growth or something similar.
So that gives you a sense of the overall higher-ed [inaudible 0:10:14] in demand sector but one of the first things you really need to do before you can figure out who your competition is or how intense the program is, is to find the market where you actually can compete, and all of the data we’ll be sharing with you today is strictly for the United States in terms of schools and students.
Now the first set of data we use, or the first place to look for when defining a market is the google search data for your brand, and you can do this through-- we use an ATI where we’re pulling in a lot of keywords in terms of brand keywords and program keywords, or you can probably ask your agency as well to pull this together. But once you have it you’re then able to then see where your searches are coming from, or searches for your school are coming from in specific areas. In the example we have here we just happened to look at Ivy Tech at a State level and what we see here is that they clearly draw significantly more searches within the State of Indiana, which I’m sure is no surprise. But then the next State after that is Illinois which is only five percent of the total searches in Indiana, and then you drop another 50% off of that when you get to number three in Kentucky. So clearly this will be a school where you’re going to want to look at Indiana as one of your markets for completion. But you know the same level is probably not as precise as you’d like to be and in this example we do show that we-- I mean you do have the ability to pull this data by County as well, but we did switch schools up here and moved over to Illinois but in this example we can see the keywords we’re using for this particular school Black Hawk and you can see that much of their search volume comes from their local Counties located right next to the schools. Where you see the dark that’s green then next those two red triangles, and then you move south from the State you slowly begin to lose that volume and those are probably areas where they’re not really drawing students.
You could argue that maybe Chicago is just a size of that market and you know it is a little darker of a green that you know maybe you’d want to look there too, but you’re certainly looking at a local market.
And then finally the last piece that we like to do for our client’s and you all have the ability to do with mapping software, assuming you have your students where they come from, but here we marked up an illustrative analysis where we geocode the student’s addresses to census graphs, then we get the students specifically from the client we’re working for, and census graphs if you’re not familiar they’re about twice as precise as zip codes, so they’re even finer than zips and counties. And basically what we do is we then calculate how far from the campus each student lives or came from, and then recommend a radius based on those numbers.
In the example you see here we’ve got percentage of students on the left axis and then miles from the student’s home to the campus on the bottom, and we put the differences in buckets. So for example in that first bucket you have zero to five miles, which means since we see 29% there, this would say 29% of students come from within five miles of the campus. Then we jump to 57% at 10 miles, meaning it picks up another 28% as we move out to 10 miles, and ultimately what we would recommend and what you see here is using a radius of 35 miles because we’re picking up 92% of the students, and we’re also not gaining much more as we move out in five mile increments. So this would be something we’d recommend and then we ultimately, if we apply this to the Black Hawk College map you saw earlier, we essentially end up with these two markets you see here for the local market radii around this campus, and since in this case the campus’ are closer than 70 miles what we actually do is assign any duplicate tracks to the closest campus so that we’re not double counting.
And you know this is always customizable and again, note I say customizable because we have the ability and I’m sure many mapping software have this similar ability, if you have them, where maybe 35 miles you want to actually crop out as separate states. So in this case it would be very easy where they probably do want to include this, but if they didn’t we can easily limit it to jump Illinois but still have the local market. And again this is just one example, many schools are different and you might be looking at the State as a whole, you might also want to look at Chicago, it might be a separate market because it would obviously dominate the smaller market here if we included everything together. But it certainly gives you the ability and how we do this. Essentially set your market using all of this data, whether that be a regional or national, or in this case a local market.
So now that we’ve defined the market the next step is to determine who your competition is, and then you start to begin to get into the deeper dive and research on those because it takes a lot of research to essentially gain an edge in the market when it comes to attracting students and knowing where you can be good and you can compete. The best source to start off with this is the integrated post-secondary education data system, or as we all know it because I know I don’t ever say the full name IPEDS, and it is maintained by the Federal Government and supported by educational institutions across the US, so it’s a very solid foundation. But it certainly has it’s issues which we’ll touch on, but all higher education institutions who received [inaudible 0:16:37] for funding have to file data with IPEDS, so there is a lot of data there including things like enrolment, completions, tuitions, and many more metrics apply to those.
For the purpose of today’s talk we’ll actually be focusing on the completions data, and the reason for that is the completions data is down to the program and the pre-level at each institution. Many of the other sources are just either by undergrad versus graduate at a school, or just for the school overall. So is helpful because we are able to see it at the program level, and once you have this data you’re then able to see who your competition is, how big they are, and how fast they’re growing or shrinking. In the example we have here we’re looking at registered nursing for all the ward levels in Illinois, and what we see is the first and second school in the list is Chamberlain Bachelor’s and Master’s program in their thing, and we highlighted this because you can see if we look at the 2012 column we show 245 completions and then it jumps to 3767 completions. Now this didn’t happen, but what probably happened is completions were re-assigned from different locations. I was actually looking I think they were originally in Missouri but now classified as the Illinois location, which is most likely a re-classification of the online students.
So that’s one of the issues which I’ll touch on again in a second, but you know outside of that we still are able to see once that shift happens, they still have some pretty successful growth in this program. As we see it then jumped from 3700 all the way to 2200 in 2016, so and those are completions. So despite any change in classification they’ve still got a pretty healthy program in terms of the size of enrolment as you think about that. And then I mentioned you can see all competition because it certainly-- We have in ranked order based on the size of the completion in ’16, but you can see these are the other tools that make up the 10 largest, and then as you look at the scroll bar there’s certainly a lot more school in this market that we could have included but we had to profit somewhere. But this is very helpful data in terms of seeing again who’s the largest, who’s growing, and then as we-- I talked about earlier what your market share especially for your term programs, or exclusively for your term programs, what your market share might look like compared to the others.
And this chart here is just an example of-- We took the five schools there and plotted them here so you could see their overall market share in the market. And we mentioned IPEDS other issues and that first anomaly being the sudden jump in completions, and when you see it you’ll probably want to check the IPEDS data first, because this could mean there was a re-classification from one zip code to a new zip code that maybe the thought made more sense. So you probably have another zip code that went from a lot to zero. Another reason is some schools have consolidated their recordings for multiple campuses to just one. So we found an example one time where we had a school with 15 campuses in a single state and they were reporting to all 15 campuses, but then switched to reporting to only one. So this meant that essentially 14 markets went from having a school with completions to now that school not showing up. So they went from whatever they were at to zero, and then one market jumped from one schools worth of completions to having all 15 campuses worth of completion.
So we’ve actually done a great deal of work and you should probably consider this as well when looking at your local market just to make sure there aren’t other schools. We’ve actually tried to fix the issue by identifying those schools where the report has changed and looking to see where they still exist, and then allocating the completions as best as we can by program. So we’ve gone and actually looked at what programs they offer. You know it might be a more of a manual process if you’d like to do this for your programs as well, but in one fix you have a very good indicator of market share and are able to see where your institution stacks up versus the competition.
Now just to briefly touch on some of the other issues with the IPEDS data just so that you have this and it’s in the back of your minds when you’re assessing the data, but obviously IPEDS misses some of those national online institutions when you’re looking locally. So just as again a side note, when you’re looking at your local market you might see that maybe you’re competing against five schools and that seems like it’s not very competitive, but there could be a hundred schools offering it nationally online. You know a good example is University of Phoenix where they might not show up in your local market for all their online completions and that’s because all of them exist in Phoenix, so the Phoenix market’s going to show a lot of completions for University of Phoenix which you wouldn’t capture if you’re looking in just Chicago for example. So having a way to maybe look nationally which we actually do with our analysis as well, it’s very helpful and worth considering.
Now another issue is where there’s non-titles for institutions potentially teaching students so they can earn a job. This is particularly relevant at the lower end degrees or vocational training programs. It does exist in some graduate certificates in specific areas as well. In this case the example we happened to pull up here is a dental assisting school that’s not really a school. It’s a group of these dentists offering training on the weekends, but again they’re not going to show up on IPEDS because the students are paying themselves to take this program, and they come out of it with a certificate and it doesn’t show up on IPEDS because there’s no title for it, they’re not dealing with that. At the high end similar things happen with some of the coding academies where they’re teaching for some of those higher end certificates, and they don’t show up for the exact same reason. But this takes again, if you’re in that type of area, more of a manual web based research just to make sure or see if there are any other types of training out there for students.
And then finally the next piece or source that’s missing are massive open online courses or MOOC, and this is one personally where I haven’t really heard about it as much as a couple of years ago when these seemed to be kind of getting into the market, and seemed like the next cool thing. But despite that immediate dying down it’s still very relevant and continuing to grow as you can see here in the chart where they’re closing in on 10,000 courses being offered, and growing significantly each year. You know again, this is something that’s harder to get at but there are some sources that track these. In this specific example chart we have here we’re pulling in some data from Class Central that’s reporting number of courses, but this is a separate search as well that you do on the web. Where it becomes helpful is seeing what students-- what courses people are interested in, and also looking to see what courses are popping up, because they can certainly help with aligning your curriculum with what the people are-- or I should say students are actually interested in today, and it’s probably worth it because I mean even the courses that are offered by MOOC’s here are not really the same in terms of people completing them, because even I can attest to this, I’ve taken a course on one of these and didn’t come close to finishing, so that’s certainly a problem where you have people starting and you can see that there’s tons of users but not, you know not a lot of people actually follow through, whether it’s in my case because of just too much work from my actual job or any other number of reasons. So that’s really the IPEDS data. Then the other sources in terms of figuring out who you’re competing with and how many schools there are and so on, but a lot of competition, or a lot of competitors doesn’t actually mean there’s no room for you to compete and still grow. And we’ve added several metrics to our data sets in recent years to try to capture markets where there might be, or programs also I should say where there might be a lot of competition but they’re still less saturated in most areas, which it indicates that there’s still room to grow in that market.
The first really one we came up with and this was a while back was completions for CAPATA, and this essentially takes the completions in whichever market you’re looking at divided by the student population, which in our case we people aged 13 or 18 to 34, and then unlike our other metrics where we compared those metrics programs to programs in the market, we actually compared the completion for CAPATA for a program in a specific market to the same program in other markets to see if that market they were looking at is more likely to be saturated or not. So as an example I guess if one market has five completions for CAPATA for registered nursing, and another has one completion for CAPATA, we’d expect the market with one completion for CAPATA to still have room for growth, and the one with five to possibly be maxed out. So it’s a way of basically changing whether or not we think our or whichever market we’re looking at is saturated compared to others.
The next indicator we like to use for competition, and there’s actually a couple here we’re only sharing one data on the slide, but we have costs per enquiry and then we also have costs per clicks from the google data. So costs per enquiry comes from enquiry data base over I think it’s around 60,000,000 enquiries now, and this is the price people are paying for those leads. And in this example we saw people were in the past paying $114 it says there for managing sites leads, and then on the other hand the other one we circled is finance where they’re only paying $48. There could be multiple reasons for this you know, one could be that there just aren’t a lot of potential students interested in this specific program so getting leads is more difficult and there’s a premium to get the leads that do come in, the other is that there are so many schools interested that the competition has actually driven the price up from the education institution side, but in both instances you know it means competing for it’s going to be essentially very tough to try to attract students, because either there aren’t a lot of leads or enquiries, or there are a lot of schools trying get those leads or enquiries. And the same goes for the costs for click data where the numbers will be a lot different you know. They’re essentially different stages in the cycle but the comparisons are still the same where the higher the number the probably worse off it is.
And then outside of our data there are also some competitive intelligence vice that we’ve used in the past that can be helpful in terms of giving you a sense of the intensity of competition, and this is based on competitors budget for internet funding. You can see here there’s a range taking everything into account within this specific site where they’re looking at the days-- number of days seen on the web, their monthly budget and the number of keywords they’re buying in support of a particular program. And to get a sense of whether or not you can compete and what it might take, you can see essentially what these other schools are spending and how many leads-- keywords they’re buying. In this case the two I circled here you can see Linkedin was seen over 270 they’ve budgeted 350,000 and are looking for closer to 30,000 keywords are pulling those in, and then Shell fewer days but monthly budget of 611,000 and 36,000 keywords. So coming in with a fraction of that means you probably aren’t going to capture nearly the same market, which might be fine if you’re really drawing more locally, which many institutions are than these two, but it’s really helpful in terms of giving you the sense of what other institutions are doing that you’re competing with.
Now we touched on enquiries and you know I’m sure familiar with our student demands and how we use our enquiries for that, but we do also use it for competition as well in terms of you can see on the next five years. What we’ve done is put together analysis where the light blue bar represents the number of enquiries in the market, the dark blue bar represent college A enquiries, I have a sample university there, and then the line represents college A’s shares. And what this suggest is while the market enquiries are actually declining as you move throughout the months here, and again we use months as for illustration purposes, this might be semester’s or years or whatever it might be, it could be different for your institution. What you can see is the market enquiries does go down, college A’s enquiries actually went up, which meant their share increase. So we bring up this idea of competition playing a factor because this would suggest that despite the interest in the market declining, this school’s actually grown which means they’re probably taking share to capture what the market is losing. So it’s a very important piece to have this kind of-- have this type of data to see, especially in this case, how you are performing within the market and who else might be in there.
And in order to really assess any of the metrics we’ve included we’ve actually, I mentioned earlier on in the call, put together a system to essentially score and rank all of the data we pull together, and this includes competition. And what we’ve done is, this is an example of an actual screenshot from our system of one of the scoring pages in our system, and we’ve created a scoring system that involves using the percentiles and the values of these percentiles because if you look at these, the first column for example, it shows the number of competitors at the top of that column, that first grey box. And then we have a unique scoring system that’s set up to say, if there are more than nine competitors in market X in this case, given the, we say high scores, but in this case the high score’s negative two points. So this program would lose two points, and so on down it works like that. So between five and nine it loses one. Anything with less than two competitors we give it two points. And you’re probably asking, “Is nine a lot or a little”? For every market that’s different and what we’ve done to help us figure out what is a lot or a little is the bottom half of the image there are the percentiles and the value of each one. So for number of competitors with a 100 percentile you see 13. This means that in this market the program with the most number of competitors had 13 competitors. Then if you drop to the 98 percentile you see 9, which means any program with nine or more competitors is in the top two percent of programs this is about 1400 programs that we have data on, so it’s in the top two percent of those in terms of number of competitors.
So that’s probably something where compared to other programs there’s a lot of schools doing it. And then as you move down you can see all of the other percentiles and you can see we actually use the 50th percentile for our minimum score of where you would receive two points. And that same process works for setting the scores for all of the metrics you see here as well as the ones you’ll see on the next couple of slides. But you can see that we’re only applying minor ways to the number of competitors because we do have, again like I talked about, all of those market saturation metrics. In fact on the second half of this page here we’ve got costs for enquiry and the costs for clicks, and we also pull in a competitive index from google to help essentially measure the amount of competition in the market.
Next we have some other metrics to look at for competitor intensity and saturation. We’ve talked about completions for CAPATA already. The only difference here is that our percentile values are no longer for all of the programs in a given market. The way we’ve set it up is these are actually the percentiles using the 100 largest US markets so that we’re, for a specific program in this case, for call this program A, we would be saying where does this fit in terms of completions for CAPATA in our market compared to the largest 100 US market. So anything with a 5.2 completion for CAPATA or higher is actually in the top 10%. Meaning it probably reaches CAP it might already be a little over saturated. So you’re really looking for programs that are below the 50th percentile for this specific metric.
And then finally for competition we also created some program five metrics where we look at the average and medium program size. We prefer to use the medium because it avoids any large online schools that might use the average, and we also like to use the medium programs sites as another metric of saturation because the way we see it is, if that number, even if schools are entering the market but that medium program site is growing, it probably means that it’s still a healthy market and there’s opportunity to grow. Whereas if you see that number going down and that medium program site is shrinking probably not a good sign and it might mean that the markets actually reached it’s limit. And what we’ve done once we’ve scored all of that and our client has the ability to score it however they’d like, then we will and what we’ve done is we’ve tried to boil it down onto one page so that you can see all of the metrics here are, that we just walk you through are on this page, and we’ve actually color coded them all in based on the percentile there is. So you have for example for total institutions 1182, is that a lot or a little we don’t know. Well because it’s shaded in pink that means it’s a lot compared to other programs, hence why we’ve used the minus two score, and that’s just one example. And again this goes to show you that for this specific program for example, while there’s a lot of competition, so total score for competitive [inaudible 0:37:25] is actually a positive three. Meaning that the other saturation metrics offset the number of competitors in that the costs as we look at both are not too high, they’re both green. One’s lighter green in terms of costs compared to other programs. The competitive index is also in green so that’s a good sign, meaning it’s lower. And then the average and medium program sites are also in green. They are-- It is shrinking so it’s been received positive but it’s only a small-- you know we’ve only found one unit or one completion every year for that medium program, but the actual sizes are healthy.
And then the piece I touched on earlier that we include in every market is that national distance ed where if this was-- if this happened to be a national score card but you’re looking locally, you’ll still have the ability to see if you only had shown 10 competitors here this same-- this exact same program in any other market would have this exact same information here where you’re able to see 226 institutions report an online or distance ed program and those same schools are producing 13,000 completions. So no matter what market you’re looking at, we always have the ability to see this number.
And then finally for competition anyways we have here, we can essentially turn our program evaluation system on its side and rank markets as well. So this gives us the ability to-- we can zero out the other categories, in this case we’re only looking at the competitor intensity score, and for this particular program we’re able to see what markets are less competitive. So hence based on all of the metrics we have this might indicate that for this program with program X San Antonio might actually be less saturated and there might be an opportunity for our program there, whether it’s marketing it there or we already had a campus there and this might be a program we want to push there based on the score we see here of nine points, which is greater than all of the others. So it’s a good way to decide where markets may be more or less saturated by essentially turning the same exact scoring metrics you have on it’s side.
Now I know we’re a little over time here because of our delays or issues in the beginning but just to touch briefly on Strategic Fit now that we’ve finished analyzing competition. The metrics we use for strategic fit which we find helpful are, and they’re probably available as well for the ones we focus on anyways, but one is the educational attainment of the workforce which comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s a piece within that, within OES, and then we also with the IPEDS data look at the-- what degrees completions are receiving, and this helps us to make sure that our clients are aligning their programs with the right degree. You know an example we have set up in the scoring here is the only one we have for the educational attainment of the workforce is we’re applying minus 20 points to any programs where more than 50% of the people employed have no college degree. The reason for this is it suggests that basically you don’t need a degree to earn a job in that field, so why would I go to school if I didn’t need to. And we apply that negative point, we call it knock out score because it’s basically pushing it down to the bottom of our program rank so that our clients aren’t spending any time digging into and researching further programs that if we’re offering bachelor’s degrees we probably don’t want to spend any time looking at a PDL program. So this would immediately push that to the bottom of the scoring, and the same goes for the percent of completions, we can use that.
And then the only other data source we have in here is this cost data, which is primarily focused on 30th and below based on where the data comes from. But we got this through the National Higher Education Bench Marketing institute. So they provided us faculty costs and then index forms so that we were able to see what programs cost more or less to teach compared to other programs. And again once we boil this all together we get a score card that looks like this which is I guess the fourth piece of our overall score card that looks like this. The one difference being obviously you can see there’s a lot of blanks, and the reason we don’t color code the cells for the values in this category is primarily for every client it’s actually different. We could put bachelor’s degrees in green at the top for a community college that might not necessarily be a good thing. Then the same at the other end if the associates are high it might not be a good thing for a school in the graduates phase. So just again, these are more numbers to think about as you’re assessing the programs and think about what the right degrees are to teach. In this case I’d say at the associates or bachelor’s level you have pretty healthy percentages there in terms of teaching at those degree levels. And then depending on the volumes which you capture from the student demand and the employer demand, even graduate degrees or master’s, while a low percentage here when you multiply that to the volume might still be a solemn number.
So with all that just to summarize I hope we’ve convinced you if you weren’t beforehand that competition is really a critical element to evaluating and assessing your current programs and really for looking at potential new opportunities, but again before you can do that you need to define your market. IPEDS certainly has a lot of good historical data on competition. It is a bit lagging just remember that, anyone who completed started from anywhere from two to four, six years ago depending on the degree you’re looking at. So it is a bit lagging but does provide us with some pretty solid metrics to calculate saturation and competition. One of those being you can see the immediate completions, which again because we’re looking completions for those program sizes, I didn’t mention it earlier but you do need to remember those. I said they were healthy, they may have seemed low but a completion is maybe one year, so when you multiply a period of bachelor’s degrees, you multiply that by at least four to get really what the actual program size would be. And again, just remember the issues IPEDS has and make sure you fill those holes in, and as we like to do having the current data is also helpful and patching some of the holes in terms of IPEDS being a bit lagging. We understand that the google data that we pull and the entry data we have has it’s limitations and there are certainly going to be some gaps in terms of the-- just the programs we’re able to capture, but it does give you a much more current sample in terms of what’s existing up to the most recent month. And it’s very helpful in terms of combining it with that completions look.
And then finally always making sure you’re aligning your degrees with what employers are looking for is very helpful.
So with that just a final reminder that back to our very first point, the higher education I’ll say segment in terms of population is really not growing, and so that could be different to your local market, but focusing on competition is going to be extremely helpful so that you’re making sure that you’re still growing and it might be a taking share that needs to occur for that to happen.
So thank you again for joining us today on part three. Part four will be next month on May 10th at 2:00 PM Eastern time and this will be focused on running an effective program planning process, and this essentially gets into the process we use with our clients to help them assess their programs because we understand that it’s not all about the numbers, and take a lot more than that especially within your interest choosing to accept the viability of programs, whether that be the local market knowledge that you’ll have that doesn’t exist in the data. There’s obviously the knowledge you have on how programs are doing and ultimately the judgment in terms of what you think needs to happen.
So if there are any questions, I know we’re a bit over time so I apologize for the delay at the beginning, starting exactly 10 minutes late. I appreciate all of you who were able to stay on and listen in today. If you have any questions and you have to drop now feel free to e-mail Bob who would be happy to hear from you all and I’ve included my e-mail on here as well if you’d like to reach out to me if you have any questions. Or really you can reach out to anyone here at Gray and they’ll be happy to provide you with the answers or data you need.
Mark: Perfect thanks for that Pete. We do have a couple of questions that came in and one of the questions is about the National Distance Education Completions Metric that is on the competition aspect of the score card. Can you explain where that comes from?
Pete: Yeah so that also comes from the IPEDS data that we pull in and it comes from two different files actually. One we use the completions obviously and the second is there’s a file that lists all institutions whether or not the programs offer the Distance Ed. So we’ve essentially combined those two files to give us a sense of what programs institutions are offering via distance education. It’s not a perfect data set because they’re not given to us combined. The actual completions for the tools do include both on ground and online for any school where they offer both, and obviously for schools 100% online it will be a very valid number, but the only hesitation I would have as you’re looking at that do remember that the entire completions number isn’t actually the online completions, but should give you a pretty good indicator in terms of the number of schools offering the program online.
Mark: Perfect. Well thanks for that Pete. I think that is all of the questions we have for right now. We’ll give it a few seconds here to let a few others come in if there are any. And Pete mentioned the next webcast on May 10th is on running our program portfolio process and how it might be implemented at your institution. And with that, we will conclude this afternoon. Thank you very much for everyone’s time and have a great rest of the day.