Average Pay-Per-Inquiry Could Eclipse $50; The Highest Price Since 2016.

Posted by Bob Atkins on Jul 16, 2018 4:30:00 PM

Average Price per Inquiry in Higher Education

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Topics: Inquiry Source


Gray Associates to Launch Program Economics at National Association of College and Business Officers (NACUBO) Annual Meeting

Posted by Ellis Simon on Jul 13, 2018 11:05:00 AM

Program Economics from Gray Associates

Gray now has the capability to help you evaluate the markets for academic programs – and their economics.  Many higher education institutions do not know the costs, revenue, or margin of their academic programs. As a result, institutional leaders must make programmatic decisions without a clear understanding of the effects on their college’s financials.  Potential misunderstandings can hurt financial performance by closing programs only to find that the lost revenue exceeds the cost savings, or by growing programs that have high incremental costs but average tuition.

Gray's Program Economics will address these potential misconceptions by estimating and tracking program profitability.  Access to Program Economics, a SaaS tool from Gray, will enable colleges and universities to realize the contribution margin by program for each of the following metrics:

  • Revenue by course and program
  • Direct costs by course and program
  • Indirect costs allocable to each program
  • Contribution margin percentages and dollars by program
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Topics: Higher Education


Google Searches Fall While Inquiries Rise, Muddling Higher Education Demand Outlook, Gray Associates Reports

Posted by Ellis Simon on Jul 10, 2018 8:25:16 AM

Has demand for higher education finally turned the corner or is it continuing to decline?  The answer is not immediately clear, because two key data sets used to measure demand are at odds, reports Gray Associates, a Massachusetts-based strategy consulting firm focused on higher education.

While Google search volume fell, year-over-year, for May, inquiry volume was higher.  Inquiries are requests for information about specific programs that are compiled by online aggregators and marketing agencies.  A segment of these inquiries are sold to colleges and universities as qualified leads.

Both are indicators of current demand by location, but they have different functions.  Google search volume indicates overall market interest by program; Inquiry volume data is used to assess demand for specific programs and award levels.  Gray also incorporates IPEDS completion data, which is reported annually, as a lagging indicator of student demand.

Inquiry volume had been dropping for several years, noted Gray Founder and CEO Robert Atkins.  However, it was higher or flat for four of the first five months of 2018.

“The decline in inquiries seems to be slowing, but, unfortunately, the decline in Google searches is not,” said Mr. Atkins.  “We have a little bit of disparity in trends between the two data sources, which would suggest that, while the trend may be less bad than it used to be, it would be premature to be optimistic that we are going to start growing.”

Gray has been tracking inquiries since 2012 and Google searches since 2016.  We reported a four percent year-over-year increase in inquiry volume for May, following a one percent rise for April, but a seven percent drop for March.

Google search volume for programs of instruction was down three percent (see chart below), year-over-year, in May while brand searches fell six percent.  Both program searches and brand searches for the first five months of 2018 are five percent below 2017.  Gray tracks search volume for the 200 largest higher education programs and for a sample of 75 higher education brands.
Google Searches for Higher Education Programs copy

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Topics: Higher Education


Multi-Dimensional Analyses for Academic Programs Across the United States.

Posted by Bob Atkins on Jul 9, 2018 9:15:00 AM

Multi-Dimensional Analyses for Academic Programs

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Topics: Higher Education


Search Volumes for the Top 200 Academic Programs are Down in 2018.

Posted by Bob Atkins on Jul 6, 2018 11:30:00 AM

Google Search Trends in Higher Education

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Topics: Google Search Volumes


A 4% Jump in Demand for Higher Education Programs.

Posted by Bob Atkins on Jul 5, 2018 1:45:00 PM

Demand for Higher Education Programs

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Topics: Inquiry Volumes


Soft Skills Get a Graduate's Foot in the Door

Posted by Bob Atkins on Jul 4, 2018 10:00:00 AM

A labor shortage in science and technology-based fields has led U.S. institutions of higher learning to put greater emphasis on their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) programs.  In some instances, institutions are emphasizing STEM at the expense of their liberal arts programs.  This is shortsighted.

While solid technical skills are a must for students looking for careers in high-paying, specialized fields such as health care and technology, they aren't likely to lead to good jobs by themselves.  Increasingly, employers are also demanding that candidates have strong business and office "soft skills."

A foundation in the liberal arts helps job seekers acquire these skills and can give them an edge.  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.

For example, the primary work activities that fit best with jobs in computer science are "design data processing systems," "write computer programs or code," and "design data security systems."  These work activities are all technical.

Gray Associates - Computer Science Primary Work Activities

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Topics: Higher Education


Arizona Imports More Online Students Than Any Other State.

Posted by Bob Atkins on Jun 20, 2018 1:00:00 PM

Student Demand for Online Education

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Topics: Online Programs


Where Should You Offer Your Online Programs?

Posted by Bob Atkins on Jun 18, 2018 10:15:00 AM

Market Analysis Program (MAP)

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Topics: Higher Education, Programs and Cities


Student Interest in These Eight Academic Programs Is Declining – Fast!

Posted by Bob Atkins on Jun 17, 2018 4:00:00 PM

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Topics: Google Search Volumes