Health Services and Mental Health Counseling programs both had a surge in December inquiries from prospective students, which rose 100% or more. These two programs had the highest inquiry growth of any of the 75 largest programs that Gray tracks.
December Inquiry Volume Rose 9% Year-Over-Year; 1.8% Higher for All of 2018
In December 2018, student demand for higher education programs rose sharply, according to Gray Associates, a higher education strategy consulting firm. The firm reported inquiry volume rose nine percent from December 2017 while Google searches for specific programs increased eight percent. Growth was particularly strong for online programs. Gray is optimistic that rising interest will lead to enrollment growth in 2019.
Despite mediocre employment opportunities and a crowded market, inquiries for Criminal Justice programs continued their surge, rising 26% in December 2018. In contrast, inquiries for Medical Assistant programs continued a multi-year decline, falling 17%. But, there are over 1.1 million people working as Medical Assistants and the number has grown an average of 4.4% annually for the last three years. There were over 191,000 related job postings in 2018. That is more than 2.8 job postings for every Medical Assisting graduate. We may yet have a shortage in a field that was once very crowded.
Inquiries for on-campus programs have been falling for years but rose in October and November 2018. Sadly, they resumed their fall in December, dropping 6.5%. The worst may still be ahead for on-ground programs.
While some believe that growth in online programs has peaked, the data suggest that the best is yet to come. Inquiry volumes rose almost every month in 2018 for an annual average growth rate of 6.2%. Growth in December beat the average, surging 9%.
Gray tracks inquiries, essentially online forms filled out by potential students interested in higher education programs. Inquiry volume had been dropping, often by double digits, for over five years. 2018 broke the trend. Inquiries increased 1.7% for the year and sprinted to the finish with a 9% rise in December.
Inquiries for higher education programs rose 10 percent year-over-year in October, according to Gray Associates, a higher education strategy consulting firm. The gain was the largest since the firm began tracking the data in 2015.
Topics: Higher Education
Topics: Programs and Cities
Inquiry volume for higher education rose two percent year-over-year in September, reports Gray Associates, a higher education strategy consulting firm. Inquiries are now higher for the most recent five months.
“After several years of decline, it is gratifying to see monthly results come in ahead of last year, indicating somewhat stronger demand for higher education,” said Gray Founder and CEO Robert Atkins. "Higher inquiry volume could be indicative of a resurgence of demand for some for-profit programs since these institutions rely more on inquiries than public and independent non-profit colleges and universities," he added.
An inquiry is a prospective student’s request for information about an academic program or institution prior to submitting an application. Gray tracks inquiry volume as part of its Program Evaluation System, which colleges and universities use to make decisions about which programs to Start, Stop, Sustain or Grow.
Topics: Higher Education