Inquiry volumes improved in June for the five largest U.S. cities, according to Gray Associates, a higher education consulting firm. In three of the five cities, inquiries were higher, year-over-year, while in the two other cities the rate of decline slowed.
An inquiry is a prospective student’s request for information about an academic program or institution prior to applying. Gray tracks inquiry volume as part of its Program Evaluation System, used by colleges and universities to make strategic decisions regarding which academic programs to Start, Stop, Sustain or Grow.
The strongest showing was in Los Angeles, where inquiry volume rose 17 percent after dropping eight percent from June 2016 to June 2017. Philadelphia and Chicago reported gains of eight percent and five percent, respectively. A year ago, inquiries declined 13 percent in both markets.
The weakest showing was for New York, where inquiries fell by six percent year-over-year for June, a slight improvement over the seven percent decrease a year ago. Inquiry volume for Houston fell one percent, but vastly outperformed 2017, when inquiries dropped 26 percent.
Results for Five Largest Programs Mixed; Criminal Justice and Nursing Fall, while Medical Assistant and Healthcare Administration Increase
Three of the five largest programs had lower inquiry volume in June while the other two saw increases. The biggest decline was for Criminal Justice, down 70 percent, year-over-year. Registered Nursing fell 16 percent and Business Administration dropped one percent. Inquiries rose 64 percent for Medical Assistant and 13 percent for Healthcare Administration.
The five programs with the biggest year-over-year gains in June inquiry volume were: Health professions and related programs, up 128 percent; Electrical Engineering, up 110 percent; Cybersecurity, up 110 percent; Hospitality Administration, up 57 percent, and Liberal Arts and Sciences, up 53 percent.
The five programs with the largest year-over-year increases in Google search volume for June were all either healthcare or trade-related. “Asthetician/Esthetician and Skin Care Specialist” had the highest increase in search volume, up 36 percent, followed by Nail Technician/Special and Manicurist, up 28 percent; Medical Radiological Technology/Science and Truck and Bus Operator/Commercial Vehicle Operator and Instructor, both up 25 percent, and Surgical Technology/Technologist, up 18 percent.
The five programs with the biggest declines in year-over-year Google search volume for June were: Hotel/Motel Administration/Management, 64 percent lower; Education, General, 46 percent lower; Hospitality Administration/Management, General, 44 percent lower; Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science, General, 40 percent lower, and Criminal Justice/Safety Studies, 35 percent lower.
About Gray Associates
Gray Associates, Inc. is a higher education consulting firm. We help clients develop fact-based institutional and marketing strategies to maximize outcomes for students, the school, and its constituencies. Gray uses proprietary analytical techniques and an industry-leading database combining information on inquiry volumes, Google searches, demographics, competition, and employment, to help faculty and school leadership develop institutional strategies, select programs, pick locations, and prepare curricula.