September Higher Ed Inquiries Rose 2 Percent, Reports Gray Associates

November 21, 2018

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.

October National Inquiries

The gains in inquiry volume came from online programs and institutions, up eight percent year-over-year in September.  Inquiries for on-campus programs were six percent lower.

Also, rural states tended to have the largest growth in inquiry volume, while volume fell or was flat in three of the five largest U.S. cities.  Arkansas showed the largest gain, up 18 percent.  North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, and West Virginia also saw increases of 14.34 percent or more.

Among the five largest cities, Los Angeles showed the most growth, up 18 percent, followed by Houston, up six percent.  Inquiry volume was flat for New York, down two percent for Chicago and off by five percent for Philadelphia.

The higher growth in inquiries from rural states is consistent with the growth in online programs, Mr. Atkins noted.  “While total demand from these states isn’t that high, demand per capita tends to be high.”

Download all of the trends here:

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.

Bob Atkins, CEO of Gray Associates, believes that a healthy program portfolio rests on four strong foundations, he explained.  They are; fit with the institutional mission, alignment of academic standards and student outcomes, healthy program markets with strong student demand and employment prospects for graduates, and enough contribution-positive programs to fund mission-critical programs that may lose money.

Media contact: 
Ellis Simon, 516-524-6804,
Company contact:
Mark Keleher, 617-366-2831,

Gray Associates

Gray Associates, Inc. provides the best available data, software, and facilitated processes to help higher education institutions make high-stakes decisions regarding academic programs, pricing, and locations.

Related Posts

Stars Are Aligning for Astrology Programs

Looking for a unique and popular program that’s perfect for students? Look no further than Astrology! With growing interest in wellness, psychology, and astronomy, this program is on the rise across all award levels. From strong completion rates to skyrocketing enrollment and trending Google searches, Astrology is a program that’s truly aligning with the stars.

Start, Stop, or Grow: A Master Class on Academic Program Evaluation and Management

Improve your institution’s academic program portfolio with Gray’s free Master Class series led by experienced higher-education decision-makers. This four-part series covers data analysis, AI and machine learning, program evaluation, and student success integration. Stay ahead of the competition and ensure success by evaluating programs based on mission, academics, markets, and margins.

Boost Enrollment and Prepare Your Students for a Hot Job Market

With completions trending up, enrollment on the rise, and an 87% growth rate in Google searches for marketing programs, now is the time to start or expand your institution’s Marketing program. Gray’s latest analysis shows why careers in marketing are booming and why institutions looking to grow their enrollment and improve student employment options should consider offering a bachelor’s program in Marketing.

About Us
closeup photo of

Gray Associates, Inc. is a software and services firm focused on higher education. We help education clients develop fact-based institutional and marketing strategies that maximize outcomes for students, the school, and its constituencies.

Let’s Socialize

Popular Post
Subscribe to Our Blog

Don’t miss the latest research and insights from Gray Associates