Parchment + Quottly: How We are Turning Credentials Into Opportunities, Together
College enrollment has been hit by major social and economic happenings and admissions trends that colleges and universities must help students navigate in order to improve enrollment. Parchment can help you reach best-fit prospective students. Keep reading to learn about how to increase college enrollment this year.
If your college’s enrollment has declined over the last few years, you’re not alone. According to reporting by NPR, college enrollment is down by one million students since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. What’s going on in America? Why aren’t high school graduates enrolling in college? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons for the decline in enrollment in colleges and universities across the nation and how this reduced enrollment rate is affecting higher ed institutions.
Sheltering in place wasn’t kind to colleges across the country. When school reopened, however, enrollment did not bounce back — it declined. Only 2% of the 2020 high school graduating class enrolled a year later in fall 2021, slightly less than 2.2% in 2019, according to The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s (NSCRC) high school benchmarks report. What are the factors affecting college enrollment?
The 2021 High School Benchmarks report found income level correlates with college enrollment after graduation for recent graduating classes of 2020 and 2021 in the following ways:
*Low-income schools are defined as schools where at least 50 percent of the students are eligible for a free or reduced-price lunch. High School Benchmarks, December 1, 2021.
**High-minority schools are defined as schools where at least 40 percent of the students are African American or Hispanic. High School Benchmarks, December 1, 2021.
It could be argued that students with the means are able to find a way to pay for college and those with fewer resources are more likely to enter the labor force immediately after graduation, earning higher wages and not incurring debt. There is evidence to support that a strong economy is a large factor in lower college enrollment rates. In fact, community college enrollment is down 13.9% since 2019, compared to the 1.7% dip in private four-year institution enrollment levels.
So then, why has college enrollment been falling in recent years? A college education is still an important factor in career development and earnings potential. In 2020, the median weekly earnings with a bachelor’s degree was $1,305 or 67% higher than that of a high-school graduate. Additionally, unemployment rates are much higher (9%) for high-school graduates than college grads (5.5%) two years ago. What has changed?
The following are thought to be main drivers of the precipitous fall in college enrollment in the last two years:
It’s tough to say how larger economic and social factors may play a role in the college enrollment levels in the future. Today, higher-education institutions are looking for new ways to stay competitive and attract the best-fit students. And it’s often up to the admissions department to come up with better ways to reach students where they are and make it easier to search for colleges.
Parchment’s leading college admissions software solution can help your admissions department improve its marketing and find better-fit students with an approach that meets young people where they are. Avoid outdated enrollment strategies and start increasing your college’s or university’s enrollment today.
Strategies for increasing student enrollment are all about — you guessed it — the students! (Their parents or guardians are pretty important, too.)
We put together a list of ideas to get you started on guiding high-school students from all around the country and the world to your institution for an invaluable post-secondary education:
The practice of buying student data or counting heads from college tours aren’t over — they’re outdated. For higher education to embrace the latest graduating classes (from all over the world), they have to embrace technological tools for analyzing student data. As we noted earlier in this post, there are some big systems (i.e., the economy and global pandemic) imposing changes to how higher ed recruits high-school graduates. In addition, as admissions strategies change — test-optional admissions and the whole-person approach — analysis of student data, both peer aggregate and individual, is even more important for college enrollment rates.
Since the dawn of the social media age, savvy admissions professionals have turned to social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to find high-school graduates who will enroll and complete a degree. Other colleges have placed tracking software, otherwise known as cookies, to their college website that collects data on who visits their site.
Big data is a critical tool used to understand prospective students and to create personalized communications on those platforms. Institutions of higher learning are learning how to use predictive analytics to help answer the question, “What is the likelihood of that high-school graduate from De Pere, WI, who just visited our biological sciences programs page, enrolling here?”
Targeted marketing that reaches prospective students where they are, when they’re thinking about where they want to go to college, is powerful and possible. Today’s tools can analyze recruitment data and discover those best-fit attributes, demographic, academic and extracurricular information so you can have much more productive communication with the student. Engaging with a student doesn’t stop with placing a banner ad on Instagram for your award-winning international studies program.
When you partner with Parchment, your admissions department gets more than an email with a name, location and timestamp of a user’s visit to your arts administration program page. You get very in-depth details about prospective students so you can have meaningful conversations that make your admissions effort more effective and the students’ decisions easier which both lead to next year’s enrollment increase.
Parchment Recruit is a powerful tool for college admissions and enrollment officers who want to maximize their visits. You can find new schools and districts that your peers are having success recruiting at and help flag which current feeder schools you can improve your recruiting efforts. With Parchment Recruit, you can form an effective plan to build and strengthen connections based on region — making the most out of your time and budget.
Students want to hear from you. Parchment Recruit can help you make that all important connection.
Parchment Recruit is waiting to be unlocked so your college can reach its enrollment goals and, most importantly, so students can find you!