Key takeaways you will find in this article

  • Higher education student enrollment is in decline throughout the United States
  • Since 2010, total undergraduate enrollment in the United States has trended downward, falling 15% as of 2021, with 42% of this decline occurring during the pandemic
  • Fewer than 1 million students are currently enrolled in college
  • Institutions need to take proactive steps to increase enrollment like improving their campuses

College enrollment is declining across the United States, affecting students and institutions alike. 

For higher education institutions, this enrollment decline can lead to budget cuts that limit resources, research, or faculty hiring. 

Fortunately, there are strategies schools can use to drive student enrollment, increase retention, and help reverse this trend.

In this article, we will explore how to increase the student enrollment rate via ten key strategies every college should try to build lasting success for their institution.

Why is college enrollment declining?

College enrollment has steadily declined for over a decade, spiking after the COVID-19 pandemic. Since 2010, total undergraduate enrollment in the United States has trended downward, falling 15% as of 2021, with 42% of this decline occurring during the pandemic. 

One million fewer college students are enrolled in school. Access to education affects the next generation’s career opportunities and can lead to less money for colleges and universities, limiting resources such as faculty hiring or research funding. 

Declining enrollments could hurt local economies near that institution and lead to fewer professionals in education-focused fields that require degrees, such as law or medicine. 

Fortunately, college enrollment rates may increase by 9 percent by 2031. That’s if colleges take proper steps to increase student enrollment numbers.

College student enrollment has fallen by 1.6 million over the past decade. If universities apply proper strategies it may climb by .8 million by 2031.

Why are student enrollment strategies in higher ed necessary?

Given the implications of declining college enrollment, schools must take proactive steps and employ strategies to increase attendance. 

Leading institutions focus on creating a positive learning environment that meets the needs of their prospective student base and achieves their enrollment goal. They offer competitive higher education tuition rates, provide financial aid packages, increase marketing efforts, and improve campus amenities. 

Engaging with the local community can also be an effective way for higher education institutions to increase awareness and generate excitement amongst potential applicants.

Schools should also improve operations, improving overall experiences for current and future students. Leading institutions develop innovative course offerings or modernize existing educational programs to meet today’s standards. 

Many explore new teaching methods, such as flipped classrooms, or incorporate technology into lectures or lab work. This keeps up with trends and can make learning more interactive and enjoyable for students.

Finally, investing in faculty development initiatives such as professional training workshops or coaching sessions helps ensure educators are at the top of their game when educating tomorrow’s leaders.

Higher ed enrollment strategies are necessary because, without them, many colleges and universities may struggle to stay afloat financially. Taking proactive steps now can help reverse this trend while ensuring quality education remains accessible for everyone regardless of background or economic situation.

How to increase college enrollment

There are a few strategies higher education administrators need to focus on to increase college enrollment. Let’s explore the top 10.

1. Campus beautification

Investing in campus beautification projects goes beyond making the grounds more appealing. It can also signal that a school cares about its image and strives to create an inviting environment for current and future students. 

A recent Student Voice survey on facilities found that about two-thirds of students factor campus facilities into their college decision at least somewhat.

And 34% percent of students at four-year universities considered campus appearance a major factor in choosing their school, so the importance is undoubtedly significant.

A beautiful campus is also helpful in potentially drawing attention from local businesses looking for partners. They know people passing through will garner positive attention and bring in more residents, which creates even stronger ties within the communities your institution serves.

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2. Advertise

Advertising is critical for institutions. Schools should use traditional and digital advertising platforms like local newspapers, radio stations, television commercials, and social media outlets. These are helpful for increasing enrollment. 

3. Tuition rate discounts

Offering discounted tuition rates can effectively entice high school students to attend a college or university. It makes higher education more affordable for many prospective applicants who may not have considered it before due to financial constraints.

4. Financial aid packages

Providing financial aid packages to high school or adult students help make college more accessible. They reduce the amount of money needed upfront from families with limited resources or incomes below a certain threshold level. 

These packages can include grants or scholarships that cover some or all of tuition costs along with other incentives like textbook assistance programs for a potential student. These packages reduce expenses for low-income students.

5. Outreach programs

Outreach programs give colleges and universities direct access to high school institutions across their region. They allow a high school student to build an academic relationship with an educator before enrolling. 

6. Online information sessions

Host regular online information sessions where prospective full time students and their families can learn about the programs, campus life, and opportunities offered by the college. These sessions can help address any questions or concerns they may have and provide a more personalized experience.

7. Alumni success stories

Highlighting successful alumni’s achievements can be a powerful tool in attracting new students. Share stories, testimonials, and career paths of graduates who have excelled in their fields after attending your college.

8. Specialized workshops and seminars

Offer specialized workshops and seminars that showcase the institution’s unique strengths and programs. These events can provide hands-on experiences and insights demonstrating the value of attending college at your institution.

9. Targeted social media campaigns

Create targeted social media campaigns focusing on specific demographics or regions with a higher concentration of potential students. Tailor the content to highlight the strengths and offerings that resonate with those audiences.

10. Collaborative partnerships

Forge partnerships with local businesses, organizations, and community colleges to create pathways for students to transfer or receive additional support. These collaborations can provide added incentives for prospective students to choose your institution.

How to increase college enrollment through best practices

Higher education marketers should utilize digital marketing tools such as targeted emails, online advertisements, and social media campaigns to reach more students effectively reach more potential undergraduate students. They also spread awareness about a college or university’s offerings. 

These strategies allow an educational institution to communicate directly with potential applicants cost-effectively. They also allow them to track the success of their efforts through analytics.

Schools should also consider creating content tailored for mobile users likely to access information online. This includes developing videos optimized for streaming services or designing interactive websites that promote their institution quickly and efficiently.

Hosting campus events is another excellent way for colleges and universities to engage with local communities while generating interest among prospective students. Schools should consider offering open houses where visitors can take tours of the school grounds, attend informational presentations from faculty members, or participate in interactive activities related to the college experience. 

These events give individuals a chance to get familiar with what the school has to offer before making any enrollment decisions, which could make all the difference when deciding between multiple institutions. Leading facilities management platforms allow institutions to seamlessly host and publicize events. 

Finally, keeping higher ed facilities in working order does more than increase their curb appeal. Well-maintained universities also increase college admissions and enhance student education outcomes. Campus conditions are an often overlooked factor. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cites poorly maintained facilities as a driver of lower poor performance for academic programs.  

How can facilities management software help your enrollment strategy?

FMX is a powerful and comprehensive student enrollment management system that provides an array of features to help colleges and universities increase operational efficiency while also reducing costs. 

With FMX, institutions can gain visibility into the status of their assets, track maintenance requests, create capital planning reports for long-term improvements, streamline communication between departments with automated notifications, and more. By leveraging these capabilities, colleges can better manage their physical resources and provide quality educational experiences to students.

Through the platform, institutions have increased the aesthetic appeal of their campus and created a more student-friendly environment for prospective and current enrollees.  

If you’d like to learn more about our facilities management software for higher education, get in touch with us at FMX.

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