Eduventures Summit

Eduventures Summit 2018: 5 Analysts' Insights

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Tomorrow evening we look forward to welcoming you, our clients, colleagues, and friends, to Boston for Eduventures Summit 2018 Higher Ed Remastered: The Great Debate. While in years past higher education agreed on the fundamentals, today it is suffering from a rare lack of consensus—about everything from mission to product, and regulation to values.

What should we learn from presidential leadership? How should the voice of the consumer guide our approach to workforce preparation? Does online education actually reduce inequality?

Over the next three days, questions like these will be debated by thought leaders like Doris Kearns Goodwin, chronicler of U.S. Presidents, Carol D’Amico of Strada Education Network, and our own Richard Garrett, among others.

Eduventures analysts will lead workshops on topics ranging from student recruitment to student success, including the debut of our new recruitment marketing study, the Student Sentiment Survey. Here is a brief preview of what you can expect.

Does Online Higher Education Reduce Inequality?
Follow the Data: Transitioning from Millennial to Gen Z
Introducing the Student Sentiment Survey: 5 New Realities in Recruitment Marketing
Converting Adult Learner Mindsets into Action
Student Success: Defining and Aligning Your Technology

Does Online Higher Education Reduce Inequality?

Richard Garrett, Chief Research Officer

We are used to hearing that online learning helps nontraditional students make college possible, often years after dropping out of a conventional program. Sixty-five percent of fully online undergraduates are adult learners, compared to only 20% of students who study on campus.

There is no question that online enrollment continues to climb, but is online learning reaching the students who need it most? How do online degrees fare when it comes to student outcomes?

At Eduventures Summit we will take a fresh approach to analyzing the online higher education market—focused on geography and demographics. Only by looking at how the online market is playing out at a local level can we shed some light on the question of inequality.

Some argue that online learning makes geography irrelevant—students can study anywhere, anytime. But it’s not that simple. The typical online student lives within driving distance of school, and many institutions see online as a new way to serve local populations. At the same time, some schools have embraced online as a way to break out of regional confines and conquer the national market. Which model serves students best?

Figure 1 shows the 10 states with the lowest rate of educational attainment among adults.

The Front Line for Online Higher Education The 10 states with the lowest Bachelor’s degree attainment(population aged 25-44)- 21-26% (2017)

Figure 1: The Front Line for Online Higher Education?

Are these the states where online learning has taken off?

Online higher education is playing out in very different ways by state, city, and other areas across the nation. At Summit we will look at the evidence—in terms of enrollment and outcomes—for whether online higher education is in fact helping to reduce inequality.

Follow the Data: Transitioning from Millennial to Gen Z

Kim Reid, Principal Analyst

Generation Z (Gen Z) has arrived on the doorstep of our college campuses as the last of the Millennial generation graduates, heads into the workforce, and becomes the next generation of adult learners. It’s time to take a quick look back, and then a considered look forward, to understand how colleges and universities must pivot to better serve them.

Just consider these facts from 2007:

  • Millennials had a hard time trusting email as a source of information for college search.
  • The idea of social media (in the form of My Space!) was even stranger.
  • Few believed they would have to take on student loans.

Transition of Millennials to Generation Z

Figure 2.

Despite all the change, college search is still fundamentally about finding the right fit, but understanding what fits a new cohort of students is key.

Based on Eduventures data, this keynote session will begin with an analysis of the key changes in the college choice landscape for college-bound Gen Z-ers compared to Millennials. We’ll then illustrate the critical ways that institutions must adjust their strategy to work with Gen Z students effectively.

Introducing the Student Sentiment Survey: 5 New Realities in Recruitment Marketing

Johanna Trovato, Senior Analyst

For the past decade, the National Research Center for College and University Admissions (NRCCUA) co-produced a recruitment marketing survey called e-Expectations. Over many years, this survey followed college-bound, high school-aged Millennials onto email and social media—once innovative channels that promised to save time and stretch marketing dollars further.

Instead of being the panacea we had hoped for 10 years ago, however, digital channels have only added to an increasingly complicated recruitment marketing landscape. And, Gen Z is presenting us with a new set of behaviors to adjust to. While these students are connected to the internet during most of their waking hours—through mobile devices—they spend less time on Twitter and Facebook than Millennials did just a couple of years ago.

A new recruiting era calls for a renewed approach, and this is why in 2018 Eduventures, the research division of NRCCUA, developed the Student Sentiment Survey. We took the best parts of e-Expectations, including NRCCUA’s proprietary national panel of high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors, and applied analysis techniques used in other Eduventures surveys, including Prospective Student Mindsets™.

For the first time, we will preview these findings at Summit. They include, among other things, six distinct search strategies used by prospective students (Figure 3).

High School Students Apply Different Strategies in Their College Search

Figure 3.

We welcome you to join us for this workshop to re-learn how to capture the attention of your prospective students!

Converting Adult Learner Mindsets into Action

Howard Lurie, Principal Analyst

Eduventures’ 2017 Adult Prospect Survey reveals that adult learners often exhibit contradictory behaviors when it comes to making decisions about continuing their education. This is especially true when it comes to the kinds of information sources they use to research their options.

Among prospects seeking graduate degrees, for example, no single source stands out as having universal appeal to prospects with distinct mindsets (Figure 4).

During the Prior Year, Which SourcesHave You Used to Research Schools? Figure 4.

The challenge is for schools to not only recognize these patterns, but enact marketing strategies and messaging that resonate with the divergent behaviors of prospective adult learners.

This workshop will put this question to the test. What is working and what remains a challenge for adult learner recruitment? How does this stack up to Eduventures’ 2017 Adult Prospect Survey data? We will explore how specific Adult Prospect Mindsets™ may respond to marketing, recruitment strategies, and enrollment messaging and interventions.

Student Success: Defining and Aligning Your Technology

James Wiley, Principal Analyst

While we use the term "student success” ubiquitously across higher education, it is not always obvious what we mean by this term. Is it student achievement? Career readiness? Or, perhaps student persistence to graduation? These are just a few possibilities.

Compounding this lack of clarity is a crowded technology marketplace in which all solutions, be they learning analytics, retention technology, or career readiness solutions, claim to solve your “student success” problems. As a result, college and university leaders—too often with fuzzy ideas of which student success problem they want to solve—select solutions that may or may not actually solve those problems.

To provide a sense of scale, Figure 5 illustrates the percentage of implementations at all colleges and universities for the three technology segments listed above.

Percentage of Institutional Implementations by SegmentFigure 5.

This workshop aims to help stakeholders unpack the different meanings and drivers of student success and understand how this impacts technology acquisition. We will cover the following questions:

  • What do we mean by “student success” and what are the key drivers?
  • How do our definitions of "student success" impact our technology-related decisions?
  • Are there other considerations (agility, scalability, etc.) that should come into play?
  • How do we know whether our different technology solutions are supporting our student success initiatives?
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