For institutions struggling with recruitment and enrollment, continuing education could be a pathway for colleges and universities in need of delivering value to prospective students and finding alternative streams of revenue. But to have a successful continuing education (CE) program, institutions must dedicate adequate resources and technology to those programs.
According to a University Business survey analysis:
“One of the major drawbacks for half of all (continuing education) leaders surveyed is not having access to real-time enrollment numbers, despite senior administrators continually expressing the need for CE to both grow enrollments and revenues. Those data are much tougher to come by at larger institutions. A third say they don’t have the proper software to handle department needs.”
While the emphasis is still being placed on traditional enrollment efforts, recruiting prospective students for continuing education programs requires a non-traditional approach. University Business continued: “Around 90% of CE leaders see microcredentials, badges, and alternative pathways as being drivers of growth. Bolstering them can help meet market demand and help colleges hedge against third parties and bootcamp providers.”
It’s critical for institutions to know the enrollment trends and have a clear understanding of what CE programs are working. By improving the enrollment process, colleges and universities can make better decisions on how to allocate resources toward proper CE marketing, financing, and staffing. Here are three ways to get your CE program on track to higher enrollments and revenue generation:
1. Make searching for courses, credentials, and certificates as simple as possible.
Too often, institutional admission websites are difficult to navigate. Add in the complexity of searching for individual courses or certificate programs, and institutions can lose a significant percentage of prospective students within minutes of being on the college or university’s website. Courses or program information need to be available as part of the website, but available in a way that’s easy to interpret and register for.
2. Provide real-time availability and information about course offerings.
By streamlining the enrollment process for CE students, it’s imperative to provide up-to-date information on course availability, pricing, timing, modality, instructors, etc. Prospective students are more empowered consumers than ever before. Failing to keep accurate course information will undoubtedly lead to students abandoning the search process and potentially ending up with a competing program or institution.
3. Create a smooth payment and on-boarding process for prospective CE students.Companies like Amazon and Uber make it extremely easy to purchase a product or service, and it should be no different for continuing education programs. Because many CE programs require little to no prerequisite credentials, the “purchasing” process of a course or series of courses should be simple. This means, that the enrollment process for a prospective CE student must be very different from that of a traditional undergraduate or graduate student. CE students should be able to make course selections first and then provide the necessary enrollment information. Having CE students follow a traditional college application process unnecessarily complicates the experience and leads to higher abandonment rates.
Enrollment Solutions for the changing world of higher education
Realizing these recommendations don’t necessarily account for CE staffing limitations that many institutions are currently experiencing, Mutara provides institutions a Non-Degree Registration and Enrollment solution that reduces the impact on institutional staff while helping to meet CE enrollment goals. We accomplish this by providing a highly configurable solution that gives admissions offices complete control over the CE registration experience and leverages existing systems (SIS and/or CRMs).
To learn more:
On October 18 at 1PM CT, we will explore strategies for supporting all the types of continuing education you might want to provide, leveraging the existing investment you have in your student information and learning management systems, and optimizing how students find and enroll in your continuing education offerings.
Do you have questions or would like more information? Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.