We are education technology experts.

Skip to main content

Episode 25

Enrollments are declining: is it necessarily a bad thing?

Brief description of the episode

Phil Hill, education technology consultant and popular blog writer of PhilOnEdTech, joins  Dipesh to talk about the recent decline in college enrollments, the benefits and drawbacks of this to the education industry, and makes some riveting predictions about the future of Higher Ed.


Key Takeaways:

  • The decline has been going on since much before the pandemic, but COVID only accelerated a pre-existing trend.
  • It’s changing the ways institutions strategize to survive and thrive in the industry and also, impacting the business of edtech companies.
  • The total enrollment in institutions in the past ten years has gone down from 20.7 million students to under 18 million students overall within the United States.
  • Most affected are the for-profit institutions, such as the University of Pheonix where enrollments have gone down from hundreds of thousands of students to below one hundred thousand students.
  • The expansion of educational opportunities in the form of non-degree certificates, alternative programs, and different types of credentials that are lower cost, quicker value options for learners and can help them get jobs without carrying the education debt.
  • The gradual interest of learners toward alternative pathways and choices to get value out of education other than enrolling in a degree-granting institution.
  • Forcing the system to try and figure out what new workers need, the skills they can acquire, how to better connect them to jobs, etc.
  • Institutions such as Western Governors University have benefitted the most by following a competency-based education central design.
  • Southern New Hampshire is another example, their online curriculum was very strategically designed to cater to who its learners are, and their needs.
  • Institutions should look deeply at the student’s needs and then come up with the infrastructure to meet those needs.
  • EdTech should focus on creating platforms that are not hard to understand or do not require training. It should be a smooth and straightforward process to keep students organized and ensure they can navigate easily.
  • Figure out where technology can give much quicker and easier access to feedback to learners so that they know how well they’re doing, but before it’s impacting their final grade.
  • Learning analytics should be used as a way to create a feedback loop and allow institutions to add more improvements to the system.

Stay informed.

Subscribe to receive the latest episode in your inbox.