Business Planning Case Study: The Future of the Education Industry
Understanding the conditions and forecasts of the industry in which you are planning your business is crucial. For example, never have the terms business plans and business models served as such strong prerequisites for higher education success. For generations, those in the field of higher education were clear about what students wanted from the college experience. As the gold standard, eight Ivy League institutions served as the ideal for the university campus, where students gathered for four years to simultaneously learn and grow into adulthood. Currently, however, that traditional model is under siege.
Research conducted in 2009 by Chronicle Research Services documents cataclysmic changes in student wants and needs. Instead of moving onto college campuses for four years, the study finds that more students will attend classes online, study part time, take courses from multiple universities, and jump in and out of colleges.
University admission officers project that by 2020, traditional students — full-time enrollees aged from 18 to 22 — will account for only half of university enrollments. They also anticipate that 60 percent of students will take courses entirely online, and that growing numbers of students will seek lower-cost alternatives to what’s currently called the four-year degree program. To address growing demand for convenience, flexibility, and affordability, planners project higher enrollment in community colleges, three-year degree programs, certification programs, and for-profit universities, which are already growing at a pace far greater than the rest of the higher education arena. No doubt, other higher education options, public and private, will also arise and thrive.
Amidst these changes, opportunities abound for educators who assess and adapt to the market changes. Threats await those who don’t.