graduate & online enrollment

New Online Student Data Points to 5 Interconnected Strategies for Online Growth

Scott JeffeVice President, Research (Graduate and Online)April 21, 2024
Webinar: Five Interconnected Strategies for Online Growth: Findings from RNL's New Online Student Recruitment Report

RNL will soon release its second national study of the preferences and expectations of online students. What did we learn from our 1,500 prospective and current online students? Get all the insights at our study release webinar on May 1, as RNL experts explore how the data can inform policies, practices, and priorities to ensure they align with student expectations.

We asked students about their motivations, concerns, search patterns, and decision-making processes, but also about their views on online study, the key features of programs they prefer to enroll in, and specifics about how to make their courses work with the rest of their lives.

When viewed holistically, the data lead to five interlinked action items that institutions must tackle in order to grow online enrollment. Each will be discussed by our panel:

  1. Invest in the recruitment process: Online students told us that their experience during the recruitment process will guide their decision. Investing in the recruitment team is the foundation of all the other “must dos” for institutions seeking growth.
  2. Create programs and courses that students want: Respondents shared which types of programs are attractive to online students and how they need their courses organized. Successful online programs are built on a careful balancing of student needs and academic priorities.
  3. Position programs to address aspirations and concerns: Online students told us why they enroll, why they select online, what concerns them, and more about who they are. Before institutions decide on channels and platforms, they need to work on messages and positioning.
  4. Marketing strategies begin with search engine optimization: The research shows how students search, how many programs they consider, and how they get information on programs of interest. Institutions need to figure out how to stretch their marketing budget to effectively reach as many students as possible.
  5. Artificial intelligence is increasingly effective in aligning processes with student expectations. Online students are using AI daily and are increasingly satisfied with the experience. Institutions need to advance AI in their operations both to meet student expectations and improve their own efficiency.

All webinar attendees will get early access to the full report, so register now to ensure you get to hear first-hand from the experts who wrote the report.

About the Author

Scott Jeffe

Scott Jeffe has worked with more than 200 institutions in 40+ states to apply market data to strategic decisions. With a focus on profiling the demands and preferences of nontraditional (adult, online, etc.) students, Scott...

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