The Enrollment Shift Is On. Are You Ready?

Nate MouttetVice President, Graduate and Online SolutionsOctober 27, 2023
Blog: The Enrollment Shift
More universities need to adapt to the new enrollment realities.

As I travel around the country talking to institutional leaders, I have realized that something has really shifted in higher education. The combination of the oncoming enrollment cliff and the pandemic’s abrupt and forced adoption of online learning has made more institutions than ever realize that the dramatic shift that everyone has been talking about for years is finally here. As colleges look for a more sustainable supply of students and realize that online or hybrid modality has become the preferred method of learning for many, colleges and universities are saying that this is where they’re going to shift their attention.

Until recently, the real question has been whether anything has really changed. Other than placing a bullet point in a strategic plan that says they will grow graduate and online learning, has there been an actual shift in resource allocation or infrastructure to support this new focus and the related goals?

Universities across the spectrum were primarily built to serve the needs of traditional undergraduate students. Whether they are large public universities or smaller private universities that developed an array of graduate and professional studies programs, these offerings were largely seen as auxiliary structures or a feather in their academic reputation cap. But then “Mega Universities” and other clever, resourceful institutions began to see these adult and graduate students as the primary audience. They showed that with a shift in institutional priorities, along with resource and infrastructure, there was a way to navigate the challenges of the traditional-age student market, other demographic-driven changes, and a pressing need to adjust to new modalities (realities) of learning.

Where is your institution on this journey and what role can you play in helping the institution make the shift?

In the last year, RNL has begun working more institutions than ever—and continued working with others—that are realizing that they just “can’t do it all” in this new environment. Thoughtful decisions are being made regarding those things that they want (and should) take on themselves and those things that just make more sense to rely on a good partner. We love being a part of these conversations, and RNL’s commitment to “aggressive transparency” fits well at institutions that understand that there are essential new things that must be done to attract, enroll, and retain students. The commitment to transparency allows institutions to “look over our shoulder” and learn how these new strategies and tactics are done.

We can join you on this journey as we sit down and look at your institutional readiness to make this shift. Our 2-day opportunity analysis is a chance for us a join you to review our national and regional trend reports, graduate student research, and online modality research and help analyze your readiness to make the shift. RNL as a company has chosen to make the shift by continuing to support traditional enrollment, but also adding our graduate in online division to bring all of our resources to bear as a partnership with campuses ready to make the shift. Find out what we can do to help you adapt, enroll, and succeed in this environment.

Uncover your optimal strategies with an RNL Opportunity Analysis

Talk with RNL’s senior executive team about how you can navigate your challenges and find the right strategies to reach your goals. We have collectively conducted hundreds of assessments, and we can conduct one for your institution virtually or in person. You will be surprised at the wealth of information you will learn.

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About the Author

A career higher education enrollment leader, Nate helps RNL providers adopt growth and scale solutions to stabilize or expand their graduate and online programs. Nate is an expert in graduate and online program marketing, program...

Read more about Nate's experience and expertise

Reach Nate by e-mail at Nate.Mouttet@RuffaloNL.com.

Read More Blogs By: Nate Mouttet