It is Time to Prepare for Increased Competition

John W. Dysart
President
The Dysart Group

Competition has been fierce for most colleges and universities over the last decade.  Changing demographics, increased costs and stagnant investment in financial aid at both the state and federal levels have made it harder for institutions to even maintain their enrollments, much less realize material growth.  The evolution in the market taking place in recent years, and likely to continue, is making things even more challenging.

  • Declines in state support for financial aid continue. We are seeing a real change as states shift responsibility for providing access away from the local community and toward the federal government.  This problem is exacerbated by the fact that the federal government does not seem interested in greater investment in financial aid.
  • Historic drops in state support for higher education in the form of subsidies for public colleges and universities is transforming the competitive landscape. Many public institutions are implementing enrollment management models and are becoming much more aggressive in recruiting both in-state and out-of-state students.
  • Changes are also occurring in the market for international students. Colleges are already reporting some apprehension in the interest of international students in attending American college and universities, given the recent political changes in this country.
  • Watch for greater competition from Canadian schools as many of them are also now adopting enrollment management models. Tuition discounting is becoming much more popular in the Canadian market.

The reality of competition is nothing new.  Forces are in play, however, that are likely to make an already competitive market even more so.