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The End of Higher Education Enrollment As We Know It

Heads’ up admissions professionals! A near-cataclysmic shift in the recruitment market is headed your way and only serious preparation for the new paradigm will allow you to stay afloat.

Although colleges have fattened up with lots of affluent, prepared college students over the last 20 years research suggests those good days are over.

According to the Pew Foundation, significantly fewer students will be applying to college over the next decade. The number of high school grads peaked at 33 million in 2009 and will not likely be matched again until, wait for it… 2020. Ouch.

Without a plan of action, this drop-off will leave colleges and universities in a serious financial bind as they continue to invest heavily on new professors, programs, and infrastructure based on a growth curve that will quickly fall out from under them.

Also, the group of kids who will apply won’t be anything like the old ones. Generally speaking, the next several incoming classes will be filled with significantly more ESL students who will likely be the first person in their family to attend college. They’ll need more financial aid and will likely be less prepared for college life than the average current student.

To make matters more difficult for recruiters, the coming groups of students – regardless of race or socioeconomic status – probably won’t respond to your mass e-mails, shiny catalogs, or high school recruiters anymore; they’re hooked on Facebook and depend on social media, the internet, and online word-of-mouth – instead of you – to do their college shopping.

Sad story, right? Well, it’s your party and you can cry if you want to, but tears might be premature.

If colleges and universities begin now to direct funds away from continued expansion and towards managed, multi-channel, two-way communications with potential students, they can stilll come out on top. Recruiters will need to speak their language and communicate in their way – Twitter, Facebook, text messaging – but it can be done.

The nationwide admissions block party might be over, but your new fiesta might be just the key to bring in the class.

Read more and download the full white paper here: The End of Higher Education Enrollment .