Preparing for downturns & demographic shifts

Education Dive recently explored how Maryville, Arizona State, and the University of Maine are igniting (or reigniting) growth via online education. They know the economy won’t stay strong forever — and even if it does, there will be fewer 18-22-year-olds to fill campus classrooms. Online learning is a key to their strategic response.

Ed Dive makes powerful points about the opportunity in adult learning (30 million potential students). Also: the importance of scale and infrastructure in online programs, the investments required to succeed, and the tough competition.

Based on our experience running 350 online programs with our university partners, we agree — and we’d stress that you can succeed.

One way, as our partner at Maryville told Ed Dive, is to “find the unmet need.” Right now, sizable opportunities exist if you know where to look.

Next, widen your geographical reach. You can draw students from across the country, and the right national marketing can have a “halo effect” on campus enrollments, too.

Once a student’s enrolled, retain them — by helping them progress, graduate, an achieve their career goals.

And remember, it’s easier to build a great online program with a strategic partner who can fill in the gaps wherever you need it, whether that’s in strategy, investment, marketing, recruitment, student support, or across the board.

We believe it’s worth your time to go read Ed Dive’s article. Once you do, tell us what you think. And let’s talk. This topic is critically important, and so is this conversation.