New research: College presidents still concerned about meeting enrollment targets

Here’s a striking statistic: More than 8 in 10 college presidents are concerned about

  • having enough institutional aid to enroll students who are likely to be retained and graduate on time, and
  • enrolling their college’s target number of undergraduates.

These numbers come as part of the 2017 Survey of College and University Presidents. For this research, Helix Education partnered with Inside Higher Ed to discover what’s currently top-of-mind for higher education leaders. This survey, which compiled data from 706 surveys representing 385 public institutions and 292 private institutions, revealed that enrollment concerns are particularly acute for small, private nonprofits.

While the study also revealed greater confidence in institutions’ financial health over the next 10-year period, trepidation lingers for higher ed leaders around enrollment. Enrolling to retain and graduate appears to be a pain point for institutions, particularly for those institutions in the private sector. Among that cohort, 63% reported being “very concerned” about retaining students who will graduate on time. Additionally, 73% of those institutional leaders say they are “very concerned” about hitting overall enrollment targets, which was far more than presidents in any other type of institution.

The online modality also surfaced in the report as a topic of interest, as the majority of presidents expressed concern about enrolling more students studying online. Changing demographics in and consumption of education are likely drivers of this concern, as many colleges are seeing greater demand for online courses and programs.

Along with outlining business and financial perceptions, this report also covered a number of other highly salient topics for higher ed leaders. Other topics include:

  • Race relations
  • Image of higher education
  • Federal higher education policy
  • Effects of the Trump election on higher education
  • Speaking out on political matters

Download your free copy of the 2017 Survey of College and University Presidents to gain further insights into this year’s higher education landscape.

Danielle Caldwell

Danielle Caldwell is the Content Marketing Manager at Helix Education. Prior to her work with Helix, Danielle served as a full-time faculty member with Westminster College’s Master of Strategic Communication program in Salt Lake City. Danielle brings nearly a decade of experience in research, communication, and higher education, and she currently still teaches graduate courses in organizational communication and research methods as an adjunct professor at Westminster College.