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Understanding the Adult Student

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What are the most important factors in an adult student's enrollment decisions? Data on adult student- undergraduate and graduate- decision making patterns gathered from Aslanian market studies will be presented. The data will lead to a discussion on: motivation; the effect of cost, convenience, and/or quality; the importance of institutional messaging; the effect of institutional messaging; the effect of institutional messaging; the effect of institutional policy making; and more.

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Understanding the Adult Student

  1. 1. Understanding the Adult Student Decision Making Process Scott Jeffe Director Aslanian Market Research Session evaluation keyword: jeffe 2014 CALEM, All Rights Reserved.1
  2. 2. How do Adults/Post-trads make their enrollment decisions? Copyright: Aslanian Market Research 2012
  3. 3. Decisions, decisions, decisions… Factors you need to keep in mind: 1. There is a revolution underway 2. Careers are driving 3. Mass availability of flexibility 4. Cost is paramount 5. Flexibility v. time to complete 6. No silver bullet p.s.: they are satisfied…. Copyright: Aslanian Market Research 2012
  4. 4. 1. There is a revolution happening in higher education.
  5. 5. Well, not the printing press, but the arrival of mass print textbooks in the 1840’s- 50’s. The last technological revolution?
  6. 6. Next Revolution?
  7. 7. More and more students are deciding on online… 2.3m 3.5m 4.6m 6.1m 10.8m* 780k 1.2m 1.8m 2.1m 3.4m 2004 2006 2008 2010 2016 (est) Took at Least 1 Online Course Took All Courses Online * 10.8m is based on 10% annual compounded growth (Sloan C estimates 10% growth between 2009-2010) Sources: Eduventures Online Higher Education Market Update 2011; BMO Capital Markets, Education and Training 2012; Babson Survey Research Group, Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011 Copyright: Aslanian Market Research 2012
  8. 8. 2014 CALEM, All Rights Reserved.9 Takeaway: The availability of technology enhanced learning has had a profound impact on the decision making patterns of adults/post traditionals.
  9. 9. Can you relate? 2014 CALEM, All Rights Reserved.10
  10. 10. 2. Adults/Post- trads are deciding to enroll more than ever for career reasons.
  11. 11. Motivation for Study Undergraduate Graduate To change careers 30% 24% To advance in career 23 39 To achieve a specific level of learning / obtain a degree 10 12 To keep up-to-date in current career 11 10 To enter a first career 11 6 Unemployed/underemployed and needed more education in order to get a job 5 4 Returning to the job market for the first time in several years and needed more education 1 1 Personal reasons not related to job or career 9 5 Copyright: Aslanian Market Research 2013 12
  12. 12. Employment Status Undergrad 2013 Undergrad 2006 Employed full time 56% 69% Employed part time 19 21 Not employed 19 18 Retired 4 1 Grad 2013 Grad 2006 Employed full time 69% 80% Employed part time 16 14 Not employed 13 5 Retired 2 1
  13. 13. Many adults enroll with advanced credentials… 2013 2006 Undergrads enrolling in undergrad with at least a Bachelor’s 32% 25% Grads enrolling in grad with at least a Master’s degree 32% 30%
  14. 14. Can you relate? 2014 CALEM, All Rights Reserved.15
  15. 15. 3. Mass availability of alternate formats and schedules has played a huge role in decision making.
  16. 16. Preferred Course Format Undergraduate Graduate Entirely in a classroom with a professor present 45% Partly online/partly in a classroom with a professor present 45 Entirely online 10 2006 Entirely in a classroom with a professor present 46% Partly online/partly in a classroom with a professor present 36 Entirely online 18
  17. 17. Preferred Level of Acceleration Undergraduate Graduate 1-5 week 9% 6-8 weeks 24 9-12 weeks 38 13+ weeks 24 1-5 weeks 7% 6-8 weeks 30 9-12 weeks 46 13 weeks 182006
  18. 18. Can you relate? 2014 CALEM, All Rights Reserved.19
  19. 19. 4. Cost is driving decision making – both directly and indirectly.
  20. 20. Enrollment Decision Making Factors Undergraduate Very important Somewhat important Not important Cost of tuition and fees 79% 19% 2% Day and time classroom courses meet 74% 22% 5% Reputation of the college or program 72% 22% 6% Credit awarded for prior learning/life experience 64% 29% 8% Length of time to complete my studies 64% 22% 14% Accreditation of institution and/or program 64% 33% 4% Transferability of previously earned credits 58% 37% 6% Location of the college 54% 33% 13%
  21. 21. Enrollment Decision Making Factors Graduate Very important Somewhat important Not important Day and time classroom courses meet 73% 21% 7% Accreditation of institution and/or program 72% 25% 4% Cost of tuition and fees 70% 23% 7% Reputation of the college or program 67% 28% 6% Location of the university 59% 31% 11% Length of time to complete my studies 55% 39% 7% Credit awarded for prior learning/life experience 41% 36% 23%
  22. 22. Decision Making Factors - 2006
  23. 23. Institutional Characteristics Increasing Interest Undergrad Grad Credits earned previously are accepted 87% 82% Programs are designed to allow you to continue working full time 84 80 Students can enroll in any mix of day, evening, online, hybrid, etc. 79 73 Students can complete all courses at one location 75 68 Some faculty are practitioners who teach part time 57 60 Some faculty teach full time and hold a terminal degree 48 58 Students join a robust student/alumni network. 35 47
  24. 24. Can you relate? 2014 CALEM, All Rights Reserved.25
  25. 25. 5. Although “time to degree” is important, adults/post-trads choose flexibility.
  26. 26. Flexibility or Completion? Undergraduate Graduate
  27. 27. 6. No single “influencer” is influencing decision making – either person or activity.
  28. 28. “Helpers” in Enrollment Decision Undergrad Grad Attend an online open house 29% 21% Attend a face-to-face open house 27 18 Talk with people I know who went to the college 48 58 Call someone at the college 19 27 Visit a social media site 18 23 Something else 24 33 No “external” help 28 31
  29. 29. Can you relate? 2014 CALEM, All Rights Reserved.30
  30. 30. p.s….. Adults/Post-trads are choosing formats with which they are satisfied. Many say people enroll in online knowing it will be inferior, this is not true.
  31. 31. Satisfaction with Course Format Undergraduate Had Taken Course Type Not Satisfied Some- what Satisfied Very Satisfied Mean Rating Face-to- Face 61% 1% 2% 14% 43% 40% 4.21 Partially Online 21% 2% 4% 16% 44% 33% 4.02 Fully Online 17% 8% 0% 0% 50% 42% 4.17
  32. 32. Satisfaction with Course Format Graduate Had Taken Course Type Not Satisfied Some- what Satisfied Very Satisfied Mean Rating Face-to- Face 59% 0% 5% 14% 35% 45% 4.22 Partially Online 20% 0% 5% 14% 51% 30% 4.14 Fully Online 26% 2% 4% 4% 35% 55% 4.42
  33. 33. Can you relate? 2014 CALEM, All Rights Reserved.34
  34. 34. Thank You! Don’t forget to do your evaluation! Evaluation keyword: jeffe Scott Jeffe Aslanian Market Research EducationDynamics sjeffe@educationdynamics.com Office 201.377.3332 Mobile 917.923.2155 www.aslanianmarketresearch.com Copyright: Aslanian Market Research 2012

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