BOSTON, MA—July 15, 2020 – Jenzabar, Inc., a leading technology innovator in higher education serving the new student, today revealed that more than 80 percent of higher education institutions said improving student success and completion rates was a top priority for 2020 and beyond. Another 74 percent of institutions said increasing enrollment was a strategic priority. These findings come from a survey conducted in partnership with University Business.
Despite the drive to improve student engagement, success, and completion, many colleges and universities are struggling to meet the needs of nontraditional students, which include individuals who may attend college part time, work full time, have dependents other than a spouse, etc. The survey revealed that 11 percent of respondents said the population of nontraditional students has increased significantly in the past five years, while another 38 percent said the population increased slightly during that time.
When asked about the impact that nontraditional students are having on their institutions, 66 percent of the respondents who said the population is increasing said their institution is struggling to meet the needs of this demographic. However, 50 percent of respondents said they have implemented new methodologies to provide more flexible or alternative learning paths. For example, some 22 percent of respondents said they are currently offering competency-based education (CBE), micro-credential, or badging options. An additional 37 percent said they do not currently have these capabilities but intend to offer them in the future.
Institutions Not Leveraging Data to Make Decisions
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, higher education institutions were facing tightening budgets and increasing expectations. Today, most college departments do not have access to the data and resources they need to optimize operations, improve collaboration, and enhance processes. The survey revealed that 87 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that their teams have been required to “do more with less” during the past five years.
In many cases, departments across campus do not have access to student or institutional data that can help them make more informed decisions. The survey revealed that 56 percent of respondents said they only had access to “some of the data” they needed, while another 7 percent said they had access to “very little” of the data they needed.
But even if they do have access to data, many teams do not have the means to make sense of it. Roughly 43 percent of respondents said they do not have an analytics tool or platform that would enable them to leverage data to make decisions. Of the group not using analytics, 32 percent said using such a platform would “definitely” help, while 56 percent said it “probably” would help their department.
“The survey data surfaces trends we have been seeing among institutions for the past several years: student demographics are rapidly shifting, expectations are changing on and off campus, and institutions are being forced to manage and analyze increasingly large volumes of data brought about by digital transformation,” said Jeff Elliott, Director of Product Management at Jenzabar. “Now more than ever, institutions need to leverage innovative technologies and methodologies that can empower student success and optimize business processes in the post-pandemic environment.”
The survey was conducted in February 2020 in partnership with University Business. It polled 175 higher education leaders from a variety of sizes and types of institutions in the U.S. Functional titles of respondents included President/Vice President (21%), followed by Dean/Faculty (16%), Provost/Vice Provost (11%), Enrollment/Admissions/Registrar (11%), Finance/Business Officer (8%) and Institutional Research (7%).
Created out of a passion for education and a vision for technology, Jenzabar offers disruptive, innovative software solutions and services that empower students’ success and helps higher education institutions meet the demands of the modern student. Over 1,350 higher educational campuses harness Jenzabar solutions for improved performance across campus and a more personalized and connected experience for the student. For further information, please visit www.jenzabar.com or on twitter @Jenzabar or LinkedIn.
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Carina Ganias, Jenzabar