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Highlights from Higher Ed: COVID-19, Enrollment and B-School Rankings

Declining international enrollment could cost U.S. colleges and universities at least $3 billion

U.S. colleges and universities have already lost approximately $1 billion “from shortened and canceled study abroad programs” and spent another $638 million “to support international students, faculty and staff when courses moved online earlier this year.” However, the worst may be yet to come: They’re likely to lose at least another $3 billion as a result of an anticipated decline in the number of international students enrolled for the upcoming fall semester. That estimate was based on information collected in a survey of 346 institutions by NAFSA: Association of International Educators. “More than three-fourths of respondents said they expect losses in fall 2020 from international student enrollment declines. About 61% anticipate the decline will lead to losses of $500,000 or less, while around 21% predict losses of $1 million or more.”

To learn more about effective strategies for recruiting and enrolling international students, read, “Top Recommendations for Improving Your International Recruitment Strategy.”

Source: Education Dive

COVID-19 fuels the debate about the relevance of business school rankings

“With COVID-19 reshaping higher education and the economy in ways that were previously unimaginable, the debate surrounding MBA program rankings is raging anew,” according to an op-ed in the Times of San Diego authored by Robert Ruiz, Liaison’s managing director of BusinessCAS, and Shaun Carver, former assistant dean for graduate programs at UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management and a member of Liaison’s BusinessCAS advisory board.

“Many stakeholders in the business school community have already critiqued the rankings for years, arguing that they tell an incomplete story about the value of a business degree in general and the reputation of individual MBA programs. In light of COVID-19, the rankings are based on metrics that can no longer be considered comprehensive and reliable indicators of success, such as standardized test scores, employment rates and starting salaries of recent graduates. Many schools are now dropping standardized test score requirements; many graduates are now at risk of entering a job market with fewer opportunities and lower salaries… Business schools cannot afford to return to a pre-pandemic state of affairs once the current crisis subsides… Instead of focusing on measurements such as test scores and salaries, they should be measuring and emphasizing the impact their graduates can have on society as a whole. The rankings, however, reinforce an antiquated business school model. They have long defined the relevance and success of business education, but they no longer serve that purpose.”

Source: Times of San Diego

Enrollment was the most pressing concern among college presidents in May

Despite the numerous potential long-term challenges posed by COVID-19, most of the 310 college presidents surveyed in May said their biggest concerns were “summer or fall enrollment” (79%) and “deciding on fall term plans” (63%). Fewer than half cited “long-term financial viability of the institution” (49%), “furloughing or reducing salaries for faculty and/or staff” (44%) or “short-term financial viability of the institution” (35%). In April, a similar survey indicated that presidents’ top concerns were “summer or fall enrollment,” “long-term financial viability,” and “sustaining an online learning environment.” In May, most presidents also said they are “very likely” to allow in-person classes for at least some portion this fall; almost 40% said students and parents have a “high level” of influence in their decision.

For insights into not only weathering the current storm, but also better preparing for the next global disruption, watch Liaison’s on-demand webinar, “Enrollment in the Time of Coronavirus: Managing Global Crises on Your Campus.”

Source: American Council on Education

College enrollment decreased again in spring of 2020

Approximately 44,000 fewer students enrolled in college this spring than in the spring of 2019, which amounts to a 0.5% year-over-year drop in enrollment. Although that represents an improvement over last year’s 1.7% decrease, 2019 was the ninth consecutive year in which enrollment dropped. “Beyond showing that enrollment continues to decline, albeit at a slower pace, the greater long-term significance of the report is that it provides a pre-pandemic enrollment baseline that does not reflect any effects of the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent shut-downs of campus operations occurring later in the spring term… All sectors of higher education saw enrollment decreases in the spring. Based on percentages, the largest drop was at public two-year colleges (-2.3%), followed by private for-profit four-years (-1.9%). Enrollments were off .7% at private non-profit universities, and public four-years saw the smallest percentage decrease, at .6%.”

Source: Forbes