Illustration of businesspeople on a life raft in open water

The May Day “Mayday”

There once was a time when the higher education marketplace was showered with interest and the infamous date of May 1 fostered blooming success. But April showers may not bring May flowers for many colleges and universities. Today there is a heightened level of consternation and concern, not only among chief enrollment officers and their admissions teams, but also among entire campus communities and boards recognizing that the days of yesteryear are no more. In some cases, individuals and colleges are now crying out, “Mayday, mayday, mayday!”

The increasingly high investment expense that accompanies the cost of getting a degree, along with uncertainty about the post-graduation value of the investment within today’s economy and job landscape, is generating greater price sensitivity for the prospective college-bound students of “Gen Z”—a demographic that is already inclined toward pragmatism—as well as adult students. Their college selections are contributing to a widening gap between “have” and “have not” higher education institutions, as a recent Wall Street Journal analysis finds the closer to the bottom a college ranks in preparing its students for life after graduation, the more likely its enrollment is shrinking.

The resulting distress signals from many small private colleges, in particular, have prompted industry groups like the Council of Independent Colleges to highlight examples of how their member institutions have adapted to improve their financial positions. Realities of the marketplace are fostering edupreneurial thinking—and more importantly, edupreneurial action.


Gen Z’s Consideration Factors

A new report shows Gen Z has strong preferences for what they expect from their college educational experience. (Forbes)

Higher Ed’s Winners and Losers

A new analysis finds colleges that struggle to prepare students for success are losing ground financially. (The Wall Street Journal)

Model Schools’ Innovations

The “Innovation and the Independent College” report cites examples of transformative ideas in the private college sector. (CIC)



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Colleges and universities, like many other categorical niches, are faced with highs and lows. And as in other industries, some of their leaders adapt, while others freeze and do nothing. Even though these may not be the best of times for many schools, the reality of the marketplace is a situational catalyst to both think and do differently.

During Summer Seminar in Minneapolis on June 14-15, we are gathering several experts to provide market intelligence as well as thought leaders to spur innovative thinking about industry challenges. Registration is open to enrollment management professionals and senior-level executives at private colleges and universities.