There has already been a decline of 15%-25% in enrolment around the world mainly due to the sudden financial problems, and even when the pandemic is over, on-campus classes won’t immense until spring 2021 semester in most universities. The institutions will have to come up with better models for them to sustain because if they don’t, they’ll be forced to get closed permanently.
Now, the strategic plans that they come up with should create various opportunities for the students in order for the universities to thrive just like they used to, and some of the potential initiatives are:
1) Financing Options – Offer More & Upgrade The Existing
The coronavirus has highlighted how the current business model of universities to increase their tuition fees every semester with their annual fee being much more than the previous year is a major reason for increasing number of dropouts. And during the pandemic, everyone will be shifting their in-class courses to the online platforms, and so they’d be reluctant to be paying the same amount anymore, let alone increased semester fees.
If institutions decrease tuition fees in general, increase opportunities for financial aid, and minimize the requirements for scholarships, it would be of great help for both domestic and international students. And hence, enrolment will start to increase again.
2) Best Combinations of In-Person and Online Classes
Studies have shown that just a little over 50% of students are completely comfortable with online classes. This implies that half the world has truly become digitalized with the other half not getting access to the best gadgets and the fastest internet connections. So, of course, it’d be best to come up with combinations to suit the respective students.
According to Edward J Maloney’s article in ‘Inside Higher Education’, he suggested some ideas to be implemented in the upcoming semesters, such as reducing the number of in-class courses and increasing the online ones, creating separate courses for residential and online students, letting students take one course at a time for several weeks, etc.
3) Enhanced Recruitment Programs
Recruitment teams may continue to travel in order to attract students, but it’s time to enhance the virtual recruitment systems. Universities could participate in online education fairs, or even have their own ones at various times of the year, with applicants and parents getting to talk to respective institute representatives. They will be provided with the correct information and the best advertisements in the least time.
Moreover, recruitment conditions could be a little flexible, with extended deadlines, lessened application fees or openings to enroll during ongoing semesters, even if expected academic credentials aren’t lowered.
4) Collaboration, Not Competition
In times like these when everything is uncertain, it is best to work together. If vulnerable institutions tend to work in the competitive manner they usually do, they’ll all be increasingly losing students and revenues and getting closed.
They should partner up with the universities around them to provide the students with what they can’t on their own. Merging may allow the students to learn from the best faculties of both the institutions, take courses that weren’t provided before, or pay lowered fees. The probability to provide separate courses for in-class and online courses will increase, and more students will continue their studies, getting their hands on the best offers possible.