No one was budgeting for a global pandemic. The long-term effects of coronavirus for higher education have already started. Here’s what education marketers have to do. The economy has suffered some big hits lately that are bound to affect your private educational institution for some time to come. While the long-term effects of coronavirus for … Read More
Morgan Stanley predicted that the global pandemic would slash GDP growth in the second quarter by as much as 30%.
However, Morgan Stanley is optimistic compared to St. Louis Federal Reserve president James Bullard who sees the GDP dropping by 50%.
How does all this affect you?
Besides the obvious personal ramifications, the economic upheaval presents significant long-term effects of coronavirus for higher education.
In just the past few weeks, private colleges, universities, and independent schools have had to shut down athletic events, conferences, and alumni gatherings.
Education is a high-touch “product” with one of its many blessings being the relationships you foster with your fellow students, alumni, and colleagues.
Canceling these events not only hurts short-term revenue streams, it also presents risks to the camaraderie and brand loyalty felt among our constituencies.
Speaking of events, many private schools are trying to figure out what to do about their spring events.
Spring events, like commencement, are high-cost events coming at us fast during one of the lowest-revenue moments in years.
Also, most private institutions have had to send their international students home well before finishing their programs.
Although international enrollment has plateaued for the last three years, international admissions is a significant source of income for many institutions.
It’s hard to be optimistic about international enrollment in the near future.
International recruitment will probably take some time to reach its current strength as travel restrictions, public health safety measures, and global economies stabilize.
To add to all this, summer is coming up.
Summer typically is a time when most private institutions struggle with cash flow. This already challenging time of the year is only going to be exacerbated by the pandemic.
Unfortunately, this list isn’t complete without talking about refunds.
Many schools are considering giving students prorated refunds on room and board for the time they were going to be on campus, only to be sent home.
All of these changes affect private educational institutions in the short run.
I have no doubt you and your school will find ways to make it through the short-run hurdles. But it’s the long run that I want to talk about today.
Long-Term Effects of Coronavirus for Higher Education
Ground zero for the long-term effects of coronavirus for higher education lies in the homes of each prospective student.
The average household has the most to lose in this whole situation.
“The way you initially ask the question, I think, is how much is this accelerating financial issues for families and institutions. The unknown length of this is very unsettling to everyone, especially to families.” – Beth Paul, president of Capital University in Ohio
Clearly, many households are struggling with everyday financial stress right now.
But especially for those with high school students who are graduating this spring, the yields from their investment accounts are going to be much lower than expected.
When these investment accounts come up short, many families simply won’t have what they need to help their children pay for college.
It’s very possible that many students in your fall 2020 enrollment pipeline will postpone or cancel their plans.
As we’ve discussed before, tuition rates have already been in decline.
And now, we’re facing further hits to enrollment prospects.
“It’s going to wreak havoc on yield projections for the majority of U.S. colleges and universities. Your regional publics are going to continue to draw from their regions. Your public flagships will draw from the state, and those that have a national reputation are going to continue to draw from contiguous states. But the small private colleges are going to be hard hit.”
–Robert Massa, an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California and vice president emeritus of enrollment at Dickson College
So what should you, and every other education marketer out there, do?
Any recommendations I could give start out with a big reminder to NOT PANIC.
If you’re a person of faith, take care of yourself in prayer.
And even if you’re not a person of faith, there are many things all of us can do to take care of ourselves.
Write daily in a gratitude journal
Step outside for brief walks or some sunshine (but with social distance)
Spend time catching up on good books
Strengthen family bonds while you’re in the house
Call older family members and make sure they’re okay
Don’t let the effects of this physical sickness turn into an emotional sickness in you and your family.
Stay motivated. Stay at peace.
Show You Care
Is it easy for prospects to get answers?
Can current students get reimbursed for expenses where they didn’t receive the benefit they paid for?
Is someone available for calls, chats, and comments on social media even during the quarantine?
Are you asking how your prospects and their families are doing?
Are you being sympathetic when prospects make the tough decisions to postpone or cancel their academic journey?
Inside, you’ll find a ton of ideas on how to create quality, consistent content that will attract new leads and help you close current leads. And chances are, you have more content already available than you realize, allowing you to move quickly.