Higher education institutions have long been dedicated to helping students achieve their goals and graduate successfully. However, despite the increasing importance placed on a college degree in today’s society, many students are still facing barriers when it comes to enrolling and staying enrolled.
According to a recent study by Gallup and the Lumina Foundation, three-fourths of all adults believe that a college degree is as important, if not more important, than it was 20 years ago. So, the question is: why aren’t more students enrolling? In this blog, we will explore the top four research-backed reasons why college and university students don’t enroll and discuss how institutions of higher education can combat these challenges.
The Top Four Barriers to Enrollment in Higher Education
Reason 4: Emotional Stress
One significant factor that can impact student enrollment is emotional distress. Issues such as anxiety, depression, and personal difficulties can greatly hinder a student’s ability to focus on their studies and commit to continuing their education. This emotional stress is what 30% of students say often leads to a pause in enrollment or even a decision to drop out.
To combat this, college and university staff can employ AI-backed tools like Ocelot’s Chatbot, Two-Way Texting, and Live Chat. These technologies provide a convenient and anonymous way for students to access resources and support. For example, with the help of a chatbot, students can easily connect with student counseling services, access mental health resources, and find assistance for any personal or emotional challenges they may be facing. These AI-powered tools not only make it easier for students to seek support, but also provide them with the convenience and accessibility they need to navigate their emotional wellbeing while pursuing their educational goals.
Reason 3: Work Conflicts or the Need to Work
Work schedule conflicts and the need to work in order to support oneself are common challenges that many students face (38% of them to be exact). Juggling work responsibilities alongside the demands of higher education can be overwhelming, potentially causing students to delay or forgo enrolling in classes altogether.
This is where student communications solutions can come in handy. They allow students to access information about enrollment deadlines, course offerings, and financial aid options at any time, even outside of regular office hours. By providing students with the flexibility and convenience to access crucial information whenever they need it, institutions can help them overcome work-related obstacles and make informed decisions about their education.
Reason 2: Inflation
The increasing cost of living due to inflation has become a major barrier to enrollment for 45% of students. As the cost of tuition, textbooks, and living expenses continues to rise, students are finding it harder to afford a college education. This financial burden can lead to students delaying enrollment or dropping out altogether.
With solutions like Chatbot, Two-Way Texting, and Live Chat, colleges and universities can more efficiently and directly provide students with information about financial aid options. Through these tools, students can easily access resources and connect with financial aid professionals who can help them navigate their financial situations. Additionally, students can learn about funds that exist to help them pay off existing tuition costs or discover supplemental scholarships that can alleviate the financial strain of obtaining a degree or credential.
Reason 1: Cost of the Degree/Credential Program
Perhaps the most significant barrier to enrollment is the rising cost of college and university programs. College tuition inflation has averaged a staggering 12% annually from 2010 to 2022, making it increasingly difficult for today’s students to afford higher education. This financial burden is what 55% of students say leads them to make the difficult decision not to re-enroll.
To address the issue of high costs, college and university staff can leverage AI-backed tools such as Ocelot’s Chatbot, Two-Way Texting, and Live Chat to provide students with information about financial aid opportunities exactly when they need it. These tools are not only useful for helping students understand their financial aid options but can also connect them with financial aid professionals who can guide them in adjusting their plans to accommodate their changing financial situations. By providing students with access to comprehensive financial aid information and personalized guidance, institutions can empower them to create an educational path that they can afford, paving the way for a brighter future.
A California Community College’s Enrollment Success Story
Students at a California Community College are not immune to today’s pressures and the barriers facing all higher education students. In fact, the school’s Enrollment department identified six thousand students who were unable to re-enroll for classes due to an unpaid tuition hold on their account.
The school realized that these students were likely unaware of a fund available to help students pay off their tuition. They decided to use Ocelot’s Two-Way Texting solution to craft a custom texting campaign aimed at informing that segment of students about their options, and the result was incredible!
Because of their proactive use of AI-powered Student Communications solutions, 50% of those students re-enrolled that semester and the school recovered millions in unpaid tuition and possible student attrition.
Wrapping It Up
In conclusion, there are several reasons why college and university students may choose not to enroll, ranging from emotional stress to financial barriers. However, institutions can address these challenges and support students in their educational journeys by making information more available and maintaining more proactive communication with potential students. Solutions like chatbots, live chats, and two-way texting help colleges and universities provide students with convenient access to resources, support services, financial aid information, and personalized guidance. By embracing AI-powered solutions, higher education institutions can enhance the student experience, increase enrollment rates, and help more students achieve their educational goals.
If you would like to learn more about how an AI-Powered Student Communications solution can help increase enrollment at your institution, connect with our team today!
Together, we can create a future where students are not only supported but also empowered to thrive in higher education.