Students’ confidence in higher education dipped down to 48% in 2018. That’s 9% lower than just 3 years before. The lack of confidence is a threat to all of us working in higher education, of course, but it is also a threat to current students and potential students. A lack of positive connection to your university or college as a student can correlate with higher drop out rates. As for potential students, where do you go if you want to improve yourself but do not believe in the value of universities? Even if they do not believe in school, employers usually demand degrees. This could mean many people missing out on better socioeconomic outcomes.
What can educators do about consumer confidence?
1) Address the concerns of students head on.
More studies and surveys need to be conducted about current students’ concerns including their belief about job opportunities, their school’s expertise, and the prices. It is true that education is expensive and when you make a big investment, you want to be sure it will be worth it. We need to show our students why their education is more worth it than ever.
2) Give great customer service
In our previous article, we discussed the importance of customer service in universities. In particular, advisors must be trained well and treated fairly. They have important relationships with the students and if those relationships are not optimal, it can be a big predictor of satisfaction rates and even dropouts.
3) Push the value of an education over just the degree
Supplement the perceived value of education as more than a job-funnel. Emphasize the excitement of learning from experts, the campus culture, etc.
4) Invest in marketing
Like any business, we in education need to stay on top of our brand image and market ourselves effectively. If the investment can lead to more positive perceptions, it will be more than worth it for the institution and its students.
Let’s make education cool again.