The Challenge

The higher education industry is struggling. Funding cuts, dropping enrollments, changing immigration policies and razor-thin profit margins are just a few of the issues pushing colleges and universities to find better, smarter ways to stay in business.

Higher education has historically been slow to change. Over the past decade new forms of competition have emerged. The more entrepreneurial institutions are responding creatively to the pressure, from launching new programs to opening additional locations in places that aim to meet students wherever they are. Then, of course, there are those ubiquitous online programs, saturating the market with ever more choices.

And if the increased competition among traditional schools wasn’t challenging enough, there’s now two real-life marketing goliaths to contend with as well. For-profit institutions and online program managers (OPMs), with their win-at-all-costs strategies, are now deeply embedded in the industry. Their outsized budgets, coupled with powerful sales- and marketing-centered models, are striking fear in every president, provost and dean charged with carrying on their institution’s legacy.

So, how can you compete? Budgets aren’t growing. Staff sizes are static at best. How does a centuries-old institution suddenly adopt a start-up mentality? Will your school succumb to disruptive trends, or thrive in spite of them?

If your school is facing challenges like these, maybe it’s time to seek help from an unconventional partner. Isn’t it about time that your institution had an outsized advantage of its own?