Coralville, Iowa (PRWEB) September 05, 2012
New studies of college students show that while cost, financial aid, and academic reputation top enrollment motivations for traditional students, adult and online learners emphasize flexibility and convenience as top enrollment influences.
Why Did They Enroll? The Factors Influencing College Enrollment examines the enrollment motivations of traditional college students. A companion study, Factors Influencing College Choice Among Nontraditional Students, looks at top influences for online learners and adult college students aged 25 and older. The reports present the findings of student perceptions from four-year private institutions, four-year public campuses, two-year public colleges, and career schools.
For traditional students, cost and financial aid were the two top motivating enrollment factors at four-year institutions and two-year public colleges. Academic reputation was a close third, while the size of the institution, campus appearance, and personalized attention prior to enrollment were also significant priorities.
Adult learners placed the greatest emphasis on the academic reputation of the institution, with 80 percent of adult students ranking that as an enrollment factor. The availability of evening and weekend classes was also a strong factor, with 77 percent of adult students indicating the issue as important.
Online learners placed even higher emphasis on convenience. The top three enrollment factors—cited by more than 90 percent of online learners—were the convenience of taking classes, flexible pacing for completion, and the ability to fit classes in with a student's work schedule.
"For traditional students, value plays a large role in their decisions," says Julie Bryant, associate vice president at Noel-Levitz, who authored the reports. "They want to know that they can afford their educational experience, and that they are attending a quality institution."
Adult and online learners placed importance on value as well, but the concern of fitting their educations into their lives was even more important. "The findings for adult and online learners show that balance and flexibility are critical motivators," Bryant adds. "These students have work, family, and other life responsibilities, and education has to fit into that mix. This is significant, because as more adult students enroll in college and more students participate in online education, institutions will have to meet these expectations."
The studies examined responses from more than 55,000 traditional students and 22,000 adult and online learners. The reports may be downloaded at http://www.noellevitz.com/EnrollmentFactors.
Noel-Levitz is a recognized leader in higher education consulting and research. For nearly 40 years, they have partnered with more than 2,700 campuses to optimize enrollment management and student success through experienced consultation, advanced analytic tools, and campus assessments.