This blog post is a summary of a recent higher education project completed by Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS).
Background: In Spring 2015, a New York State higher education institution partnered with Research and Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS) to conduct a feasibility study to determine whether enrollment demand supports the development of (a) satellite education site(s) in a neighboring County to the college, and if so, what programs and training opportunities are in demand. The client wanted to better understand the current and potential market viability of the programs researched, allowing the college to make informed decisions regarding whether the programs have the capabilities to support the need for (a) satellite location(s).
Approach: RMS conducted eight phases of research to gather the data necessary to provide the college with insights needed to make an insightful decision regarding satellite site viability. RMS staff conducted in-depth telephone interviews with local employers, economic leaders, and school district superintendents to determine workforce needs, interest in a potential partnership with the college, and potential satellite site locations for further investigation. To determine the college’s brand awareness and barriers to enrollment, RMS staff interviewed prospective students who had recently inquired with the college, but ultimately never enrolled. Prospective students were asked about their inquiry experience with the college, attendance at other higher education institutions, and the program in which they enrolled. To hone in on market demand for the current suite of academic programs, RMS completed a comparative analysis of demand in the region and the United States, using available labor supply and demand databases. The report included workforce data by industry for the applicable metropolitan statistical areas, the region, and the United States comparatively. Using data available from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), US Census, New York State Department of Labor (US DOL), and known competitive enrollment information, the RMS team estimated the additional enrollment potential that the college might reasonably expect to garner from a satellite extension expansion into the proposed County of interest.RMS staff also performed in-person site visits for several potential satellite locations to determine the most viable option for the college to further pursue, and drafted a high-level operational budget associated with establishing that satellite site.
Results: The RMS team analyzed data from all interviews to provide the client with a qualitative picture of brand perception, workforce need, and partnership potential. Findings revealed areas of opportunity for the college to capitalize on internal improvements, and guided other research components, such as site locations investigated and satellite site budget creation. The enrollment projection supported the establishment of a satellite location in the County of interest, and RMS was able to provide the college with an estimated enrollment figure that could reasonably be expected. RMS provided the college with a proposed plan to make the satellite site a viable option by finding ways to utilize established relationships with other educational institutions and local employers.
RMS is a full-service market research firm located in Syracuse, NY. If you are interested in conducting a higher education market research project, please contact Sandy Baker, our Senior Director of Business Development & Corporate Strategy at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422. Visit our website at www.RMSresults.com.