Oct 28 2021

EDUCAUSE 2021: Using Advanced Analytics to Save Your Campus from the ‘Birth Dearth’

According to national estimates and projections, higher education institutions will face a significant decline in college-age students due to demographic decline, or the “birth dearth” triggered by the 2008 economic recession. Lisa Keegan, vice president of enrollment management for Bucknell University, spoke about the steps colleges and universities can take to help ensure institutional continuity.

“When there was the economic decline around 2008, there were actually fewer babies born. And it’s hard to believe, but fast-forward and there are going to be fewer high school students,” Keegan said. “So, that means that the college-going population and the market is going to be shrinking. Particularly as we look out from 2025 to 2030, there’s going to be a steady decline of high school graduates.”

Strategies that forward-thinking institutions are employing to stave off the impact of this decline include modifying admissions and retention activities, adapting processes, and shifting their recruiting focus to new potential markets with an eye toward diversity.

“I’ve been spending a lot of my time making sure that all of my colleagues, including the institutional president and the board of trustees, understand what we’re going to do to weather this decline from 2025 to 2030,” Keegan said. “Most important, we have to help the team that is out doing the work by providing them with data that they can understand in their current recruitment markets, and also start to identify new markets that make the most sense for our institution.”

Find more coverage of EDUCAUSE 2021, including more interviews and advice from higher ed experts, here


    • Lisa Keegan, Vice President of Enrollment Management, Bucknell University

Video Highlights

  • Understand the ‘birth dearth’ — and how higher education institutions can begin planning for it now.
  • IT leaders have an important role to play by explaining how advanced analytics can combat projected reduced enrollment numbers.
  • Learn ways to shift recruitment practices, adapt processes and deploy solutions that reduce higher education demographic decline.