5 Ways a Recession Affects Student Enrollment in University (And How To Counter Them)

Lauren Cunningham |Nov 21, 2022

While it may seem like economic conditions like recessions have little effect on college students, events — both past and present — can illustrate just how much of an impact the economy’s health has on them. Suppose you’re a college dean or manager and have seen the unfavorable numbers of students currently enrolled on your campus. In that case, it’s imperative you understand why this is taking place before looking for solutions.

Below we discuss five ways a recession affects student enrollment in university and how you can counter them.

The Effects of Recession on Student Enrollment

1. Tuition Hikes

Whenever a recession strikes, you can expect the government to cut its aid to public colleges, which will cause an increase in tuition costs. This leads to the fact that, as a result, students pay more for college and higher education during times of financial hardship and unemployment. In some cases, colleges take this situation to offer students courses that provide jobs straight out of college.

To ensure that students enroll in your school amidst tuition hikes, show them around campus without the need to leave their houses. An immersive digital experience is exactly what you need to impress viewers with the history of your school, along with the students and faculty that make it feel like home.

2. Long-lasting Loans

Too often, we hear stories about friends and family who — despite having a good job and making a decent living — are still living with their college bills decades later.

Whether we like it or not, loans will always be part of a student’s educational journey, but you can help ease their worries by giving them a sneak peek into their bright futures when they apply to your school. Using interactive maps and providing them with a taste of college life through virtual events can give you the credibility you need to ensure they will get the quality education they are looking to receive.

a large classroom

3. Higher Degrees With No Guarantee

The recession in 2010 led to a jump in both freshmen and returning students looking to get higher education in hopes of landing better-paying jobs. However, this didn’t work out for everyone, and students who weren’t at the top of their fields found their degrees less valuable than they had intended.

Even with a brand new degree, many students couldn’t find a job to help repay their student loans. This trend continued for years, and many students struggled to find that having higher education and a good skill set wasn’t enough to get them a job that would help them pay off their debts.

To this effect, the prospect of getting a degree alone likely won’t be enough to persuade high school graduates to attend college. However, the image of what their life as a student would look like might be. Through VisiTOUR, you can take students on a self-guided tour throughout your campus, so they can see everything your school has to offer and allow them to envision what campus life would be like.

4. Few Job Opportunities

With a recession comes a decline in job opportunities, which can contribute to veering potential students away from enrolling in college. As a result, many opt to look for jobs before the opportunity to find one lessens further. For instance, the recession in 2001 revealed that 80% of undergraduate students worked while enrolled in college.

Unfortunately, unemployment rates for people aged between 16 to 24 will increase sharply during a recession. At the same time, it doesn’t just affect current students but also recent graduates, which is a significant reason why students often prefer to look for a job before attending college, where they incur debt.

Students might struggle to come to terms with the lack of job opportunities at first, but that doesn’t mean they’ll have to face their troubles alone. CampusBubble is a social engagement platform for students where they can share, engage, and connect.

5. Harder Budget Choices

Because budget constraints affect students and their ability to enroll significantly, student activities, course offerings, and programs may suffer massive cutbacks due to reduced funding. Moreover, funding opportunities for student aid, loans, and employment may also drop. As a result, colleges and universities will have no choice but to increase tuition fees to make ends meet.

When students suddenly face hard budget choices, they can count on our StudentBridge Tech Platform to provide them with assistance for all their needs. This digital front-end solution can deliver the ultimate virtual experience while helping students through the use of technology.

curious student in class

Increase Student Enrollment with StudentBridge

During times of uncertainty, colleges often find a decrease in student enrollment and a general disinterest in education. However, this webinar can help you convince enrollees that your campus is the right choice for their future.

Plenty of colleges and universities have already partnered with us. Learn from other college case studies and see the impact StudentBridge had on their college recruitment.

To get started working with us, request your demo today, or contact StudentBridge to learn more about how our services can help you increase enrollment for your institution.


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