The differentiated university


The economic recession in 2008 cracked universities’ confidence that enrollment, tuition and the lifetime value of a college degree would rise. Instead, the traditional process of “segmenting” the student market by demographics — traditional vs. nontraditional students — is no longer sufficient. Faced with a saturated and highly competitive landscape, how does a university differentiate itself?

Haven Ladd, Seth Reynolds and Jeffrey J. Selingo propose a fresh approach to understanding the increasingly complex higher education market. To do this, college leaders need an understanding of what drives the enrollment decisions of prospective students and develop offerings to meet students’ needs using the resources of the university.

Their research found six distinct and defined segments based on students’ motivations and mindsets, rather than just demographics. Outlined below are steps to develop strategies for reaching the next generation of students and the offerings and operating models most effective and efficient in serving them.

Find key insights about the differentiated university, including: