A recent article in Slate on Southern New Hampshire University tells a tale of two cities. SNHU was on death watch. SNHU was a struggling private school with declining enrollment, weak finances, and no name recognition. This is not such an uncommon position as over 1/3 of finance officers from America’s colleges and Universities report deteriorating finances.
The Education bubble has popped. Tuition increases have flattened, student loan programs down 19%, and Higher Ed funding stalled. Parents, students and legislators are demanding more for their dollar. Many institutions are poorly situated to handle the new paradigm.
Under the leadership of Paul LeBlanc, SNHU’s president the school has now increased enrollment from 2,000 to 3,000 students and has expanded its online program to over 34,000. They have embraced their online division, they refer to students as customers, and employ data analytics across the board.
“We are super-focused on customer service, which is a phrase that most universities can’t even use,” says President LeBlanc.
As Slate puts it, “the near demise and subsequent rebirth of SNHU offers a glimpse into the crisis facing Higher Ed.” SNHU might provide the survival guide.