This is a bit lengthy, however it is well worth the read if you are looking for the differences between selling online students versus traditional campus based students. This comes from years of experience in both areas and this article helps summarize the differences. Enjoy!
1. Make-to-order vs. mass production
In the context of education, online learning is a “make-to-order” business whereas instruction through a traditional ground campus falls under the category of mass production. Applying this to business terms, online learning uses a “pull” strategy while traditional (residential) undergraduate education uses a “push” strategy.
With the realization that each unique customer has varying needs and desires for the purchase of a product or service, most businesses today operate under the “pull” strategy such as Dell or McDonalds. However, traditional education still operates under the “push” method. Statistics show that ninety percent of all incoming undergraduate resident students have the same needs, requirements, and educational expectations, lending to an academic institution’s use of systems of mass production to satisfy these similar needs. The familiarity and success with this type of education system has made it difficult for most traditional colleges and universities to successfully enter into the market of online learning.
Inside HigherEd came out with an interesting article this week referencing The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and their recent block of investors “accreditation shopping” struggling institutions with accreditation. The trend over the last few years is for cash rich investors to purchase a university that is financially struggling and about to close their doors. The investors buy the institution for the accreditation because to start a school from scratch and achieve that same accreditation would take years. However, it appears that The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools is now saying no.
Read the Inside Higher Ed article click here
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is an independent corporation and one of two commission members of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), which is one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. The Higher Learning Commission accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the North Central region.
We have discussed in many past blogs accreditation and the quality associated with it. So it was helpful for me when I found a list of different statuses a school could be associated with. So I posted here as well in case those of you in higher education had similar thoughts, below is a list for your review.
Accreditation Status Categories (these may vary slightly across Accrediting Bodies)
1. Grant Candidacy or Initial Accreditation
2. Deny Candidacy or Initial Accreditation
3. Defer Action
4. Continue Accreditation between the Capacity and Preparatory Review and the Educational Effectiveness Review
5. Reaffirm Accreditation
6. Issue a Formal Notice of Concern
7. Issue a Warning
8. Impose Probation
9. Issue an Order to Show Cause
10. Terminate Accreditation
National accreditation organizations perform the accreditation process throughout the United States and review institutions in their entirety. According to CHEA, 34.8 percent of the institutions in the United States that are nationally accredited are degree-granting. 65.1 percent are non-degree-granting. 20.4 percent of the institutions with national accreditation are non-profit, while 79.4 percent are for-profit. Some of these institutions are faith-based or single-purpose institutions, like distance learning colleges and universities. Nationally accredited institutions can be public or private.
I was researching and reading about market-funded universities versus traditional universities and came across this great chart that shows the difference in the core make up of each of these approaches to higher education.
For those of you unfamiliar with the word “market-funded”, that is the same as for-profit…which include schools like the University of Phoenix, DeVry, Argosy, AIU, Capella and more. I am not advocating one is better than the other, yet just providing information that I found helpful.
Self -Funded Universities Market-Funded Universities
Endowment Private Investment capital
Shared governance Traditional management
Prestige motive Profit motive
Cultivation of knowledge Application of learning
Quality of inputs Quality of outcomes
Faculty power Customer power
Ruch, R. S. (2001). Higher Ed, Inc. The rise of the For-Profit University. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.