In 1758, Ben Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Two hundred and fifty years later, it’s never been more true—especially for students attending career schools, entering essential trades, and finding employment in the hottest manufacturing and technology markets ever.
That’s why it’s ironic that a career school’s big concerns are student enrollment and admissions. It shows in the numbers: Although there is huge demand, recent estimates suggest that more than 500,000 skilled labor jobs are still unfilled. So why are career schools finding it hard to increase student enrollment in programs for these lucrative careers, and what can they do about it? Paramount Capital Group explains.
Does Your Career School Have What Students Are Looking For?
Prospective students are doing their research to find the career school that best fits their needs. A school may suffer decreased enrollment if it falls short in one or more of these seven areas.
Students are looking for:
1. Schools that offer programs in the careers in which they’re interested. This first one seems obvious, but it’s more than just a full course catalog. It’s what’s in it.
Ensure that your school is current with industry trends and offers the programs that support them. This doesn’t mean adding courses for a number’s sake but offering a variety of pertinent fields so students can meet their needs. With this in mind, it may be time to evaluate your curriculum and instructors to increase admissions.
2. Schools with accreditation and up-to-date licensing. Accreditation shows that your programs have been reviewed by an independent organization and recognized to meet certain academic standards. It also follows an agreed-upon curriculum and provides certification if required. This means that students can be confident future employers will recognize their education. Licensing is also critical. It’s handled by the state and shows that the school meets specific standards and offers legitimate services.
3. Schools with attractive, clean, up-to-date facilities. Appearance is important: It not only shows pride, but also shows that the school is investing to provide students with the latest information, equipment, and technology. All in all, a picture is worth a thousand words when students visit while searching for their best trade school match.
4. Schools that offer flexible schedules. Today’s students are often pursuing school in addition to working. Attending classes full-time may not be an option. Having flexible schedules or online and in-school options can help students fit their future dreams into today’s time constraints. Developing flexible schedules and more remote and in-school learning options will make your school a contender.
5. Schools with solid student services. Whether it’s a dedicated mentor or someone to answer questions about financial aid solutions, students want someone to whom they can turn, someone who has their back. Make it the school’s mission to provide excellent customer service and give staff the knowledge, confidence, and responsibility to provide support. (Part of this commitment may mean using a company like Paramount Capital Group to service student loan payments so that the school’s staff doesn’t have to cover areas outside their job scope and experience.)
6. Schools with high graduation and placement rates. Students will be leery if there is a high dropout rate because that could mean prior students didn’t like the courses offered. And while no one should guarantee employment, the school should provide career counseling and have a solid reputation with employers to attract job partners.
7. Schools with flexible financial aid solutions. Although trade and career schools are less expensive than colleges, they still have a price tag that can put them out of many students’ reach. Being able to provide student loan financing, especially to those who may have less than perfect credit, can make a difference in total enrollment numbers.
The Solution to Career School Enrollment Challenges
If your career or trade school is looking at enrollment challenges, making improvements to any of these considerations can make a difference in attracting students and doing your part to help fill the skilled labor gap. However, the one that really makes sense to tackle first for immediate impact is number 7: financial aid solutions.
Of course, offering student loan financing to more students automatically increases enrollment, but it also has a big ripple effect. That’s because when more students enroll, the school’s financial stability grows, too—resulting in an enhanced reputation while generating an increased cash flow that enables resources for growth and improvements.
Paramount Capital Group has partnered with career schools for more than 25 years, providing financing options and services that help make students’ dreams come true. In fact, our unique underwriting lets us provide financing for students you may not have considered enrolling before because they were hampered by less-than-perfect credit. Now, when you have more student financing options, more students can invest in knowledge that helps them generate their best interest (i.e., future)—just like Ben Franklin said.
Talk to us today at Paramount Capital Group and learn more about how we can partner together to make a difference in your school’s student admissions number and more.