Levelling Up: Will FE Colleges Emerge in the HE Market?

HE Thinking | 18 Jan 2022

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It's time for FE colleges to level up their HE provision - that is, according to a new article published by FE News last week. 

Times (and policies) are changing, much to the favour of FE colleges. FE and HE collaborative working models could be the key to fulfilling the growth in demand and help reduce the equity gap in education. But to achieve this, colleges will need staff engagement, buy-in and infrastructure.  

According to the HEPI report published in October 2021, demand is predicted to grow to up to 380,000 additional HE places by 2035, and – if OfS targets are met – a greater number of disadvantaged students entering higher education, which could lead to an even faster growth of demand than anticipated.   

Citing our research from our UCAS partnership research: "73% of prospective students have already chosen their subject by August. But most (74%) are yet to choose their university at that point – so there is everything to play for."

Competing for a share of the market may be tougher than it seems. FE colleges will need to look beyond the two year post-16 pathway, and focus their marketing on the overall 16-21 journey.  


Level Up Your Brand Value 

The article continues with recommendations for FE marketers. Areas to focus on should be:

  • Brand purpose - are you offering what the HE market needs? 
  • Overall experience - consider all touchpoints from campus facilities to work opportunities
  • Learning environment - does your institution promote inclusivity? Is the offer personalised?

Read the full article here.

We know from our student trackers (Undergraduate Success) that the overall experience and employability is high on the applicant agenda - How can FE colleges compete with this in mind?


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Undergraduate Success is one of four tracking products from our HE Success Suite. Each product is tailor-made for the HE sector and is designed to empower universities to achieve their attraction and conversion goals. The products deliver unrivalled market competitor knowledge and years of back-data that solves challenges around the entire recruitment cycle. 

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