In the UK Higher Education market we are seeing a seismic shift in just where students want to obtain their education and undergraduate teaching places. In fact, in a recent article in The Times published on 3rd February 2015, it was reported that since the cap on fees was trebled to £9,000 a year three years ago some universities have seen sharp falls in student numbers – with some losing as many as one fifth to one quarter of their intake.
The reasons for the change (and of course there have to be some winners as well as losers) are likely to be many and varied depending on the nature of the university, its location and history of academic or vocational based education. However the implications for all of these universities seeing a swing in student numbers will continue to be around their capability to plan and react to these changes in the numbers of students which drive revenues as a simple multiplier of rates x volumes (or fees x student numbers). Of course student numbers don’t just drive revenues, they also consume resources, so balancing the supply and demand is critical to the effective and efficient running of any organisation let alone a university but the ability to model alternative financial scenarios will ensure that a bad year in student recruitment hits the reserves in as limited a way as is possible.
Student number planning
For this reason, itelligence has been developing a student number planning solution for higher education establishments. Built using leading technology, it can be delivered both as a traditional on premise solution as well as in the cloud. The solution follows a typical planning process allowing for the import of “actuals” and master data combined with the loading of the fees matrix for that HE establishment. This then enables us to start the student number forecasting overlaid with attrition forecasts. Rolling this forward combined with the logic in budget drivers we can establish a predicted headcount by programme which is detailed enough to allow for the flexibility of students either going on or returning from placements. This then allows for a view of student numbers by individual module. Of course having the mix of student types by programme and module allows for us to report on the fees generated by each of the faculties, programmes and modules.
Having been built using one of the world’s leading planning solutions, more traditional financial planning and budgeting around income and costs generated and consumed in other areas such as grants and estates etc can then easily be overlaid to create an holistic view of the financial plan for the university. At the same time, having a systemised approach to planning as opposed to one that is spreadsheet based allows for version control and an easier to manage approach to scenario modelling.
Student number planning is just one of many Higher Education solutions itelligence will be available to discuss at #CISG15, #SROC and #HERSIG during 2015.
Find out more about our Higher Education Solutions.
Register for our next webinar on this topic Higher Education Student Number Planning – August 24th