Our research charge and charter
Blueprint for Growth is EAB’s signature, multi-year research initiative on the future of post-secondary enrollment, both undergraduate and graduate, domestic and international. This research makes bold predictions to shape our partners’ future enrollment strategy, based on cross-cutting and holistic market analysis. It goes beyond market sizing alone to uncover hidden risks and opportunities and the changing dynamics of competition, all while helping partner institutions anticipate whether and how they should grow.
Adult and Graduate
Adult and graduate education has been a large and growing market for a long time, but growth (and revenue) is not a given for most institutions. A high tolerance for risk, along with sustained investments in marketing and recruiting, technology and student services, and specialized organizational infrastructure are all table stakes to compete for prospective students.
How Big is the Adult and Grad Ed Market Overall?
Total Gross Annual U.S. Revenue Generated from Adult (25+)
Bachelor’s, Post-Bacc Certificates, and Graduate Enrollment, 18-19
Master’s Market Represents the Biggest Revenue Opportunity
Despite the projected overall slowdown, master’s enrollments are growing in the downturn.
Degree Completion a High Volume, Low Margin Market
About a quarter of adult degree completers who re-enroll eventually graduate.
Professional Doctorate Revenue Dominated by JD and MD Programs
JDs and MDs account for 68% of total revenue and nearly half of enrollments
Grad Certificates Growing Fast, but the Smallest Market
Double digit growth belies fact that there were 73K conferrals in 2019. The median number of conferrals per program is 4.
EAB is partnering with institutions to align enrollment growth goals with the current market and prepare for future opportunities. We invite you to discover our insights and work with our experts in the coming months.
Bring a virtual workshop to your team
Access key takeaways from past events
Hear EAB researchers dive into the past decade of data on program enrollments and degree conferrals, revealing growth slowdowns in the master’s market, a building threat of national competition for enrollments, and increasingly concentrated markets in high-demand fields.
To help guide enrollment strategy, EAB segmented the adult degree completion market to understand student attendance patterns and degree choices. Learn about the adult degree completion market and find out which students are most likely to reenroll, and why.
A global pandemic, volatile economic landscape, and looming “demographic cliff” have all significantly disrupted the undergraduate enrollment market and have created a new level of urgency for higher ed leaders. Relying on the latest market intelligence, economic forecasts, and socio-behavioral trends, we’re uncovering hidden risks and opportunities for institutions seeking a sustainable path forward amidst significant headwinds.
Explore our early hypotheses and findings below, and let us know if you’d like to be a part of our ongoing research.
Anticipating the Impact of Increased High School Dropouts and Delayed College Plans
Number of first-time enrollments at 2-year and 4-year institutions, 1990-2025
Estimated range of inputs informing outcome
- High school dropouts: 1.2M-2M
- Students delaying matriculation due to financial stress, preference for in-person instruction: 5-40%
- Long-term decline in attendance due to decreased consumer confidence: 1-3x 2008 recession impact
The questions guiding our research
Once considered a “blue ocean” opportunity for revenue and enrollment growth—particularly for American institutions—the international enrollment market has seen disruptive shifts in competitive positioning, sociopolitical policy, and student migration due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, higher ed leaders must reexamine their previous assumptions and recalibrate their strategy to grow in an increasingly complex international landscape.
Our team is working with partner institutions to track ongoing shifts within the international student market and identify and leverage competitive advantages.
Intl. Enrollment Decline Behind Comp. Sci, Engineering Slump
Year-Over-Year Change, Master’s Conferrals and Intl. Graduate Enrollment, 2013-19
The questions guiding our research
Meet the team
We have a group of dedicated researchers focusing on the hidden risks, opportunities for growth, the current state of the competitive market, and diving into the true drivers of demand.
In the coming months, we will regularly release new insights from our experts. If you’d like to receive alerts about our latest market intelligence, or if you’d like to speak with a Blueprint for Growth researcher, please let us know.
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Grow your graduate and online programs
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