In the wake of rising inflation and declining enrollments, innovative institutions are developing a course sharing strategy as a way to boost student and institutional success.

Colleges and universities have faced their fair share of challenges in 2022. From rising inflation erasing much of the positive news around endowment gains and funding increases to enrollments that failed to bounce back post-pandemic, it’s clear that tough times are ahead. 

But difficult times often lead to innovation and change. Like-minded institutional leaders are exploring new ways to collaborate. New strategies are emerging that will help to improve transfer, prevent credit loss, and keep students on track to completion. And more institutions than ever before are developing a course sharing strategy to help improve student and institutional success.  

Course sharing is gaining momentum amongst higher education institutions. It’s a strategy where two or more institutions collaborate to make their courses available to each other’s students to count for credit at their home institution. And as we head into 2023, we believe there are three primary reasons why every institution should consider developing a course sharing strategy.

Three Reasons to Consider a Course Sharing Strategy in 2023

1. Course Sharing Helps Keep Students on Track

Recent data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center shows that national college completion rates are flatlining.  But the longer students take to complete, the more time – and money – they spend. As inflation continues to prompt rising costs, finding ways for students to reduce the cost of a degree becomes even more acute.

One significant barrier on the road to completion is course availability. Too often, students struggle to find the courses they need, when they need them. In fact, our recent study, Barriers to On-time Completion, reports that one in every two students was waitlisted for a course they needed to graduate on time. 

A course sharing strategy helps institutions to overcome the course availability challenge by providing students with class options outside of their home institution. Through collaboration, institutions can make their courses available to each other’s students to count for credit at their home institution, giving them more options on when and where they can fulfill their degree requirements. And because these institutions have a course sharing strategy in place, students can feel confident that the courses they take will count towards their degree.

2. Course Sharing Boosts Enrollment

As student counts struggle to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels, many institutions are looking for innovative ways to improve enrollment and fill empty seats. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, nearly 1.3 million students have disappeared from colleges and universities since the start of the pandemic. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that enrollment growth strategies that worked in the past may not be as effective this time around. 

Course sharing offers an alternative to traditional strategies to grow enrollment. Through collaboration, colleges and universities can share courses and sections with peer institutions, allowing each other’s students to register for and take courses that count for credit at their home institution. This strategy not only fills empty seats in the classroom, but also offers greater choice and opportunity for students, enabling them to find the courses they need to stay on track. Which brings us to our next point.

3. Course Sharing Expands Equity and Access

Equity and access has always been a priority in higher education. But the pandemic cast a spotlight on all the ways institutions struggled in this area. Rural and placebound students found they were unable to access the courses they needed to graduate on time. While other students lacked diversity in their course options, which limited their academic opportunity.

A course sharing strategy helps institutions to overcome issues of equity and access by allowing them to diversify and expand the courses they offer to their students. By collaborating with like-minded peers, colleges and universities can offer a more diverse roster of classes without the expense of adding faculty and sections to their schedule. And through this broader array of options, their students gain access to greater academic opportunity.

Steve Jobs once said “innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity – not a threat.” Higher education is facing unprecedented change. And as we look ahead to 2023, it’s clear that institutional leaders need to think differently about how they address the challenges that persist. Developing a course and program sharing strategy opens up new opportunities for innovative institutions to address enrollment, inflation, and completion challenges, positioning them to thrive in the years ahead.

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Quottly helps higher education systems, consortia, and institutions expand academic opportunity, create new pathways to completion, solve transfer challenges, and drive efficiency. Explore Quottly solutions…