September 24, 2021

National Student Demand Numbers

GrayReports’ sample of nearly 32 million inquiries suggests that there is a rapid decline in inquiries for on-line programs, but relatively stable inquiry volume for on-ground programs.  We are also seeing a shift to higher-converting inquiries.  Recently, PPI volumes have dropped sharply, while internally-generated inquiries have risen.  As inquiries for on-ground programs and internally-generated inquiries gain share, conversion rates are rising.   So, while overall inquiry volume is down, converted inquiries are on the rise.

Inquiries for on-line programs continue to lose share.

  • So far in 2014, inquiries for on-line programs have dropped 23% YoY.
  • In July, they were down over 24.5% YoY.

Online Inqs. through July

Inquiries for on-ground programs remain a bright spot.

  • The first seven months of 2014 have produced a 7.6% year-over-year increase in inquiries.
  • The second quarter of 2014 outperformed Q2 2013 by 17.7%.
  • July is the first month in the past six that did not outperform 2013.
  • July recorded a very modest 1% decline in 2014.

On-Ground Inqs.

Internal inquiries are gaining share.

  • From January through March internal inquiries were stable versus last year.
  • April, May, and June all reported year-over-year increases of greater than 20%.
  • In July, internal inquiry share jumped 81% year-over-year to almost 30% of our sample.

Internal Conversions Through July 2014


Inquiry-to-application conversion rates have strengthened in recent months.

  • The first four months of 2014 are mature and have outperformed 2013.
  • May 2014 is nearly mature and has already outperformed 2013 by 12.4%.
  • July is starting strong and if the trend from the rest of the year holds it should outperform 2013.

Conversion rates through July '14

Conversion volumes are improving.

  • April had the lowest year-over-year growth thus far of 5.6%.
  • May still has the opportunity to improve but is already up 8.2% over last year.

Conversion numbers through July '14


August’s numbers will be completed in a few days and it will be interesting to see if the trends that have been developing over the past few months continue.  For an early look at August’s numbers click here to sign up for September’s GrayReports webinar.  If you have any questions about the data presented in this post please feel free to contact


About Demand Trends

Gray Associates, Inc. is a strategy consulting firm focused on higher education. We help education clients develop fact-based institutional and marketing strategies that maximize outcomes for students, the school, and its constituencies. To support our client work, we have developed an industry-leading database that combines information on inquiry volumes, demographics, competition, and employment. Using this information and proprietary analytical techniques, we work with faculty and school leadership to develop institutional strategies, select programs, pick locations and prepare curricula.

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