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Read our 2022 Year in Review

When is the right time to add a new program?

Megan McCorkle
November 21, 2022
6 min

For many colleges, the thought of adding new programs can be daunting. Adding new programs is expensive, time-consuming, and risky. Just one program can cost upwards of $500,000 to launch between conducting market research, hiring, developing course content, creating enrollment marketing plans, and more before even enrolling any students, in addition to ongoing maintenance costs. It’s also a time-intensive process, taking 2-3 years on average to start a new degree program. What’s worse is that after spending the time and financial resources, 55% of new programs fail.

With those obstacles in mind, is there ever an ideal time to launch new undergraduate degree programs? Yes, and that time is now. 

Today’s students are increasingly cost conscious and outcomes focused as they decide where to enroll. With each passing semester, colleges are losing out on undergraduate students who are looking for career-ready degree programs in in-demand fields. Small colleges struggle to attract and retain students as they compete against larger and well-endowed colleges with the resources to add new programs that students want. At Rize, we’re working to solve this challenge by helping colleges launch new programs for a fraction of the cost through online course sharing for undergraduates. Our partner colleges launch programs like Game Development, Cybersecurity, Computer Science, and Supply Chain Management in as little as one semester. That means if you get started now, there’s still time to impact your yield this admissions cycle and increase retention of your existing students with new degree programs. 

This isn’t a hypothetical solution. We’ve helped more than 90 colleges launch new, in-demand degree programs that complement their existing academic departments. In just 4 months, Rochester University identified, developed and approved 7 high-growth academic programs with minimal upfront cost. Only one semester into marketing these programs, Rochester attracted a combined 78 applicants and 32 new deposits. At Adrian College where Rize first launched, faculty have approved a combination of majors and minors that have generated 110 new first-year enrollments in Rize programs, 29 existing students retained, and over $8 million in tuition revenue generated.You can read more in depth case studies from our partner colleges here

Student satisfaction is also high. In fact, 80% of students rate Rize courses “as good or better” than their in-person classes and 92% of students preferred Rize courses to other online courses. We actively collect feedback from students throughout the semester and use that feedback to improve our courses continuously. Here’s what a few students enrolled in Rize courses had to say about their experience.

Excited by the prospect of adding new programs, but daunted by the administrative headache ahead? 

We support you every step of the way by helping you navigate the faculty governance and accreditation process and giving you the enrollment marketing tools to successfully launch programs in as little as a semester, without burdening your internal teams. That includes regular meetings with our resident enrollment marketing expert, guidance based on the success of other colleges, and marketing content, designs, and positioning to help these programs succeed. Enrollment partners who were engaged and took advantage of these included resources saw 6x higher deposits per program on average than colleges who didn’t. After launching, we continue supporting you and your students with regular check-ins, student registration reports, and proactive student success monitoring. 

Don’t let another semester of undergraduate enrollment decline go by without trying something new. Book a consultation with our team to learn how we can help grow your enrollment and improve student outcomes with new hybrid undergraduate degree programs together.