Penn Foster was in Denver last week to participate in the APSCU 2015 Convention and Exhibition. This conference brought together over 1,500 attendees from private sector schools to focus on innovations and enhancements in the higher education space. Having spent three days taking in the conference, here are my top 3 learnings I came away with from the show:

  1. The Private Sector Education Landscape are Rapidly Evolving " One key stat stood out from Newt Gingrich's keynote: by 2025 one-third of all learning in the US will be through private sector institutions. Obviously a lot will need to happen between then and now for this to occur, but as student needs continue to change, it won't be surprising to see private sector institutions take the lead in adapting their learning models and course offerings to serve these students.

  2. The Role Private Sectors Schools are Playing Among Employers " Increasingly over the past year, employers have begun partnering with post-secondary institutions to offer their employees discounted or free education as an additional employee benefit. Notable instances of this include Chrysler partnering with Strayer University to offer free college tuition to all dealership employees. Private Sector colleges, who are often able to react to industry demand faster than their non-profit brethren, are in a prime position to expand their offerings to employers in areas that these companies value and that will ultimately benefit their employees. Look for this trend to continue to grow heading into APSCU 2016.

  3. The Importance of New Enrollment Channels " While, per Mr. Gingrich's keynote, the future appears strong for private sector colleges, it's vital that these institutions continue to innovate and rethink how they can attract the most successful students. One population that tends to get overlooked by these schools, but whose potential for success is exponential, is adult learners who lack a high school diploma. One way to do this is through a High School Completion program, as Joy McClure, VP of Admissions and Marketing for Blue Cliff College, discussed during Classroom of the Future session Thursday afternoon. Because these students are already on your schools campus and learning good study habits, Joy stated, they tend to persist better than students who come in through other enrollment channels.

Want to learn more about private-sector school industry trends? Check out our 2014 Career School Industry Report.

Download Report