Center for Research and Strategy Studies

Informed decisions. Ideas that work. The data you need.

UPCEA offers the gold standard of research and benchmarking information in the field through its Center for Research and Strategy. Under the experienced leadership of Jim Fong, the Center conducts several free studies per year for the benefit of all UPCEA members. See the Center's latest research in trending areas below. 

Alternative Credentials

Demand for alternative credentials is steadily increasing — make sure your institution is offering what students are looking for. 

UPCEA/Pearson Report: Demographic Shifts in Educational Demand and the Rise of Alternative Credentialing, Changes from 2016 to 2017

By UPCEA | January 2, 2018

We live in an age where the pace of change is pounding ahead all around us. For society to survive, universities and their learning programs must adapt to this acceleration or risk losing the central position they hold. Many of the megatrends that framed and motivated the 2016 version of this study have only grown and accelerated:…

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UPCEA/Chmura Study: Occupational Shifts and Higher Education Credentials

By UPCEA | September 8, 2017

This report illustrates a number of major occupational shifts in technology, healthcare, and other industries, and their impact on higher education. While new occupational categories are certain to arise, and existing ones may change, UPCEA and Chmura hope to shed greater light on this complex topic. The U.S. is at a unique period in time.…

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Increasing Millennial Interest in Alternative Credentials

By UPCEA | June 19, 2017

As Millennials continue taking over the workforce as the nation’s largest generation, it is important to take note of upcoming trends for this cohort of people — specifically with regards to the educational routes they each take. While it is clear that college enrollment rates are rising, with its peak being in 2010 when 70%…

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UPCEA/Pearson Survey: Demographic Shifts in Educational Demand and the Rise of Alternative Credentials

By UPCEA | June 7, 2016

To thrive in today’s fast-evolving job market, students need flexible ways to quickly develop and demonstrate new skills. Alternative credentialing helps solve this problem. UPCEA and Pearson surveyed 190 institutions to determine the role alternative credentials play in higher education. Learn more about the key findings and download the complete report, Demographic Shifts in Educational…

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Knowing what the next generation of learners is seeking will help you navigate these changing demographics. 

UPCEA/Chmura Study: Exploring the Determinants of Student Loan Default Rates

By UPCEA | March 6, 2018

Student loan defaults in the United States have been a growing problem. After reaching a historic low of 4.5% in 2003, student loan default rates have been trending upward, rising to 10.0% for the 2011 cohort. Total student debt has also been increasing in the nation, rising above $1 trillion in 2010 and approaching $1.5…

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An Insider’s Guide to Generation Z and Higher Education

By UPCEA | January 5, 2018

Generation Z remains a mystery for us, as well as business and industry. Only recently has the media and corporate America invested in better understanding them. In fact, they still argue about their definition and their ages. At UPCEA, we define Generation Z as those born between 1995 and 2005, or those roughly 12 to…

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Navigating Generational Shifts: Understanding Today’s Student Demographics, Preferences and Expectations

By UPCEA | June 23, 2017

As society evolves, our fascination with generational differences never seems to cease. Driven by the worldly events of the time, each generation embodies a generalized collection of cultural differences which tells us a fair amount about their beliefs, influencers, and preferences. While our fascination is oftentimes tied to pop-culture details such as fashion, music, and…

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Workforce Development

Stay ahead of the changes in today's economy and the workforce. 

Beer, Weed, and College: Three Things That Shouldn’t Go Together?

By UPCEA | May 11, 2018

What do beer, weed, and college have in common? It seems like an obvious answer, but for continuing educators, it means opportunity. With changing legislation, advances in sciences and more resources to establish small businesses, like the micro-brewery industry, the cannabis industry could also grow (no pun intended) and be fertile ground (pun intended) for…

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UPCEA/Emsi Report – The Race is on for Blockchain Talent: How Higher Education Can Respond

By UPCEA | March 6, 2018

New economies and ecosystems are moving at a rapid pace. Outside of a handful of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees, one could argue that higher education isn’t keeping up with the needs of a fast-moving economy. For some institutions, their response has been moving campus-based master’s degrees online or developing new online professional master’s degrees.…

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The Effect of Autonomous Vehicles on Education

By UPCEA | December 8, 2016

The evolution of autonomous vehicles (AVs) is a major innovation that will have a profound impact on the economy, contributing to both the loss of existing jobs and the creation of new ones. With each level of innovation and adoption of these vehicles, there will be an increased loss of jobs within the economy across…

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The Future (and Educational Impact) of Drones

By UPCEA | November 18, 2016

As technology increases, drones have become increasingly more affordable in both the private and public sectors, and in turn their use has increased dramatically. This presents opportunities for both businesses and higher education across the country. Businesses will be able to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for transportation, promotion, and communication to increase productivity and…

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Instructional Design

High-performing Instructional Design teams are crucial to the success of today's institutions. See how your team stacks up. 

Instructional Design and Technology Teams: Work Experiences and Professional Development

By UPCEA | April 22, 2017

The University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) conducted a research study in the spring of 2017 to learn more about the professional development needs and work experiences of instructional designers, instructional technologists, multimedia designers, and their team leaders. The goal was to determine how similar the team leaders and the team members felt about…

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Program Planning

Build a solid foundation for new program development and attract the learners you want. 

A Model for New Program Development

By UPCEA | December 5, 2016

Competition among higher education institutions is increasing both nationally and internationally, often driven by cultural shifts, globalization, advancements in technology, and decreases in state funding among other factors. Many universities have responded to these pressures by becoming more entrepreneurial. The future success of universities will depend in part on finding more opportunistic and creative means…

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Leading by Gut or by Data: The Data-Driven State of Higher Ed Decision Making

By UPCEA | September 16, 2016

In recent years, the idea of data-driven decision making has been propelling much of the higher education narrative. As many industries work to incorporate data and analytics into their organizational processes, education providers are also tasked with adopting a more thoroughly informed management approach. A 2013 report titled Building Organizational Capacity for Analytics highlighted that “enhanced analytics…

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Professional and Continuing Education

Keep your finger on the pulse of the latest professional and continuing education trends.

The Changing Landscape for Professional and Continuing Education in the U.S.

By UPCEA | February 1, 2017

With advancements in computing and the Internet, higher education saw a major transformation in the late 1990’s and into the new millennium. With online education, regional boundaries and service areas soon disappeared and institutions of higher education began competing more directly with one another. With greater competition, the degree and higher education experience was quickly…

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Information Technology

Stay up-to-date on how the leading advancements in information technology are impacting higher ed.

Who is Driving Data Access and Usage? The Role of Tech and Data Teams

By UPCEA | January 10, 2017

The role of information technology (IT) teams appears to be very different in higher education than it is in the business world. In business, CIOs and other managers of IT departments have made significant strides towards achieving strategic alignment. In higher education, however, it appears that professional, continuing, and online (PCO) education unit directors and…

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Marketing and Enrollment Management

Gain exposure and enrollments with the latest in marketing and enrollment management data and strategies.

Customer Relationship Management Among Education Providers

By UPCEA | October 18, 2016

Customer relationship management is a critical component of an education provider’s enrollment operations process. Increased competition and tightening budgets have led to a growing need for efficient and effective customer relationship management systems. Many education providers have developed external partnerships to meet this need. Helix Education and the University Professional and Continuing Education Association have…

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Media Expenditures Budgeting Among Higher Education Providers

By UPCEA | October 13, 2016

Marketing department media expenditures have been an important topic in student recruitment operations for more than 20 years. During the past decade, higher education providers have experienced a dramatic shift from print to electronic media as the main driver of their marketing operations. The resulting increase in electronic media expenditures has added a layer of…

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