The Future of Higher Education: Insights for Investors and Parents

Part 1: Baird Global Investment Banking podcast

This podcast was originally published by Baird Global Investment Banking on May 14, 2020.
Part 2 of this podcast series focuses on the K-12 sector.  


The fallout from COVID-19 is bringing about dramatic changes in the higher education sector that will have hard-hitting implications for businesses, families and futures. Trends around enrollments, tuition and institutions’ financial situations have been accelerated, delayed or forever altered by the current environment.

In this 20-minute podcast, Dan Alfe, Managing Director with Baird Global Investment Banking, interviews Vanessa Webb, Co-Head of Oliver Wyman’s Global Education Practice and America’s Private Equity Practice. They discuss:

  • State of Union in higher education – pre- and post-COVID19
  • Changing enrollments and administrative decision making
  • Accelerating trends toward and away from online learning
  • Opportunities/challenges for third-party solution providers
In a lot of the work that we've done, where we've done surveys and asked working students or potentially working students what's their preferred education modality, for most, it's now online. So, online is here to stay, and it will grow
Vanessa Webb

Vanessa discusses the state of higher education prior to COVID-19 and how some of its challenges have been exacerbated.

Historically and recently, about 30 percent of higher education institutions have expressed concerns about financial stability due to a number of factors, including slowing enrollments, increasing price sensitivity, slowing state funding and their necessarily fixed cost base.

Over the last month, that has risen to about 80 percent with students starting to ask for dollars back, loss of ancillary revenues, and lower Alumni donations.

Just given the counter-cyclical nature of higher education particularly in the vocational areas, when people lose their jobs, they have to go back to school to re-skill and up-skill
Vanessa Webb