Projecting Student Numbers

From WikiEducator
Jump to: navigation, search
Tutorial.png Unit 6 

Introduction | Projecting Student Numbers | What do we need to account for? | Treating the Capital Costs of Materials Development | Marginal Cost | Crossover Point

Accurate projections of the number of students who are likely to enrol for a new course are essential for estimating its costs. Where actual enrolments fall significantly below the projected number, then income will be lost and average costs will be higher than expected. As a result, instead of breaking even or producing a surplus over the life of the course, the institution will actually lose money. On the other hand, if student numbers exceed projected enrolments, problems may also arise in relation to the printing of study materials and the provision of places for face-to-face tutorials.

In some cases, there may be historical data available to assist in projecting student numbers. For example, where an ODL institution draws the majority of its learners from those who cannot be accommodated in conventional schools, then statistics should be available from the country’s Ministry of Education on the number of students who did not reach the required standard for promotion. Examination results can provide useful data on the relative success and failure in different subjects which may be used to project student numbers.

In some cases, a new course may be developed to enable particular categories of employees to obtain professional qualifications (for example, agricultural extension workers). In these circumstances, market research should give some indication of the total number of unqualified workers currently in employment, the annual turnover of staff and projected expansion of employee numbers in the field.

When a course or programme lasts more than a single year, it is essential to make a separate projection for each year’s batch or cohort of students. The actual number of students who register for the second (or subsequent) year of a course is dependent upon the number who were enrolled as first-year students the previous year, as well as the rates of failure and repetition.

Icon activity.jpg

Exercise 6.1 Projecting Student Numbers Open a copy of the Course Development Template in a new Window and click on the Summary tab.

  • If your ODL institution is considering the development of a new course, enter the programme name, course/module/unit name, planned year of first intake, etc. in the highlighted cells.
  • If there are no new courses under consideration, make up an example of a new course for the purpose of this exercise and enter imaginary details.

Click on the Student Numbers tab.

  1. Enter the number of first-year students that you expect to register for the course in the first year it is offered (Year 1) in Cell C14.
  2. Enter the estimated percentage of students who will fail the course in Cell B17.
  3. Enter the estimated percentage of failures who will repeat the course in Cell B18.
  4. If the course lasts only one year, enter a zero in Cell D15, otherwise the template will automatically project numbers for second- and third-year student groups.
  5. The template projects student numbers for a course life of up to ten years. However, if the estimated life of the course is less than this, you will need to replace the figures in relevant cells with zeros.

The template should automatically calculate projected student numbers by year, by course-year group and for the life of the course. Experiment by changing the estimated number of First-Year students, as well as the failure and repetition rates.