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Executive Voice

How Rize Education is Helping Small Colleges and the Communities They Serve

Many hundreds of small colleges around the nation are in the midst of deep financial struggles – struggles that existed long before COVID-19 came to be, but that have been magnified by the pandemic. The quantity of students enrolling in universities has undergone a sustained and substantial decline over the past several years because the value proposition of college is simply not what it used to be – no longer are graduates guaranteed the jobs and subsequent return-on-investment they desire. Moreover, students that do choose to go to college are increasingly choosing large public institutions or other new educational offerings like bootcamps, often to the detriment of small private colleges. The latter are left with a choice: innovate or die.

That is where Rize Education comes in. The only way for small private colleges to remain viable is to do one of two things – cut costs or grow revenue. Since the former option necessitates making choices that are ultimately against the best interests of the students colleges serve (like eliminating departments and cutting majors), the preferred option is to increase revenue through increased enrollment. These colleges must therefore win back some of the students big public universities and new educational upstarts have lured away.

Rize Education helps dramatically boost enrollment in a simple but incredibly powerful way: through collaborating with private colleges and universities to provide high-growth, in-demand majors to their students at a fraction of the traditional cost, eliminating the institutional risk of starting a new major program or department and leaving only benefit. These in-demand majors have resulted in an abundance of positive outcomes at schools Rize services in the Lower Cost Models Consortium, a collective of 112 institutions and counting that aims to provide members access to affordable, coveted courses that boost enrollment, significantly reduce tuition, and provide students a wealth of high-paying job opportunities following graduation. The additional enrollment Rize courses enable makes all the difference in a small college operating in the black rather than the red.

It’s more than just students and faculty at small colleges who benefit from Rize’s offerings, however. The colleges that operate within small cities and towns often function as the pillar of their community, educating and employing a majority of the population and almost single-handedly driving the overall local economy. This is where so much of the value of Rize’s innovative solution to the pressing problem of dwindling enrollment comes from. The flourishing of small colleges means more than the flourishing of those who live within the confines of a campus: it means the flourishing of entire communities.


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