Using Secondary Data to Evaluate Program Viability

By: Steven Fischer Sep 22, 2022

Using Secondary Data to Evaluate Program Viability

Valuation is an intriguing concept. You use it every day, but you may not even know it. You use valuation when deciding how much money to spend on something, whether a new car or a new house. You also use it when you make investments. You want to be sure that you’re getting a good deal and that your investment is worth your money.

So, how does this apply to college programs? When colleges are trying to decide whether to offer a new program, they need to do a valuation analysis.

As your college or university determines which programs to launch or evaluate, it is vital to ascertain the program’s viability and gauge future success.

A great way to determine viability is by using secondary data in market research to gain clarity by understanding the foundations found in data. In doing so, these data can allow institutions to stay up to speed by understanding the market conditions impacting not only existing programs but new or potential programs.

Secondary Data Sources Are Combined to Predict Future Trends

When it comes to forecasting the weather, meteorologists not only look at weather satellite data. They also use doppler radar and supercomputers to detect if there are any potential thunderstorms on the way.

In similar ways, we use the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) CIP codes and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) occupation (SOC) data to forecast a program’s future success.

These two data sources are made comparable due to the BLS/NCES “Crosswalk.” Crosswalk allows users to utilize data based on the relationship between program completions and job figures in the labor market. Institutions can learn if subject fields are growing or contracting by way of CIP codes. They can learn the job growth or decline, as well as the number of job opportunities available for students post-graduation, by way of SOC codes.

This information is critical for institutions as understanding the market allows them to make informed programming decisions that place their students in positions of strength, with the degree and certificate topics that will enable them to compete in the job market.

Secondary Data Provides a Low-Cost Solution

In the world of higher ed, time and money are crucial factors. When determining whether a program is successful, secondary data can provide a more economical way to make that determination.

Analyzing data from the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Labor Statistics is like ordering from a food-delivery app. Think back to a time when you struggled to decide what to have for Friday night dinner. You pulled up six tabs in your browser, each with a different local restaurant’s menu. It was the end of the week, and cooking was the furthest thing from your mind.

Nowadays, you don’t have to spend time opening tabs. Instead, you can use a food delivery app to find the nearest restaurants, all in one place. Thanks to these apps, it’s easy to get all the information about costs, location, popularity, and more – all in one place. You wasted no time collecting all that data yourself.

The data provided by NCES and BLS, correlated by the Crosswalk, provides institutions with directional data on subject or program success and student outcomes. It is an excellent way to understand subject fields’ supply and demand dynamics and the specific job markets graduates are most likely to enter once they complete the program.

Secondary Data Research Reflects the Needs of the Modern Student

In an increasingly competitive higher education landscape, institutions are looking for any advantage they can get. By leveraging secondary data research, colleges and universities can better understand their students’ needs and the job market in their region.

This information can then be used to plan for the future, creating programs most likely to lead to successful student outcomes. In addition, this data can be used to market these programs effectively, attracting students who are likely to benefit from them.

Institutions increasingly turn to secondary data research to guide their decisions. They will be well positioned to meet the needs of their students and prepare them for success.

Secondary Marketing with Strategic Partnerships

EDDY frequently utilizes these sources, and we believe in the directive nature and value of conducting market research to determine program feasibility. The EducationDynamics eLearning Index is another excellent example of secondary data use and how it can be informative in market analysis. This data is vital in understanding how the market looks today. Contact EDDY’s team of market research experts to help position your institution to build successful programs.