Investments in dental academic software may be more important than ever before as both public and private universities around the U.S. experience declining enrollment numbers. The ability to access state-of-the-art technology through oral health programs has the potential to be a major deciding factor when students are choosing which schools to attend. Ensuring program participants get the highest quality education possible is a reliable way to maintain a competitive edge in the academic landscape.
The rising cost of higher education has placed a significant strain on students who must rely on loans from the federal government to pay tuition fees. According to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, dwindling student populations have lead many private institutions across the country to lay off employees, cut programs, merge with other organizations or shut their doors completely. More than a quarter of private four-year schools experienced a 10 percent decrease in enrollment between 2010 and 2012. The Journal said in previous years, these trends were limited to fewer than 1 in 5 universities.
"I think it's fair to say 30 percent of these private schools won't exist in a decade," Jonathan Henry, vice president for enrollment at Husson University in Bangor, Maine, told the Journal. "A lot of these schools will have to learn to live with less."
Similar trends are occurring at public institutions around the country as well. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said enrollment among schools in the University of System of Georgia, which includes 31 public organizations, dropped by nearly 5,000 students this fall. As a result, the system's Board of Regents will miss out on $20.15 million in state funding due to a reduction in overall credit hours.
Leveraging dental software to attract students
As academic institutions around the U.S. find ways to attract more students, oral health care programs specifically can invest in dental school software to enhance the quality of the classroom experience. Bob Stewart, vice president for admissions and financial aid at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala., told the Journal his school also increased its scholarship fund to better target potential enrollees.
"We're at a time when enrollment is the No. 1 driver," Stewart explained. "We needed to have some game changers to bring in new students."
Dental software has the potential to place universities with oral health programs above competing institutions in terms of their ability to prepare students to tackle the challenges in the professional environment. These tools can also enhance administrative operations. For example, a centralized system through which faculty and staff can manage student progress may result in lower overhead costs. Even if enrollment numbers are declining, an increase in operational efficiency may limit many of the associated negative impacts.
Advanced software also provides students with the opportunity to gain valuable experience using electronic health records and other new technologies that are taking over the oral health care industry. With the promise of a high-quality education, universities will be able to maintain strong enrollment levels in the future.