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24+ Higher Education Statistics That Show Digitizing is a Must

Stefanie Jansen |
May 8, 2023
Min Read

Having a beautiful campus, strong degree programs, a vibrant campus life, and notable sports teams may not be enough to get a student’s enrollment anymore. 

A recent study by Great State found that 91% of students believe their university’s digital services should be as strong as face-to-face lectures and life on campus.

91% of students believe their university’s digital services should be as strong as face-to-face lectures and life on campus.

That means true digitization is about more than just paperless processes. Whether they're applying for admission, registering for classes, submitting service requests, or scheduling appointments, students expect easy, digital experiences and rapid responses.

EDUCAUSE research shows that 13% of colleges and universities are engaging in digital transformation today, while another 70% are still developing a strategy or in the exploratory phase. Is the higher ed sector moving fast enough? Not for savvy students and staff. Recent higher education statistics demonstrate the need for the industry to accelerate digitization for more convenient recruitment, giving, and alumni experiences. 

We’ve compiled 24+ statistics that show why digital higher education processes are an absolute must.

Did you know? More than 350 colleges and universities around the world use Formstack to improve their higher ed processes

Digitizing Increases Student Recruitment and Retention

  • In higher education, the admissions process plays a significant role in the overall student experience. According to Salesforce’s Connected Student Report, students who have a great onboarding experience are 35 times more likely to have a great university experience.
  • Further, a strong onboarding experience results in 63% of students feeling more connected to their institution. 
  • Fifty-two percent of U.S. graduate students say their online college-level education provided a better learning experience than their college-level classroom education. 
  • Sixty-seven percent of students expect their university's digital experiences to be as good as those on Facebook, Amazon, or Netflix. Plus, 50% of students say the quality of the university’s digital experience was a key factor in their university selection.
  • Eighty-one percent of students would like their university to provide a digital experience that will stay with them after graduation.
  • Digitizing higher education classes has made students more professionally marketable. Advanced visual technology, such as virtual reality and augmented reality, has become a tool learned and used in e-learning platforms. These skills are being used by many Fortune 500 companies, such as Walmart, UPS, and Boeing. 

Dr. Mark Walcott, Executive Director Advancement Systems at University of Houston, shares his predications on how advanced visual technology can help universities grow.

Hear More 

  • Students in higher education believe that digital access to course material via mobile provides easier access to course content and improves communication between instructors and other students.
  • Almost all students believe a good digital experience can help them manage their wider student life (92%), perform better academically (90%), feel a part of the university (86%), and maintain mental wellbeing (86%).
  • Ninety-three percent of students expect a university’s digital experience to combine information, services and support from the university, the local area, and relevant external organizations.
  • Sixty-seven percent of students report completing higher education work through mobile devices. 

Try It: Create a university application that will automate the way student data is collected and streamline application management.

Digital Workflows Free Faculty Time and Bandwidth

  • An estimated eight in ten higher education institutions rely on software as a service (SaaS) applications to send email, manage learning programs, and increase productivity. 
  • More than 60% of faculty are excited about university technology growth, as well as machine-learning-powered teaching assistants and AI adaptive technology.
  • According to McKinsey, 81% of faculty say they feel higher ed technology tools are a good investment of time and effort relative to the value they provide.
81% of faculty say they feel higher ed technology tools are a good investment of time and effort relative to the value they provide.
  • Fewer than a quarter of college and university technology leaders are very confident that their institutions can prevent ransomware attacks, possibly leading to struggles with employee hiring and retention. 
  • Few campus information officers report that their university has made meaningful investments in cutting-edge technologies such as virtual reality or immersive learning (38% say they have at least begun investing) or adaptive learning (44% say they are considering investing).
  • Formstack’s State of Digital Maturity report found that 72% of workers believe inefficient processes negatively impact their job. When organizations lack digitization and automation, employees report higher levels of frustration, stress, and dissatisfaction.

From surveys and questionnaires to consent and data collection, using an online form builder allows higher education organizations to automate common workflows and data entry. These paperless offices benefit from more time to focus on strategic initiatives that drive the organization forward. 

Leslie DuPree, Director of Web Services and New Media at Augustana College, shares how automating higher education workflows has empowered their registrar's office: 

Learn More

Digitizing Creates Strong Alumni Relations and Giving

Learn More: You can build the workflows you need to engage alumni without relying on IT or knowing code.

Digitizing is a Must for Higher Education Success

The past few years have brought about many challenges for higher education institutions, including the stresses of remote learning, declines in admissions, and reduced budgets. Now the industry is at a pivotal moment. Students are demanding a digital-first approach, and universities are struggling to deliver digitization fast enough. 

Perhaps you’ve been hesitant to digitize because of time, infrastructure, or budget—but transforming your college or university with a digital presence can be easier than you think.

Formstack’s no-code solutions make it quick and easy to build fully automated education workflows that address the evolving needs of your students, faculty, and staff. Whether you’re an administrator, a professor, an academic adviser, or a director, our Formstack Platform empowers anyone at your school to achieve more in less time with digital forms, document generation, and eSignature collection.

Download our Workflow Inspiration Guide for Higher Education Automation to see real-life examples of how digitizing higher ed processes benefits students, staff, and faculty. Or, try Formstack today with a 14-day free trial.


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Stefanie Jansen |
Stefanie is a marketing writer with specialties in blogging, website writing, and copy editing. She has worked with a number of tech companies and has experience in the areas of email, marketing campaigns, and employee engagement. Connect with Stefanie at word4wordwriting.com.
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