Good Jobs in Bad Times

Monday, February 8, 2021 - The pandemic has dramatically changed the outlook for new college graduates. Matt Sigelman, CEO of Burning Glass Technologies, a labor-market analytics firm, discusses what higher ed can do to help students prepare for life after college, including the academic programs to put in place.

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Jeff Selingo:

Hey, Michael. So one of the challenges of the pandemic will be the impact it has on the ability of graduates to get jobs. And there were some changing dynamics afoot there that will have some big impacts on colleges and universities.

Michael Horn:

And Jeff dare I say it, but I believe we have the perfect person here today with us to talk about that job market for graduates, but also about the bets that schools themselves are making on the programs that they choose to create, to be both relevant and to shore up their own financials. And that guest is Matt Sigelman of Burning Glass.

Michael Horn:

I'm Michael Horn.

Jeff Selingo:

And I'm Jeff Selingo. So whenever I need to figure out what's happening in the job market and the connection of that market to higher education. I don't consult BLS data. I call Matt Singleton, who is one of the smartest people tracking the job market in real time with the firm, he runs as CEO Burning Glass Technologies. Burning Glass digs into real-time data from resumes and job ads and other sources that help inform careers to find academic programs and shape the modern workforce. Matt spends also a significant amount of time with both higher education institutions and employers. Matt, and I just wrote a new report titled Good Jobs in Bad Times, and we're excited to dig into that and other research that Matt has been doing over the last couple of months. So welcome to the show, Matt.

Matt Sigelman:

Thank you so much. Great to be with you guys.

Michael Horn:

Yeah, it's great to have you Matt, I really appreciate it. A question we love to ask our guests up front is, how did they get into the world of higher ed? For you, I suspect many of our listeners may have heard of Burning Glass, but don't really know what it does and they probably don't know your story of how you got involved with it and how you interact with higher ed institutions on a day-to-day basis now. So could you share that story with our listeners?

Matt Sigelman:

Yeah, for sure. Funny thing is, is Burning Glass wasn't started as a higher ed company. Burning Glass was actually started with the premise that when it comes to the world of work, there's been this kind of deficit of analytical understanding. Just think about the way students and workers make decisions and the way employers hire and all of it really happens mostly based on gut. And so in that regard, actually, we haven't evolved that far beyond the movie, The Graduate. Remember how Dustin Hoffman was told to go into plastics?

Michael Horn:

Plastics.

Matt Sigelman:

Exactly. Today, that would probably be somewhat different advice. We'd probably tell our kids to go into tech or maybe big data.

Michael Horn:

I was going to say Silicon.

Matt Sigelman:

But the idea is the same. And we realized that a lot of the reason why everything tends to be so intuitive in the world of work is that there just hasn't been a lot of data available. And so Burning Glass was started with the idea of how do we empower all of the constituents around the world of work, whether it be learners, whether it be workers, whether it be employers, whether it be the educators who essentially serve as a middleman between the two, how do we empower them with the data to be more effective? And what we realized as we started to increasingly to map the world of work, creating just a tremendous amount of data about what's going on, what are the jobs in demand? What are the skills and credentials that unlock them?

Matt Sigelman:

We realized the currency of all of it, the currency that moves that market is skills. And so what we started to do is to get really good at being able to understand what are those skills that open up good work? What are the skills that drive mobility? What are the skills that employers are really looking for? And so we work with hundreds of educational institutions today to help them map the landscape of opportunity for graduates, which I think is kind of essentially the acumen in which higher education lives.

Jeff Selingo:

So Matt, we worked on this report, as I mentioned, that we coauthored together and it was just released called Good Jobs in Bad Times. And in it, we explore what the post pandemic economy might look like for those with freshly minted degrees and how they, and their colleges can best position themselves for success. There's one initial finding in it that still shocks me and I think it shocks readers as well. When the pandemic first hit and jobs posting started to fall off last spring. Those that required a college degree, meaning the jobs that required a college degree declined more than jobs for high school graduates initially. Why do you think that was? And more important, what does it portend for the longer term value of the bachelor's degree?

Matt Sigelman:

Yeah, this was something that was really astounding and very different from what we've seen in past recessions. Now first, just to clarify, while lower skill jobs may have had and continue to have had more layoffs, which is the number we're all used to seeing. When it goes to hiring, which is kind of a more future indicator of where companies are going, where the economy is going. There's been a much bigger decline in BA level hiring. In fact, when we were first looking at this, as we were working together on this report, and this has continued since then, there was an overall decline of about 40% in bachelor's level hiring versus only about 25% for high school entry. And similarly, by the way, the worst effected part of the economy was entry-level college grad jobs. So that says that first of all, in this economy today and the anemic recovery, that seems to be in process that students graduating into the maelstrom of what's really the worst job market in more than a generation are really going to struggle. This is the next big crisis of higher education.

Matt Sigelman:

Now your question is really interesting, which is why is this going on? It seems counter-intuitive that college degree holders are the ones who are struggling the most to get onto the ladder in this economy. And I think this is what you're seeing, right? So a lot of jobs are defined in the here and now in terms of where their output is. If I'm American Airlines and I have to stop flying because of lockdowns or not enough people are flying, the unfortunate reality is I'm going to lay off pilots. I'm going to lay off flight attendants. A pilots job happens today. But a lot of college level jobs are actually working on outputs that may come to bear many calendar quarters after the work. If you're a software developer, the work you're doing today, isn't necessarily for things that get released today, it might be stuff that's going to get released next year.

Matt Sigelman:

And in fact, what we've seen is that the biggest declines in hiring have been in what we call innovation jobs, the kinds of jobs whose output is many quarters out, which are really about companies investing in their future. But the scary thing here by the way, is that when you stop investing in your future, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. And so what this says is that for college graduates as is there a lot of college graduates have struggled to get into the market. As you from some work that Brain Blast has done in the past, we know that even before the pandemic, 43% of graduates were graduating into underemployment, that is into jobs that don't require a college degree. So it was hard to get a toehold on the ladder. A lot of the rungs in that ladder are actually falling out.

Jeff Selingo:

So in the paper we talk about skills-based hiring. So even before the economy, you even talked a lot about this, about the foundational skills that students need to unlock jobs. And there's this great graphic in our new report about the 14 foundational skills critical to most jobs in this economy. Things like creativity, collaboration, managing data. You've been talking and writing about these skills for so long, what needs to change? Colleges think they're teaching them. They're not always, and certainly they're not giving them credit on a graduate's transcript for the most part. Nobody says we're giving you credit for creativity, and I saw this in reporting my last book, nor are they assisting them and talking about them in job interviews. So what needs to change, so that skills get their due course in our higher ed system? So it's not just based on credit hours, degrees, majors, right? Those are all the building blocks for graduates now. But if employers are hiring on skills, how do we give them their due course in higher ed?

Matt Sigelman:

So I think a lot of this is about a change in language. Right now, when it comes to the language of academia, it doesn't line up with the language of opportunity, which is the language that the job market speaks with the language of skills. In academia, we talk about learning outcomes and alike, and so, we're not agnostic skills, we're just calling them something else. And we're describing them in different terms. And the problem with that is when we have different constituencies, speaking, different languages. It becomes hard to see number one, where are the opportunities? It becomes hard to see what's the value in the curriculum that we have. It's hard to see what the gaps are, and it's hard to be able to express what our students know and what they don't know.

Matt Sigelman:

And so, I think if we can sort of think about skills as a decoding ring and start to translate our curriculum. We start to translate at the course level to a language of skills. It empowers a range of things I think will be very transformative for us in the world of higher education. First of all, it's going to empower the ability for students to make better course decisions right now. And there's always been a bit of a crisis around student advising. I think the opportunity to be able to advise students as to specifically which courses are going to help them fill out their dance card, not just that they graduate, it's that they have the skills they need to land into a job, I think is going to be very important.

Matt Sigelman:

It allows higher education also to evaluate whether programs are keeping pace. Are we teaching the sets of skills that graduates are going to need on the other end? But what it also does is it works in the other direction because in a lot of cases, the right sets of skills are getting taught. We just aren't talking about them in a language, exactly to your point, that actually resonates with the market. You may be taking a course, let's say a sociology course, or you're doing a lot of field research and using a statistical coding package in that course, but it's called [inaudible 00:12:03] 87 on your transcript.

Matt Sigelman:

And so, the student doesn't know she should call it out. The employer, doesn't look at it and say, "Oh wow. She knows R by looking at that." And then finally, the other thing which happens when you start to do this, is it's going to allow significant opportunities for institutions to be able to open up the value of their courses, to a broader set of audiences, to be able to say, "Hey, look, we're teaching sets of skills here that are actually quite marketable." And so when we do this, and I'm glad you pointed to the research that we've done around the foundational skills that are transformative. And that research, what we did is we looked at what are the skills that across high value, new economy jobs, what are the skills that are in common across them and found not surprisingly the kind of skills that are the bedrock of a liberal arts education are of enduring value. They are very high premium in the job market.

Matt Sigelman:

And so we need to be able to express them, but we also need to be able to change our mentality about how we think about them from a either or, right? In the world of academia, we tend to shoot any discussion of skills that will be relevant to careers as being sort of a vocational thing, almost a dirty word. And instead say, we're teaching the right sets of things and in a lot of ways very high value skills. How do we compliment them with the last mile skills that will make sure that graduates can place directly into our opportunity?

Matt Sigelman:

How do we give them, or use the language that [inaudible 00:13:56] likes to use? How do we give them not only the timeless skills, but also the timely skills? The reality of modern work is it needs both, employers demand both. And I think when we can do that, when we can articulate the value of what we're teaching and when we can compliment the value of what we teaching. I think by the way, this is not the anathema to our liberal arts heritage. It's not about making the whole thing of vocational exercise. I actually think it's about saving the liberal arts.

Michael Horn:

Yeah. And I think it's an incredibly important point, Matt and eloquently said as well. I want to turn and shift to an adjacent report that you all released recently that relates to this and relates frankly, to the choices programmatically that higher ed chooses to offer and to teach, which was a report called Bad Bets. And the big headline from the report, I'll try to summarize, is this, which is that we know that many colleges right now are struggling financially. Many of them are seeking to grow their way out of those challenges and to do so many say, "Hey, let's create a new program that attracts new students and brings a new revenue." So there've been a ton of new programs created in the last decade.

Michael Horn:

And what you all found is that a stunning number, two-thirds of them, have new programs launched on the heels of the great recession were graduating fewer than 10 students a year by 2018 and 30% reported actually zero degrees. Now, to be fair, as you all acknowledged, not all programs are built to graduate students, but the reason this all matters is it costs a heck of a lot of money, $2 million over four years, you estimate to launch a new program. And if you're already hemorrhaging cash, this is problematic. So with that as a prelude, I'm actually curious on a personal level, because you spend a lot of time with higher ed institutions, college presidents, deans, and so forth. What surprised you the most from what you all found out of this?

Matt Sigelman:

So, first of all, we knew that this was going to be ugly, but we were surprised at just how ugly it was, just how high the rate of program failure was. The notion that two-thirds of programs, five years from launch or five years from graduating, students are still conferring, fewer than 10 degrees was kind of stunning. Second, that no one's tracking this and that there's no consistent set of metrics. There's no focused view of program success that institutions are routinely turning to. One of the things that was very interesting and the reactions to the report was people would tell us, "Gee, this is not something we track." And thought, "That's fascinating."

Matt Sigelman:

And it's a basic question of, are they delivering success? Are they generating the kind of student interest which justified starting them which justifies continuing them, which can produce a basic return on investment. And finally, the other thing that really surprised me is not only that we're lacking the metrics, but that most institutions are actually lacking the process by which to be successful. The rates are high and it doesn't need to be this way. When you look at the kind of institutions that have a successful new program machine, that is to say, after the report, we started looking more and more, who are the kinds of institutions who are launching lots of programs and have a relatively low failure rate? And what are they doing?

Matt Sigelman:

Now, first of all, I want to say, by the way, relatively low, because in the world of higher education, we don't like to think about necessarily the metaphor of a product, but if you were a Silicon Valley company and you were launching a new product, if you're innovative, you're trying new things, some percentage of what you try, that's new will fail and that's okay. But the question is, how do you see that failure rate be more like 20, 30% and not 60, 70%? And so, the institutions who were doing this well, have a process for how to make sure that they are launching consistently. And a lot of that meant that they are data-driven in their analysis.

Matt Sigelman:

They have sets of data they want to look at in terms of who the target audience for those programs are. They have a standard process for understanding where a program should take that audience for evaluating how much opportunity is at the other end and also for evaluating the competitive landscape for programs. That doesn't eliminate risk, but doing some basic things like that, bringing data to bear can provide an evidence-based for evaluating the sometimes weird, sometimes wonderful ideas that come in from trustees, from professors and for identifying which ones have real promise and which ones are likely to go off course.

Jeff Selingo:

So let's lean into that a little bit more as we end here, Matt. Whether colleges should be launching all of these new programs at all, right? So Melissa Korn of the Wall Street Journal, who we had on recently on Future U pointed out that just launching all these new hot programs might be wise in the short term, but it also creates a lot of colleges that continue to just look undifferentiated from each other. So what's your advice? And maybe combining thoughts from both papers, because in our report, you lay out all these new economies that might emerge from this pandemic, like the readiness economy, the remote economy, the logistics economy, the automated economies.

Jeff Selingo:

And for all the listeners, we hope you're actually going to read the paper to find out what all those different economies mean, we're not going to go into detail here, but you make the point in the paper that we did together that most colleges have the building blocks of these programs already in place they might just have to move a few things around rather than create whole new programs from whole cloths. So what is your advice to colleges and universities going forward? Given what you found in Bad Bets should they be launching all these new programs coming out of this pandemic?

Matt Sigelman:

So I would give two pieces of advice here. And both of these say the answer is yes, they should be starting new programs, but they should be doing them that build on their strengths, strategically aligned with the university, with priorities and with the communities that the institution serves. And so, the two piece of advice I'd have is first of all, and perhaps ironically, this time that we're in right now, which is so financially stressful, where we're seeing such declines in enrollments is exactly the right time for growth. This is the time when there is an imperative for growth. And that sounds kind of weird, right? We know that first year enrollments according to National Student Clearinghouse are down, I think 16% this year. We know that's on top of a longterm demographic trend that a lot of institutions are struggling with.

Matt Sigelman:

We know that's on top of all the financial pressures as a lot of public institutions are seeing smaller and smaller allocations from the state treasuries. This is the right time for growth because it's a time of tremendous dynamism in the economy. It's a chime of tremendous dynamism and skills. We started off by talking about skills. A lot of our conversation today has been about skills. And so it says that if we want to think about surviving, we have to think about growing, but if you're going to grow, the given the demographic realities, I just shared, this is not growth about just trying to do more of the same that we've done.

Matt Sigelman:

You have to realize that if we want to get from, let's say the 16 or 17 million students who are being served in higher education in the U.S. today to let's say 30 million by 2030, which is perhaps an audacious goal, we have to think about an entirely different audience, not the couple million high school students who graduate each year, but the 150 million Americans who are in the workforce. We need to think about the 30 million or 40 million Americans who have some credit, no degree. These are audiences that are out and working today, whose jobs are changing, who are increasingly needing new sets of skills and where higher education has tremendous opportunity to fill in the blank. But to do that, we have to think about different shapes of education. We need to be able to have programs that are more responsive.

Matt Sigelman:

It means we have to have new program processes that are more responsive. We need to have programs that are oriented toward a dynamic level of skills and which address specific opportunities for people to transition. So that's the first part of advice. And Jeff, the second part of your question, it would be this. And I would call this the, if we're going to launch programs, I would apply the Walter Gretzky School of program development. Somebody recently corrected me, I always thought it was Wayne Gretzky who talked about skating to where the puck is going. Apparently he was quoting his dad, Walter, and I actually never knew that.

Matt Sigelman:

And again, this is an inflection point in the economy. And if we look ahead to what we think is going to be the sets of economic forces that are going to drive the post pandemic recovery, there's certain sets of themes, which are not that hard to see, which we think are going to be key to rewriting the kind of opportunities that are available to graduates. We think about the readiness economy, the automated economy, the logistics economy, the remote economy, and also the green economy. And each of those economies, if you will, their sets of jobs and skills that underlie them. And if we go through and sort of that exercise of the imagination we project out, what are those economies?

Matt Sigelman:

What are those macro forces that are going to drive recovery? That are going to drive the opportunity landscape of the 2020s? Hopefully the roaring twenties. What we're going to find is that they're going to be talent needs that are going to be tremendous opportunity areas for graduates. Institutions that can create programs or can align existing programs to those opportunity areas for graduates and who are ready to use the right language to describe them are going to be tremendously successful. We're going to see really significant growth. And I think we'll get to 30 million higher education enrollees by 2030.

Michael Horn:

Well, Matt, a great conversation as always, thank you so much for joining us and really enlightening our listeners as much as I think you enlightened both Michael and I in our conversations with you. And so, again, thanks for joining us. And we're going to be right back on Future U. Welcome back to Future U off an enlightening conversation with Matt Sigelman of Burning Glass and Jeff, you had the chance to author one of the reports of course, that we talked about with Matt. And I'm curious what struck you the most from it that perhaps we didn't touch upon in the conversation with Matt?

Jeff Selingo:

Yeah, and I think Michael, the first thing is that it's not all negative. Its bad times, but there are still good jobs. And I want to lean into the two categories of jobs that are suitable for those leaving college in the current economic climate because we didn't have a chance to really dive into them. One is what we called target occupations. Those are professions across a range of majors with solid salaries and where employers really continue to hire at the entry level. They may not be the first job somebody thinks of when a student asks, "What can I do with a major in X?" But these jobs do typically require a college degree, things like insurance agents, information security analysts, clinical laboratory technologists.

Jeff Selingo:

I know they're not the jobs that people, again, dream of when they go to college. But if our goal here is to get people employed after graduation, I think it's really critical. And that leads to the second category, which I love. This is a title that Matt came up with, which are lifeboat occupations. These are occupations typically that require less than a bachelor's degree, but allow employees to gain important skills that can be used to transition later on to higher pain occupations that do require a four-year degree. So it goes back to this idea of underemployment, which Matt talked about in which was the subject of a report they did a couple of years ago about underemployed bachelor's degrees. And so yes, you may be underemployed, but at least you're gaining the skills that can move you into a better job. So it's not like, and no offense against the usual trope that we try under employed graduates around being a barista, but at least you're learning skills in these jobs.

Jeff Selingo:

So take, for example, a computer user support specialist, that job doesn't usually require a bachelor's degree but it pays an annual salary of 55,000. And the skills developed in that role can eventually lead you up to a system administrator. But what I think is important here is that for both target occupations and even somewhat for the lifeboat occupations, students need to have the right sets of skills to stand out and gain entry in a highly competitive market. And this is where I think colleges need to lean into help and many still aren't.

Jeff Selingo:

They're trying to invest more in career services as much as they can, but for the most part, they still don't see specific, narrow based skill building, as critical. This is something that our friend, Ryan, Craig mentions all the time. Salesforce and other sorts of SaaS applications are a requirement of almost every job, but how many colleges actually teach those skills. So, Michael, I know you've had some skepticism around this skills, being the lingua franca of the workplace in some ways. And we present a view in the report of some foundational ones, which are mostly kind of the soft skills, but I'd like to hear any counter perspective that you might have.

Michael Horn:

Yeah. So Matt gave the example of taking a sociology class and learning R, right? Or data analysis or techniques like that. And I would add writing frankly, to that list as well. These are skills that I think transfer well between contexts. And if colleges were better about calling them out in effect in some way could be quite useful. I think those skills can also often be very content and context dependent or specific. So you hear a lot of times employers saying, gosh, I want people who are good at problem solving, or I want people who are good at thinking critically. And I guess I have skepticism about the transferability of learning critical thinking and sociology, and then being able to use it in a very different job.

Michael Horn:

In any of the occupations that you laid out, critical thinking, and sociology looks very different from what it looks like as a computer system administrator, for example. And I just think we have to be clear about that. Now there's an exception to that, Minerva, I think, which we both know and we've had been on, they do a good job of saying, this is what critical thinking is. And we're going to build this pattern of thought through a range of disciplines so that whenever you come to a new content area, you will have the transferability and be able to show that critical thinking ability. That's not what most higher ed is doing though. You learn to sort of think like a historian through a history major, for example. And I think it's amazing, but I don't think it creates those transferability of skills beyond certain ones.

Michael Horn:

Now that all said, Jeff, I do think Matt raises a good point about the liberal arts and that he correctly is offering a good defense of them. But when you build these more human skills or as president [inaudible 00:32:08] would say that these are important compliments to the automation and artificial intelligence that we see in the economy. And I think it's no coincidence that Paul LeBlanc, president of Southern New Hampshire, who we've had on here and Greg Fowler, who was the president of Southern New Hampshire Global and now is the president of UMGC University of Maryland Global Campus, they're both English majors and they're doing, some of the most innovative online work in higher ed. So I'm in agreement that this could be the restoration of the importance of the Humanities and liberal arts, I guess I'm skeptical that we should overstate what just focus on skills will actually allow graduates to do if that makes sense.

Michael Horn:

But Jeff, this gets into something else, which I think is sort of part of what I'm saying, which is how do we credential skills or these chunks of knowledge that would transfer into the workplace? And it gets into the topic of micro-credentials and how we get higher ed and industry to really speak the same language around these things. I've long felt that common assessment will have to be a big piece of this puzzle, but I know you've thought a heck of a lot about this and you've talked to a lot of people about this. What's your own take?

Jeff Selingo:

Yeah. I think we have to get to a common assessment at some point and we have to get employers really at the table on that. I don't think that's anytime soon. I think first we have to get a better handle on the learning outcomes. I remember we had Randy Bass from Georgetown on the show probably the first season. And I don't know if he said it on the show, but I remember him telling me at one point about the reform work that they've been doing at Georgetown, just trying to get faculty members to even think about what are the learning outcomes of their courses, and perhaps even putting them on the syllabus so that students know, what am I supposed to even get out of this course is the first baby step that we need to take.

Jeff Selingo:

Then probably the next step is the transcript. And actually starting to tell students over the two or four years of college, what did you actually learn in terms of skills? Because until we get to those building blocks of micro-credentials or those chunks of knowledge, then we can't really credential them in any way, because we don't even know what we're credentialing. And then I think we are at the credentialing stage. And then I think we really need employers at the table. And then we're also hiring people with micro-credentials, right? Because we've seen in the last year, all these headlines of big employers who are hiring people without college degrees. We're not looking at the college degree as we used to, we're not requiring the college degree for certain jobs, right? And those have grabbed headlines.

Jeff Selingo:

So once we start grabbing headlines, once we start having headlines of Google and Microsoft and Amazon hiring people with these micro-credentials once we start seeing that, then I think that's a beginning of a change because that's when boards of trustees and political leaders and leaders of colleges start reading those headlines and they say, "Wow, we really need to jump on this credential craze or this micro-credential craze." So last question, Michael. Matt raised an interesting point around the failure rates of program launches, right? That failure, isn't a bad thing, but how do we lower the percentage from 60 to 70% to 20 or 30%, for example. You think a lot about this from outside of higher education alerts and lessons from innovation. So what are your thoughts?

Michael Horn:

Yeah, it's interesting. And I didn't think about it, frankly, when I covered the piece initially, and I did the webinar with him but as he was talking to us, Jeff, what occurred to me was that 75% plus of new product launches in corporate America fail. So these are companies that do tons with data and they're mining the information and they're coming up with products and more of those product launches fail, than new programs and higher education. And I just thought that was interesting just sort of level set a little bit of the perspective. Now, I think higher ed has some advantages, which they're not creating in many cases, brand new, never before seen products. These are understood products in the market or services, degrees and data can be more useful to lower that failure rate.

Michael Horn:

But I also think that it's important for them to remember and this is something that I often talk about with Matt, that data is in everything. Like human beings create data, it's by definition, backward looking. It's super important because we can see supply and demand at any point in time in a regional market for certain degrees or skills and so forth. But we also have to know that it's not static and we have to use some intuition and project forward and have a theory of change underneath that as well. I don't know that there's there, there, or takeaway, maybe it's just higher ed isn't as bad as perhaps this report makes it sound like, but given the perilous state of higher ed right now for so many institutions, they've got to do a better job.

Michael Horn:

And I do think here is a place where simply, clearly identifying what's your objective and outcome, and looking at some data would be just a monumental step forward. Jeff, as we wrap up the show, though, we have one question from a listener that I wanted to pose to you specifically, because it's your area of specialty, which is, as we're starting to see numbers come in on the early part of the admission cycle. And obviously, there will be more people that applied, but we're starting to see some data from that. You're having conversations with admissions officers. What's the most surprising thing to you so far in the current admissions cycle?

Jeff Selingo:

It's probably the headlines we've been seen in the last couple of weeks in terms of the huge increases we've seen at selective colleges in applications. And it's a double edged sword for colleges and universities. Now, people will say, "Well, of course their test optional. Wouldn't you have expected to see increases in applications?" And yes I would have, but not to the numbers that we've seen, right? 30, 40, 50%. I mean, these are huge numbers that we're seeing, places like UCLA over 40, 50,000, these are just numbers that nobody could fathom a year ago. And the double-edged sword here is that applications don't mean enrollments, right? So somebody has to still review all those applications. But the more important thing is yield.

Jeff Selingo:

To all the yield models in higher ed, both at those places that have more applications than ever before. But even at those places that have been flat have been built on kind of these historical measures that are not going to be true in this pandemic year. And so that to me is really surprising is the increase in applications and really what it's going to mean for yield on the other side, in the spring. So it will be a story to be told. And perhaps we should have somebody on maybe in April or May to talk a little bit more about that. So, Michael, that's all we have time for now on this episode. So please keep those questions coming, as part of this new feature on Future U and thanks to Matt Sigelman for joining us today and for you for listening. Until next time, stay well.

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