Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is the United States' largest online university and provides education in a wide range of fields. The target group is primarily adults in the 30-35 age group, who have not previously attended college or university.
The rapidly rising cost of higher education has become a growing problem in the United States, not least as the financial return on higher education has fallen rapidly in recent decades. At the same time, the internet has completely transformed the digital learning environment.
In their efforts to reach new target groups and at the same time reshape content as well as pedagogy and communication, SNHU felt that they needed to better understand the next generation of students, Generation Z. How do they view higher education, costs and debt? What do you need to offer and how should you communicate with different parts of this generation? How do the parents think, those who often pay for the education, and what is HR's view of this generation – what do they expect from them, and to what extent do they feel that Generation Z lives up to expectations? These were questions raised by SNHU's leadership.
Together with SNHU, Kairos Future completed a project in the summer of 2019 that consisted of several parts. The core was a survey of young Americans in the target group, combined with a study among students at SNHU within the same age group. The results were also compared, among other things, with similar studies in Sweden and internationally. In parallel, surveys were conducted among parents of Generation Z and HR persons at major US companies and organizations.
The results of the studies, combined with more general working life trends and insights on Generation Z, were used as a basis for a 2-day strategy workshop where the results were narrowed down to four clear target groups and strategies for how SNHU could use the results in both innovation and communication. In the continued work during the fall of 2019, Kairos Future served as a sounding board and advisor.