Tambellini Group Spotlight


Student System Technology Investments Surge Ahead by 98 Percent in 2021, As Higher Ed Market Reverses Five-Year Trend of Declines

Findings from Tambellini Group’s 2022 Student Systems US Higher Education Market Share, Trends, and Leaders Report show a significant turning point in technology investments to improve the student experience.

Irvington, Virginia – June 14, 2022 – In an abrupt reversal from five consecutive years of declines, higher education investments in student systems surged by 98 percent in 2021, the largest annual increase in student system selections in over a decade, and the highest total number since 2013. A continued urgency to enhance the student experience and enhance operational efficiencies were the biggest drivers of the strong growth.

The findings from Tambellini Group’s annual 2022 Student Systems US Higher Education Market Share, Trends, and Leaders Report highlight the sharp year-over-year rise in overall student system selections across all market sectors, especially among public four-year institutions, with a 667 percent jump, followed by a 121 percent increase among private nonprofit institutions, and a 68 percent spike among public two-year institutions.  

“For quite some time, institutions have been very interested in student systems that enable them to provide streamlined services and automated technology to modernize the student experience, but they were previously hesitant to make selections because of past delays from vendors in delivering needed functionality,” said Vicki Tambellini, CEO and Founder of Tambellini Group.

“The strong growth in 2021 represents a significant turning point. We predict ongoing acceleration in investments as available systems continue to evolve and institutions show renewed interest in resuming selections delayed during the pandemic.”

Notable Trends and Findings:

  • Market-Wide Adoption: Approximately 5 percent of the higher education student market has selected a modern cloud student system since 2015, when vendors first began to offer these systems. 
  • Vendor Landscape: Workday and Jenzabar led 2021 student system selections, and 29 percent of institutions that selected a student system chose cloud-native ones from Oracle or Workday.
  • Public vs. Private Institutions: Private, not-for-profit institutions made the most selections, at 49 percent, followed by 24 percent at public, two-year institutions, and 18 percent at public, four-year institutions, and 9 percent at private, for-profit institutions.

When purchasing and implementing a new cloud-based student system, institutions make a high-impact, expensive investment signaling a long-term commitment to fundamentally changing their operations.

Large research universities (R1 & 20k FTEs) can spend anywhere from $30-100 million on these projects, and even a small institution can spend more than $5 million in the first five years of implementation.

Six vendors serve at least 1 percent of the higher education student systems market: Anthology, Ellucian, Jenzabar, Oracle, Thesis, and Workday.

In 2021, Workday was the only vendor offering a fully featured cloud-native student system. Both Oracle and Jenzabar announced plans to deliver complete cloud-native student systems for general availability in 2023. The remaining three student system vendors are in various stages of modernizing their systems.

The report is based on Tambellini Group’s unbiased research, extensive interviews, and proprietary data from 3,627 US higher education institutions and includes all vendors serving at least 1 percent of the market. Three administrative systems form the backbone of an institution’s technology infrastructure: finance, HCM, and student systems. A summary of Tambellini’s 2022 Finance and Human Capital Management Systems US Higher Education Market Share, Trends, and Leaders findings is available here.

About the Tambellini Group

The Tambellini Group is the leading independent technology research, analyst, and advisory firm dedicated exclusively to higher education.​ Tambellini Group members benefit from more than 100 unbiased research reports every year that provide insight and analysis on the changing higher ed technology landscape. With over 20,300 global institutions and more than 84,000 technology selections, the Tambellini Group’s proprietary Education Institution Technology Profile Database® is unparalleled in the industry. Founded in 2001, Tambellini Group is a woman-owned business and a certified Great Places to Work® company for 2022–2023.

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