Educational Services Industry Guide


This guide lists some of the best resources to use when researching the Educational Services Industry.  This broad industry classification covers Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools. For most industries, researchers can usually consult the resources found on the Industry Research Basics guide and get a good deal of information from the resources found there.  Unfortunately, the Educational Services Industry is not covered as well as other industries (for example, automobile manufacturing or computer hardware manufacturing) so the researcher has to make do with many different types of resources, many of which are not the typical business resources.

Note: This list is intended to get the researcher started in the right direction.  This guide was originally created for the Winter 2011 Business Clusters and will be updated as needed.  This guide is not meant to be comprehensive, and researchers are strongly advised to do additional research beyond what is covered in this guide.

IbisWorld has a great report for Colleges & Universities industry


IBISWorld has a good number of industry research reports covering the various industries in the Educational Services sector.  The easiest way to find these reports is to scroll down the IBISWorld home page until you find the Educational Services section.

Note: You will find loads of good information in an IBISWorld report, and there are several that are available and useful when researching industries in the Educational Services Sector.  However, researchers are strongly advised not to rely on IBISWorld too much.

Business Source Complete

Business Source Complete is a great place to look for industry profiles; trade publication, academic journal, and magazine articles; and market research reports.  While the coverage of the College & Universities sector is somewhat limited compared to other industries, there is some good information to be found there.

Wall Street Transcript

Once you are at the “home page” for the Wall Street Transcript in Business Source Complete, click “Search Within This Publication”. Try searching for education in the second box, and sort by date. The image below shows the sample search. You can also perform the search by clicking this link.

Click for larger image

Suggested searches for Business Source Complete

Search DE “FOR-profit universities & colleges” in the search box, yields a good number of relevant articles.

Barnes Reports

Education Research Complete

Education Research Complete works just like Business Source Complete, except that it contains different publications.  By searching Education Research Complete, you will find articles on you topic from education magazines and journals, as opposed to business and trade publications.  The search from above done in Education Research Complete will yield different results from different publications, but you will still find them useful despite being from education publications.

Sample search for DE “FOR-profit universities & colleges”

You will want to try your own search in Education Research Complete as well.

One article that a colleague found for me in Education Research Complete looked really promising.

ROBBINS, J. (2008). Toward a Theory of the University: Mapping the American Research University in Space and Time. American Journal of Education, 114(2), 243-272.

Passport GMID

Passport GMID is a market research database.  While you won’t find many reports that specifically address the College & Universities industry sector, you can find information to contribute to your PEST analysis. Once you log on to Passport GMID, click on Geographies—> North America, then choose Unite States. On that page, check out the Consumer Lifestyles report in the bottom right of the page (note the section on Learning) and also look at the Future Demographics.  Finally, Check out the link to the Country Profile as well for a good economic and political outlook.


Educause offers a huge amount of information that covers trends, issues, and outlook of higher education.  Below are some highlighted resources from the site.  Be sure to look for the search box and browsing options on the site as well.

Educause covers issues, trends, and outlook of higher education

Educause Review

Educause Teaching and Learning Resources (click on publications)

Educause Future of Higher Education Resources

From the Campus to the Future

Educause January/February 2010 issue

Pew Research

Pew Research Center Social & Demography Center:  Education Trends

While typically this is an employment site for job hunters, the links below provide good data that might be useful when researching the Educational Services industry sector.

Higher Education Employment Report

HigherEdJobs Salary Data

The Chronicle

Almanac of Higher Education 2010

Facts & Figures

CQ Researcher

Mantel, B. (2011, January 7). Career colleges. CQ Researcher, 21, 1-24. Retrieved from

“Weak job prospects have propelled hundreds of thousands of Americans to take out student loans to train for careers in health care, computer technology, business administration and food service at for-profit schools known as career colleges. Enrollments at these alternatives to traditional schools have more than tripled since 2000. But a recent government investigation exposed deception in recruitment.”


The NEA Almanac of Higher Education

2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning

2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning

SEC Filings

10-K reports contain a Risk Factors section, which can be useful when performing an industry analysis.  The links below will take you to the Risk Factors section of two of the major player in the for-profit education sector.

Apollo Group 10-K (Risk Factors Section)

Education Management Coporation 10-K (Risk Factors Section)

University Websites

Another place to look for information about the industry is on university websites.  As an example, the Ohio University Provost page has information on environmental scanning and strategic planning, and may provide insight into the industry.

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Related Topics: Business Cluster, Industry Guides