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After a five-year slide, the number of colleges and universities investing in student information software in 2021 nearly doubled over the previous year, a higher education technology research firm says in a new report.

The Tambellini Group, which collects and analyzes data from more than 20,000 institutions worldwide, finds in its “2022 Student Systems U.S. Higher Education Market Share, Trends and Leaders Report” that institutions in all sectors significantly increased their selection of student information systems over 2020, with an especially large rise (667 percent) among public four-year institutions. The overall increase represented the largest growth since 2013.

Officials at Tambellini attributed the increase to vendors’ slowly improving ability to deliver the functionality that institutions want in technology to modernize the student experience, and to a greater willingness to increase spending as the pandemic’s grip eases.

“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.”

Inside Higher Ed reported last winter on Ohio State University’s decision to abandon a large-scale implementation of a student information system because of delays and technology issues.

The Tambellini Group also reported that just 5 percent of institutions that have chosen a new student information system since 2015 have selected modern cloud systems, meaning they operate exclusively without any computing infrastructure on-site.