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#2 IEC Survey Results: COVID-19’s Effect on Their Small Businesses

IECs Living in Urban Areas are Most Affected

IECs in urban communities (68.0%) are most likely to feel negative effects on their business in comparison to suburban (58.8%) or other responses (e.g., rural, undisclosed, mixed) (47.1%).

As we dove further into the data, IECs in urban areas in other countries (75.0%) and the Northeast (71.4%) were most inclined to have negative effects on their business.

This may be linked to proximity to the current clusters of confirmed COVID-19 cases. In contrast, IECs in urban areas in the Midwest are least likely to have adverse effects (33.3%).

Since 66.7% of the IEC survey respondents are located in suburban areas, it was interesting to see overall only 58.8% of IECs in suburban communities were experiencing a negative effect of the coronavirus.

Results showed that those suburban businesses in the Northeast (62.1%) and South (61.3%) only felt the effects slightly more than average, whereas IECs in Midwest suburban communities felt the negative effects the least (43.8%).

IEC Fee Structures Influence the Effect

An IEC from the West suggested “the number of clients who want to do hourly as opposed to comprehensive [packages] will be shifting” based on the outbreak.

More IEC respondents who offer fee structures that are both hourly and packaged were already feeling the effects of the COVID-19 on their business (62.9%).

When we dove in a bit further, experienced IECs (those with 10 or more years in the industry) that combine both hourly and packaged services were the most affected by the outbreak (71.2%).

In addition, 7.7% of experienced IECs who have not already felt the effects assume they will in the future.

IEC’s who only use an hourly fee structure were less affected at the time of the survey by the pandemic (52.6%) than those only offering packages (57.4%).

However, about half of those hourly fee structure IECs who were not experiencing a current effect think they will feel the effects in the future but with contrasting effects.

One IEC in the West in a group of less than five team members wrote,

Students will be applying to fewer out-of-state options or private schools. I work on hourly packages--there will be less time per student with fewer apps.

In contrast, a Midwestern IEC who uses hourly billing indicated that they may “spend more time with each student due to uncertainty around testing, college choices, and when campuses will open.”

Although only 42.6% of respondents offering just packaged services were not feeling the effects, 30.8% thought they would be feeling the effects soon. An IEC respondent from West using only packaged services commented that:

"Potential clients are uncertain about their future income streams and hesitant to make a commitment to a comprehensive package right now. I may have to consider working hourly which I'd prefer not to do."

Continue reading the IEC industry and COVID survey results blog series


Shifts in Use of Technology to Connect with Clients

Written by: Colleen Krumiede, Financial aid expert

Over a decade at Stanford GSB, Caltech, & Pomona College.

Affordability advocate working in educational finance & technology companies servicing higher education. Co-Founder of Quatromoney, helping families make better, personalized financial decisions to

manage all 4-years of college costs and think about what's next.


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