Keeping up with enrollment, retention, and recruiting.

Colleges and universities today are facing a one-two punch of rising costs and dwindling enrollment. Tuition has increased at a rate that has consistently outpaced inflation, the rate of median family income growth, the consumer price index, and, in fact, the cost of just about everything. Coupled with a slow economic climate, this has left some questioning the future of education while the country wrestles with a looming potential student loan crisis. While those are important topics, they are a discussion for another time. I want, instead, to focus on the innovations that can help schools through this tough climate.

Schools must attract and retain students, an increasingly difficult task given the heightened competition resulting from all that doom and gloom we just talked about. A large number of schools fighting to get and keep a decreasing number of prospects means those institutions need to be better if they want to avoid the potentially no-so-slow descent to non-existence.

It is exactly this existential crisis that has led many companies to try to furnish solutions to multiple aspects of these problems. With solutions aimed at recruiting and retention and, recently, towards personalizing the entire learning experience, there is an almost dizzying array of tools for an already overworked Admissions staff to consider.

One thing that most of these tools have in common is that they operate at a very high level. They can predict with reasonable accuracy the size of next year’s incoming class of freshmen but few of them can provide any visibility into whether a given individual will be part of that class. To help schools increase their enrollment, Admissions Counselors need to not only know how likely a given student is to attend, but also what, if anything, they can do to improve those odds.

Can they get a prospect to visit campus? Can they have an alumni give the prospect a call to talk about the school? Would offering the prospect a bit of scholarship money change their likelihood of attending? If so, how much money should they offer? Schools need to know what levers they can pull to influence prospects’ decision-making an what impact those levers will have. These are the types of questions that you can only answer with Othot’s enrollment solutions that provide predictions on an individual and illustrates the impact actions such as these can have in an easy to understand format.


Sources:
Since 1985, college tuition has grown at almost five times the rate of the consumer price index. See for example http://inflationdata.com/articles/charts/college-tuition-fees-inflation/
http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/10/23/charts-just-how-fast-has-college-tuition-grown