Data Driven Marketing

4 Insights for Your University to Consider for Student Enrollment

4 Insights for Your University to Consider for Student Enrollment

July 08, 2022 | Jason Berman

The higher education landscape is evolving. Student applicants have more choices and options on their education than ever. With this in mind, colleges and universities across the country must look for solutions that provide fact-based, statistical insights. This way colleges can understand what  graduates want to see  when it comes to  their institution.

Recently, I participated in the AIR Forum conference in Phoenix. I spoke on why evaluating the impact of graduates' income and financial health outcomes in post-graduate years is  crucial to an institution’s success. Below are the top 4 key insights that colleges and universities of all sizes should consider to influence student enrollment, strengthen relationships with alumni, and satisfy key stakeholders.

1. Test the success of your graduates and programs over time, not just at one fixed moment.  

There may be opportunities to gain a one-time snapshot of income and economic insights. Yet, if you are only looking at a fixed date, your results may be lacking the level of information needed to measure program value.  Remember that success looks different for programs and graduates at different stages. You have to have a full picture. It is important to  include data points over many years to develop meaningful, actionable insights on your graduate’s outcomes.   

According to my Equifax colleague, Matt Jackson, “Colleges and universities have to base their graduate outcome results on a solid foundation.  This needs to include accurate, reliable data to a level of granularity that paints a complete picture of graduate household, financial, and economic positions. This includes visibility into income, discretionary spending, credit, and borrowed assets. With this complete picture, institutions can compete for the best student applicants.”

2. Find avenues to show the value of your institution's education. 

You remember how and why you selected your alma mater. As an aspiring college student, you ran through a myriad of things. You most likely ran through availability of a desired major, to the school’s reputation, to proximity to home. The criteria you made your decision on may be different from other applicants. Yet, we all had one thing in common.  We understood that attending our school of choice would be a life-changing decision. We made this decision by understanding that this decision would pave a path to a bright future, regardless of our age, gender, race, or career of choice.  This was and still is the blueprint.

Colleges and universities should leverage data to provide fact-based insights into post-graduate wages, career paths, and other metrics. This shows the value of the degrees from their institution. Recently, Jackson stated “Higher Education institutions with a deeper understanding of alumni outcomes are better able to provide real, defendable insights into the value of an education from their institution. This visibility attracts the best student applicants and demonstrates value.”

3. Look for opportunities to identify and correct gaps among your graduates. 

In this digital era, all it takes is one social post to discredit any company. Proactive graduate assessments not only allow you to gain an insight into career destinations and development of your graduates, but can also help you identify potential wage, degree, geographical, gender, and other equity gaps.

Brandi Recker of Equifax recalls an experience she had with a community college. The college was looking for a systematic way to measure progress towards governing board outcomes. “As the college began reviewing wages, they identified a large gap not only between minority and non-minority graduates but also wage discrepancies between female and male graduates,” she said. “While this discovery is not what they expected or would have preferred, this unique insight has informed their funding decisions. Having this information to inform their funding decisions allowed them to set up practices to improve regulatory reporting. In the end, this awareness will have a favorable impact on school programs and provide greater student value.”

4. Establish strong strategic partnerships who share your commitment to delivering elevated student outcomes.

No one can go it alone. Overall, these insights reveal one major thing:  we are one team and we work best when we come together to discuss best practices and share collective learnings.  We are all facing similar challenges. We each are looking for opportunities to best address these challenges while better serving students and alumni. All together we should find opportunities to partner with others who are as passionate about improving  programs and influencing student enrollment. Challenge your partners to find data avenues to help you create opportunities and uncover learnings that secure the best possible outcomes for your graduates.

To conclude, colleges need a clear picture of graduate outcomes. Meeting expectations delivers programs with quantifiable outcomes. It is more crucial than ever to demonstrate to stakeholders the value of an education from your institution. Colleges and universities should look into data solutions that allow them to take the actions they find most important.  With a panoramic, holistic and comprehensive view of student outcomes, higher education institutions can better understand graduate performance and influence institutional effectiveness. 

Jason Berman

Jason Berman

Business Development Advocate - Retail

Jason Berman is the Director of Higher Education at Equifax. In this role he is responsible for expanding and growing Graduate Outcomes using powerful Data and Analytics tools and brings a strong passion for empowering colleges and universities to use "Data for Good" and influence student outcomes. Jason brings more th[...]