Industry’s Shifting Focus to Student Outcome

By Frank HealyApril 6, 2015

Student retention continues to be an increasingly important topic for both universities and colleges. In recent months, significantly more attention is being paid to the role that higher education institutions play in achieving student outcomes, and the students are counting on necessary improvements to enhance their education. Both gradual large-scale changes and smaller reforms will lay the foundation for a reinvigorated, modern school system.

Government oversight and regulation have created uncertainty in the space. Several for-profit schools have been fined and remain under public scrutiny for non-compliance to legislation.  As a result of negative press and government action, for-profit schools have been stigmatized unjustly as entities that rely on deceptive marketing and recruiting tactics. School policies should ensure that institutional improvements are the number one priority, and this begins with understanding the student lifecycle from initial contact to job placement. 

Higher Ed Growth works with over 300 public and private higher education institutions and has seven years of longitudinal student data to analyze for student outcomes. In looking at this data, it is clear that utilizing and combining external-marketing strategies with associated parties is instrumental in determining where improvements should be made.

The student life-cycle data points now include all marketing channels, school tenure and employment outcomes. Schools, along with their partners, must ensure marketing tactics are in line with one another. Marketing strategies should be agile and highlight adaptability, allowing the school to respond to changes in public interest and demand. By coordinating seamless interactions across all marketing channels, marketers are able to execute superior brand experiences that deepen customer loyalty and strengthen brand awareness.

In addition to examining marketing strategies, Higher Ed Growth has found that there is not enough data being shared among schools and partners to make informed, data-based decisions and optimizations. Schools should be willing to partner with their marketing agencies to leverage big data in to make improvements as both parties benefit from the flow of information. Furthermore, transparency is needed to fully understand success, events and factors; school and agency cooperation are imperative for future success.

As the industry continues to focus on reviving our existing education system, there are many alignments that schools and marketing partners need to consider. Improved marketing tactics, utilizing external sources and consolidated partnerships will lead to better understanding and improvement upon the success of the student lifecycle.

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