The admissions process across the higher education landscape is becoming more and more competitive. When institutions with deep pockets shift their marketing strategies to attract students by purchasing Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) tools, minority-serving institutions and community colleges with less resources have a hard time competing.
The objective of utilizing CRM tools is to more effectively market to students based on their individual interests and program areas, much like Amazon.com tracks customer interests and makes product recommendations. Using CRM products, colleges target students interested in soccer, business and internships and communicate with them directly about how the college can best meet their goals. By utilizing these tools, institutions can better understand their prospective students’ interests, expand awareness of particular college programs and gain a better understanding of why prospective students choose their institution.
Over the last ten years, minority-serving institutions such as HBCUs have experienced fluctuations in overall enrollment growth that lag behind overall higher education trends. Enrollment at four-year HBCUs slightly increased from 225,523 in 1995 to 236,284 in 2005 — a 4.7 percent increase. At private four-year HBCUs, total enrollment was 62,333 in 1995 and in 2005 it slightly increased to 66,717, a 7 percent jump. Enrollment at all public and private four-year institutions is increasing at a rate of 8 percent on average.
At the community college level, HBCU enrollment steadily increased by 34 percent, as in 1995 total enrollment was 28,120 and in 2005 enrollment was 37,706.
From 1995 to 2005, student enrollment at tribal colleges and universities (, mostly two-year colleges) grew 15 percent.
Since HBCU and TCU endowments are relatively low and budgetary needs are heavily tuition-driven, boosting enrollment is a priority for these institutions. Some of these colleges are evaluating options to boost the enrollment of students on campus and those studying online. Also, expanding online learning tools will play a key role in serving nontraditional students and adult learners.
Where do you turn to for cost effective, user friendly CRM tools? Diverse researched three programs: Talisma, Hobsons and Intelliworks. Each product brings to the table similar features. However, Diverse found Intelliworks to be more flexible in terms of product customization and ease of use, and it is far less costly than its competitors.
Two HBCUs, Hampton University and Kentucky State University, have purchased Intelliworks’ Orion software and found it had a positive impact on their admissions processes.
“I’m confident that Intelliworks’ Orion solution will enable our admission team to more effectively communicate with our students on a personal level, while at the same time providing valuable insight on the success of our outreach efforts,” said Dr. James Burrell, director of admissions at Kentucky State University. “Additionally, Orion allows us to merge our valuable prospect and applicant data into one centralized Web-based tool that can be accessed both on- and off-campus — a critical need for our team during busy travel seasons.”
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