2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report for Four-Year Colleges and Universities

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1 Trends in Enrollment Management 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report for Four-Year Colleges and Universities What s working in undergraduate student recruitment and marketing? To find out, Ruffalo Noel Levitz conducted a 105-item, web-based poll of campus officials in November of 2015 as part of the firm s continuing series of benchmark polls for higher education. For context, comparative findings from previous studies of marketing and recruitment practices are available on the Ruffalo Noel Levitz website, as this study is repeated every two years. Among the highlights: continues to be when communicating with prospective students, but many undergraduate officials now give even higher marks to text messaging. Events and event-related activities head the lists of the top 10 most strategies and tactics across four-year private and public. Advertising is fairly popular, with online ads receiving the highest marks, but respondents generally rated the ness of advertising lower compared to other practices. Overnight campus visits and college-paid trips to campus appear to be but under-utilized practices for private, while weekend visit days and campus visits designed for school counselors appear to be but under-utilized for public. Use of a CRM for managing and tracking recruitment communications ranked at the top of 13 internal operations practices. Fall of the senior year of high school was among the most popular times for purchasing high school student names from list vendors such as NRCCUA, the College Board, and ACT. Only about 10 percent of private and public respondents in this study gave an excellent rating to their strategic, multi-year enrollment plan, and nearly 40 percent indicated they don t have one. Adjusting the content and timing of communication flows was the number one way respondents are planning to respond to the federal government s new FAFSA rules, commonly known as Prior-Prior Year. The above is just a sampling of this year s findings. Please see the Appendix of this report for detailed findings from all 105 items on the poll Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 1

2 See the Appendix for detailed findings from all 105 items on the poll. CONTENTS Highlights Top five most modes of communication for undergraduate marketing and student recruitment Top 10 strategies and tactics Five least- strategies and tactics Five least-used strategies and tactics, including promising practices Top five internal operations 6 Search practices highlights/initial outreach to high school students Volume of written contacts 7 9 Planning and leadership practices highlights 10 Plans in response to federal government s new FAFSA rules NEW! 12 APPENDIX/COMPLETE FINDINGS Complete findings by institution type 13 Rankings of 61 practices by their ness and usage Division that oversees the chief enrollment officer Rankings of 10 methods for making initial contact with high-school-age purchased names Rankings of 8 advertising practices Usage of student-to-student contact programs And more Responding 42 About Ruffalo Noel Levitz and our higher education research 44 Findings color key: private public About the rankings and the statistical process used in this study All of the findings in this report are judged to be statistically significant. This determination was made by calculating a statistical confidence interval for each finding (e.g., means, medians, proportions, and other relevant test statistics) and then judging the confidence interval to be acceptably small relative to the size of the finding. Note that this study s rankings are by ness and usage. To rank the most and least practices, respondents were asked to rate each practice on the following scale: Very Somewhat Minimally Practice not used To report the findings as accurately as possible, the rankings of ness were based only on the relative ness options that were chosen by respondents: very, somewhat, and minimally. This approach of excluding the fourth response, practice not used, allows promising, less-frequentlyused practices to be included in the top 10 rankings those practices that are rated very but which are not currently being used by the majority of. Note: To identify the proportion of using a particular practice, a simple calculation was made of the inverse of those who selected practice not used Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 2

3 HIGHLIGHTS Top five most modes of communication for undergraduate marketing and student recruitment, by institution type Highlighted below is a small sampling of the communication findings of this study. This table shows the five modes of communication that respondents from four-year private and public most frequently rated very among 10 modes that were measured. Rankings by ness* private public 1 Website optimized for mobile browsers Website optimized for mobile browsers 2 Text messaging communication 3 communication Text messaging 4 Recruiting page(s) on website Recruiting page(s) on website 5 Calling cell phones Publications in general (viewbook, search piece, etc.) Highlights from these rankings: Mobile-friendly websites were number one in this year s rankings of communication modes, but and text messaging vied for the next-highest rating. In addition, the majority of respondents from both sectors rated cell phone calls, publications, and additional modes of communication not shown here, such as social media and websiteembedded videos, either very or somewhat. Please see the Appendix for details (pages 14 and 28). Boldface in this table indicates a mode of communication that was not being used by more than one-quarter of within the sector. Institutions not using text messaging may want to consider using it, especially given its high ratings for ness and the increasing number of prospective students who are open to receiving text messages from colleges, including up to 70 percent of high school juniors and seniors. 1 *Reminder: Rating options for this study included very, somewhat, minimally, and practice not used. Respondents who selected practice not used were excluded from the ness ratings. See explanation on page 2. More communication findings Online display ads were the top-rated form of advertising for public, while private gave highest marks to pay-per-click ads on search sites like Google, Bing, or Yahoo. See the Appendix, pages 20 and 34. Five or six contacts was the median per-student volume of recruiting contacts (phone and written) initiated by student employees working for admissions/recruitment offices. See the Appendix, pages 26 and Ruffalo Noel Levitz, OmniUpdate, CollegeWeekLive, & NRCCUA e-expectations report. Cedar Rapids: Ruffalo Noel Levitz, Available at Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 3

4 HIGHLIGHTS Top 10 most strategies and tactics for undergraduate marketing and student recruitment, by institution type Below are the 10 survey items, by sector, that respondents from four-year most frequently rated very among 61 strategies and tactics for marketing and student recruitment. The 61 practices ranged widely and included events, digital marketing, advertising, targeting specific populations, partnering with outside organizations, and other proven or emerging strategies. Rankings by ness private public 1 Campus open house events Campus open house events Overnight visits for high school students Campus visit days for high school students Encouraging prospective students to apply on the admissions website A planned, sequential flow of communication to prospective students, from the beginning to the end of the recruiting cycle Encouraging prospective students to schedule campus visits on the admissions website High school visits by admission representatives to primary markets Campus visit days for high school students Meetings or events for high school counselors Encouraging prospective students to apply on the admissions website Campus visit events designed for school counselors Encouraging prospective students to schedule campus visits on the admissions website Weekend visit days 8 Weekend visit days Community college visits 9 College-paid trips to campus for prospective students 10 Targeting in-state students A planned, sequential flow of communication to prospective students, from the beginning to the end of the recruiting cycle High school visits by admission representatives to primary markets Highlights from these rankings: Campus open houses topped the list of strategies and tactics, with campus visit days close behind. Also rated in the top three were overnight visits for high school students, for private, and campus visit events designed for school counselors, for public. Boldface in this table indicates practices that were not being used by more than one-quarter of within the sector, despite the ratings of ness. Institutions not using these practices may want to consider using them. For example, twothirds of respondents from private were not using college-paid trips to campus and approximately one-quarter of respondents from public were not using weekend visit days. Please see the Appendix for details (pages 15 and 29) Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 4

5 HIGHLIGHTS Five least- strategies and tactics This table shows the five items that respondents from four-year most frequently rated minimally among the 61 strategies and tactics that were measured for their ness and usage. Rankings by inness private public 1 Mailing course schedules to residents in area Asking current students/alumni for applicant referrals 2 Online college fairs Recruiting through business/industry 3 Asking current students/alumni for applicant referrals Online college fairs 4 Targeting veterans Targeting adult learners 5 Cooperative or consortia-based recruiting Radio ads Highlights from these rankings: Respondents from private and public were in agreement that online college fairs and asking current students/alumni for applicant referrals were minimally. However, there was also considerable disagreement between sectors. For example, targeting adult learners was rated relatively high in ness by respondents from private, despite its low ranking by respondents from public. Please see the Appendix for specific proportions of respondents choosing each rating category. Boldface in this table indicates practices that were being used by half or more of within the sector despite being ranked minimally. For example, 52 percent of public reported using online college fairs, as shown in the Appendix on page 32. Five least-used strategies and tactics, including promising practices Note that least-used practices may be least-used for distinct reasons. For example, a practice may be least used because it is in or it may be because it is a practice that has not yet caught on widely (see boldface definition below). Rankings by ness private public 1 Mailing course schedules to residents in area Mailing course schedules to residents in area 2 Offering loans directly from the college or university 3 Online college fairs 4 Admissions decisions on the spot in high schools or during campus visits/open houses 5 Targeting part-time students Offering loans directly from the college or university Overnight visits for high school students Targeting part-time students Routine contacts by financial aid office professional staff to assess student reactions to financial aid awards Highlights from these rankings: Two of the least-used practices for private appeared to be promising practices, as highlighted in boldface. For public, only one practice is highlighted; overnight visits showed promise for public, but there were not enough respondents to rate ness (see usage levels in Appendix). Boldface in this table indicates practices that half or more of respondents rated very or somewhat Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 5

6 HIGHLIGHTS Top five internal operations practices The table below shows the five internal operations that respondents from four-year private and public most frequently rated very among 13 internal operations that were measured for undergraduate marketing and student recruitment. Rankings by ness private CRM solution for managing and tracking recruitment communications, online applications, etc. Outsourcing telephone qualification to rate the interest levels of prospective students by phone Using a statistical, analytical approach to determine financial aid award levels by predicting enrollment rates based on award amounts (aka financial aid leveraging ) Outsourcing print or electronic campaigns for student search Outsourcing print or electronic campaigns to generate applications from the inquiry pool public CRM solution for managing and tracking recruitment communications, online applications, etc. Systematically contacting admitted students to code their level of interest in enrolling at your institution ( qualifying admits) Admissions tracking to monitor and predict students incremental rates of movement toward enrollment Search engine optimization process to improve organic search results Outsourcing print or electronic campaigns to generate applications from the inquiry pool Highlights from these rankings: Across both sectors, using a CRM solution to help manage and track communications again topped the list of internal operations for undergraduate marketing and student recruitment, similar to earlier studies. However, there was substantial variance between private and public on the other top-ranked practices. Boldface in this table indicates internal operations that were not being used by more than one-quarter of within the sector. Institutions not using these practices may want to consider using them. Please see the Appendix for details Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 6

7 HIGHLIGHTS Search practices highlights/initial outreach to high school students Highlighted below and on the following page is a small sampling of the undergraduate search practice findings of this study, all of which focus on high school students. Volume of high school students names purchased each year for use in direct mail or to generate inquiries and applicants Statistics private public 25th percentile volume of names purchased Median volume of names purchased 75th percentile volume of names purchased 30,000 37,500 65,000 75, , ,000 What the data show: Respondents from public reported purchasing a slightly higher volume of high school student names at the median compared to respondents from private Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 7

8 HIGHLIGHTS Most popular methods for making first contact with purchased names (Percentages indicate the proportion of using each method; respondents were instructed to Check all that apply. ) 70 % 60% 50% 57% 71% private public 40% 30% 20% 37% 33% 30% 37% 10% 0% message message with link to a personalized URL Self-mailer brochure What the data show: messages and self-mailer brochures again ranked highest on the list of preferred communication methods for both sectors for making first contact with purchased names. Few respondents reported using text messaging to make first contact please see the Appendix for details and note that only 1 percent of today s high school students prefer text messaging for the first contact. 2 More search highlights from the Appendix At the median, purchased names were the source of 24 percent of all high school student inquiries for private and 20 percent of all high school student inquiries for public. See the Appendix, pages 25 and percent of private institution respondents and 60 percent of public institution respondents reported sending the same communications as inquiries to a subset of purchased names of high school students. See the Appendix, pages 25 and Ruffalo Noel Levitz, (2015) high school students and parents perceptions of and preferences for communication with colleges. Cedar Rapids: Ruffalo Noel Levitz. Available at Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 8

9 HIGHLIGHTS Volume of written contacts by enrollment stage (direct mail, , and texting combined) private public Purchased name/pre-inquiry stage Inquiry stage Admit stage Deposit/Confirmed stage What the data show: The median number of written contacts that a typical prospective high school student received from a college or university over the course of an entire recruiting cycle (direct mail, , and texting combined) was 33 for private and 25 for public. Notice the volume of written contacts was highest during the inquiry and admit stages. Student-to-student contact programs Percent of respondents in agreement Survey item* private public Yes, we have a student-to-student contact program 69.6% 56.3% What the data show: Half to two-thirds of respondents reported using a student-to-student contact program, with a median, per-student volume of five or six contacts. Please see the Appendix for volume breakdowns by each type of contact (phone, , text, social media, and handwritten notes) and by sector. Definition *For this item, respondents were asked: Do you have a student-to-student contact program in which current students stay in touch with prospective students via phone, , text messages, social media such as Facebook, and/or personal, handwritten notes? 2016 Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 9

10 HIGHLIGHTS Planning and leadership practices highlights Despite the need for stronger planning and leadership in today s challenging environment, only about half of respondents from four-year indicated they had a committee to coordinate recruitment planning, and many respondents questioned the quality of their written plans for marketing and recruitment, as shown in the table below. private public Survey items My institution has a written annual recruitment plan My institution has a written annual marketing plan My institution has a written, long-range (at least three-year) strategic enrollment plan My institution has a standing, campuswide committee that addresses coordinated recruitment planning and implementation across all units Institutions using practice Excellent quality* Excellent or good quality* Institutions using practice Excellent quality* Excellent or good quality* 85.1% 15.5% 63.9% 81.6% 22.5% 60.0% 80.7% 12.0% 53.3% 75.0% 13.9% 50.0% 61.6% 11.6% 53.6% 61.2% 10.0% 43.3% 49.1% 14.3% 46.4% 57.1% 10.7% 35.7% Highlights from these rankings: Only about 10 percent of respondents gave an excellent rating to their strategic, multi-year enrollment plan, and nearly 40 percent indicated they didn t have one. Many respondents also gave low quality ratings to their committee for recruitment planning. *Quality ratings in this table were based on a four-part scale: Excellent quality, Good quality, Fair quality, or Poor quality. The ratings excluded those who indicated practice not used Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 10

11 HIGHLIGHTS Reporting responsibility for chief enrollment officers A range of practice across sectors was evident in the supervision of chief enrollment officers, as shown in the table below. Chief enrollment officer reports to private public President 76.5% 34.7% Academic Affairs 12.2% 22.4% Student Affairs 0.9% 26.5% Administrative/ Business Office 0.0% 0.0% Other* 10.4% 16.3% Highlights from these rankings: At private, a chief enrollment officer is more likely to report to the president, while at public, a chief enrollment officer is more likely to report to student affairs. *Other responses named by two or more respondents from private in a blank, open-ended field included executive vice president and provost. For public, dean was named by two respondents. The rest of the other responses were unique responses identified by only one respondent each Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 11

12 HIGHLIGHTS Plans in response to federal government s new FAFSA rules NEW! New in this year s study, respondents from four-year were asked: What marketing and recruitment changes, if any, are you planning to implement in response to the federal government s new FAFSA rules which allow use of Prior-Prior Year (PPY) information? (Please check all that apply.) Responses to seven checkbox-options appear below. responses to new FAFSA rules Adjust content and timing of communication flows to prospective students Provide financial aid estimates earlier Will be encouraging leadership to set tuition earlier We do not yet know what changes we will be making Consider an earlier deadline for filing the FAFSA private public 61.7% 71.4% 59.1% 51.0% 58.3% 28.6% 35.7% 42.9% 27.8% 14.3% Admit students earlier 23.5% 14.3% Other* 2.6% 4.1% * No two respondents indicated the same response. Highlights from these rankings: The majority of respondents across private and public indicated they will be adjusting their communication flows and providing earlier estimates of financial aid in response to the federal government s new FAFSA rules which allow use of Prior-Prior Year (PPY) information. In addition, many respondents will be working to set tuition earlier, and many were still formulating their response Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 12

13 Appendix with complete findings by sector The following tables include the complete findings of this study, divided and color-coded for each of the three sectors examined. Contents private Pages 14-27: Usage and Effectiveness of 10 Modes of Communication for Marketing and Recruitment 14 Usage and Effectiveness of 61 Strategies and Tactics 14 Usage and Effectiveness of 11 Event Marketing and Recruitment Practices 19 Usage and Effectiveness of 8 Advertising Practices 20 Usage and Effectiveness of 13 Internal Operations Practices 2 1 Search Practices and Initial Outreach to High School Students 23 Written Contacts, Student-to-Student Contact Programs 26 Planning and Leadership Practices 27 public Pages 28-41: Usage and Effectiveness of 10 Modes of Communication for Marketing and Recruitment 28 Usage and Effectiveness of 61 Strategies and Tactics 28 Usage and Effectiveness of 11 Event Marketing and Recruitment Practices 33 Usage and Effectiveness of 8 Advertising Practices 34 Usage and Effectiveness of 13 Internal Operations Practices 35 Search Practices and Initial Outreach to High School Students 37 Written Contacts, Student-to-Student Contact Programs 40 Planning and Leadership Practices Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 13

14 Usage and Effectiveness of 10 Specific Modes of Communication for Marketing and Student Recruitment at Four-Year Private Institutions Ordered by Percent Rated Very Effective private private Website optimized for mobile browsers Institutions using practice Very Somewhat Minimally Very or somewhat 87.6% 43.4% 40.4% 16.2% 83.8% Text messaging 61.1% 34.8% 46.4% 18.8% 81.2% communication Recruiting page(s) on website 100.0% 31.0% 61.9% 7.1% 92.9% 99.1% 25.9% 56.3% 17.9% 82.1% Calling cell phones 95.6% 25.7% 57.8% 16.5% 83.5% Publications in general (viewbook, search piece, etc.) Videos embedded in campus website 93.8% 25.5% 54.7% 19.8% 80.2% 80.2% 19.1% 49.4% 31.5% 68.5% Calling home phones 98.2% 9.9% 39.6% 50.5% 49.5% Video calls using Skype or similar services Social media sites like Facebook or Twitter 31.3% 8.6% 37.1% 54.3% 45.7% 98.2% 8.0% 44.6% 47.3% 52.7% Usage and Effectiveness of 61 Strategies and Tactics for Marketing and Student Recruitment at Four-Year Private Institutions Ordered by Percent Rated Very Effective Rankings of Strategies and Tactics private Campus open house events Overnight visits for high school students Campus visit days for high school students Encouraging prospective students to apply on the admissions website A planned, sequential flow of communication to prospective students, from the beginning to the end of the recruiting cycle Encouraging prospective students to schedule campus visits on the admissions website Institutions using practice Very Somewhat Minimally Very or somewhat 97.3% 61.7% 32.7% 5.6% 94.4% 64.9% 58.3% 27.8% 13.9% 86.1% 91.9% 56.9% 35.3% 7.8% 92.2% 98.2% 49.1% 42.6% 8.3% 91.7% 95.5% 47.6% 45.7% 6.7% 93.3% 92.7% 46.5% 44.6% 8.9% 91.1% 2016 Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 14

15 Rankings of Strategies and Tactics, Continued private private High school visits by admission representatives to primary markets Institutions using practice Very Somewhat Minimally Very or somewhat 96.4% 40.6% 41.5% 17.9% 82.1% Weekend visit days 76.6% 31.8% 48.2% 20.0% 80.0% Targeting in-state students College-paid trips to campus for prospective students Direct marketing aimed at eliciting specific, measurable actions such as a campus visit or submission of an application Routine contacts by admissions office professional staff to assess student reactions to financial aid awards Admissions decisions on the spot in high schools or during campus visits/open houses Campus visit events designed for school counselors 91.8% 29.7% 57.4% 12.9% 87.1% 33.3% 29.7% 37.8% 32.4% 67.6% 90.9% 29.0% 50.0% 21.0% 79.0% 84.4% 28.3% 51.1% 20.7% 79.3% 29.6% 28.1% 46.9% 25.0% 75.0% 70.0% 27.3% 41.6% 31.2% 68.8% Student-to-student telecounseling involving continuous, regularly scheduled flows of phone calls at a high volume (one-time phonathons don t count) 66.1% 26.4% 43.1% 30.6% 69.4% Student search via 91.9% 23.5% 50.0% 26.5% 73.5% Off-campus group meetings for prospective students and/or their parents 76.4% 22.6% 48.8% 28.6% 71.4% Meetings or events for high school counselors 67.0% 21.9% 43.8% 34.2% 65.8% 2016 Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 15

16 Rankings of Strategies and Tactics, Continued private private Routine contacts by financial aid office professional staff to assess student reactions to financial aid awards Community college articulation agreements Content marketing to attract students using informative subjects, topics, and informational resources Academic programs within high schools for students to earn college credits to your institution Special interest workshops, seminars, or camps (music, sports, science, etc.) Institutions using practice Very Somewhat Minimally Very or somewhat 41.8% 21.7% 43.5% 34.8% 65.2% 79.3% 20.5% 40.9% 38.6% 61.4% 64.8% 18.6% 45.7% 35.7% 64.3% 50.5% 18.5% 27.8% 53.7% 46.3% 77.3% 17.6% 40.0% 42.4% 57.6% Targeting out-ofstate students 79.1% 17.2% 50.6% 32.2% 67.8% Student search via direct mail 86.5% 16.7% 42.7% 40.6% 59.4% Community college outreach to academic advisors 79.3% 15.9% 45.5% 38.6% 61.4% Targeting parents of prospective students 76.1% 15.7% 49.4% 34.9% 65.1% Pay-per-click ads on search sites like Google, Bing, or Yahoo Targeting highacademic-ability students 71.3% 15.6% 35.1% 49.4% 50.6% 85.3% 15.1% 60.2% 24.7% 75.3% Offering flexible payment plans 73.4% 15.0% 43.8% 41.3% 58.8% High school visits by admission representatives to secondary, tertiary, or test markets Cookie-driven retargeting ads that target users who ve previously visited your website 85.5% 14.9% 36.2% 48.9% 51.1% 61.8% 14.7% 39.7% 45.6% 54.4% 2016 Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 16

17 Rankings of Strategies and Tactics, Continued private private Faculty phone contacts with prospective students Encouraging prospective students to use an inquiry form on the admissions website Having enrolled students visit one or more high schools Targeting international students Cooperative or consortia-based recruiting Institutions using practice Very Somewhat Minimally Very or somewhat 74.8% 14.5% 41.0% 44.6% 55.4% 94.6% 14.3% 54.3% 31.4% 68.6% 40.0% 13.6% 40.9% 45.5% 54.5% 74.3% 13.6% 37.0% 49.4% 50.6% 40.4% 13.6% 18.2% 68.2% 31.8% Virtual tours 47.7% 13.5% 46.2% 40.4% 59.6% Community college visits 93.7% 13.5% 43.3% 43.3% 56.7% Sending a subset of purchased names the same communications as inquiries 52.7% 12.1% 39.7% 48.3% 51.7% Targeting adult learners 45.5% 12.0% 50.0% 38.0% 62.0% Using alumni in recruitment/ marketing 69.4% 11.7% 31.2% 57.1% 42.9% National or regional college fairs 97.3% 11.1% 51.9% 37.0% 63.0% Pay-per-click ads on Facebook or other social media sites 73.9% 11.0% 39.0% 50.0% 50.0% Targeting underrepresented students 76.1% 10.8% 48.2% 41.0% 59.0% Offering loans directly from the college or university 17.4% 10.5% 52.6% 36.8% 63.2% Online display advertising 86.4% 10.5% 50.5% 38.9% 61.1% Television ads 39.6% 9.1% 45.5% 45.5% 54.5% Targeting transfer students 91.9% 8.8% 44.1% 47.1% 52.9% Asking current students/alumni for applicant referrals 75.5% 8.4% 21.7% 69.9% 30.1% 2016 Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 17

18 Rankings of Strategies and Tactics, Continued private private Personalized home page/portal for prospective students Targeting online learners Recruiting through business/industry Online net price calculator Targeting part-time students Institutions using practice Very Somewhat Minimally Very or somewhat 43.6% 8.3% 54.2% 37.5% 62.5% 36.9% 7.3% 39.0% 53.7% 46.3% 39.4% 7.0% 25.6% 67.4% 32.6% 95.5% 6.7% 31.4% 61.9% 38.1% 30.6% 5.9% 26.5% 67.6% 32.4% Online college fairs 20.7% 4.3% 8.7% 87.0% 13.0% Radio ads 71.6% 3.8% 38.5% 57.7% 42.3% Billboard, bus, or other outdoor advertising 56.4% 3.2% 43.5% 53.2% 46.8% Print media ads in general 91.9% 2.0% 35.3% 62.7% 37.3% Targeting veterans Mailing course schedules to residents in area 55.0% 0.0% 31.1% 68.9% 31.1% 9.0% 0.0% 10.0% 90.0% 10.0% 2016 Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 18

19 Usage and Effectiveness of 11 Event Marketing and Recruitment Practices at Four-Year Private Institutions Ordered by Percent Rated Very Effective This data is a subset of the data presented in the previous, 61-item table. private private Campus open house events Overnight visits for high school students Campus visit days for high school students Institutions using practice Very Somewhat Minimally Very or somewhat 97.3% 61.7% 32.7% 5.6% 94.4% 64.9% 58.3% 27.8% 13.9% 86.1% 91.9% 56.9% 35.3% 7.8% 92.2% Weekend visit days 76.6% 31.8% 48.2% 20.0% 80.0% College-paid trips to campus for prospective students Campus visit events designed for school counselors Off-campus group meetings for prospective students and/or their parents Meetings or events for high school counselors Special interest workshops, seminars, or camps (music, sports, science, etc.) 33.3% 29.7% 37.8% 32.4% 67.6% 70.0% 27.3% 41.6% 31.2% 68.8% 76.4% 22.6% 48.8% 28.6% 71.4% 67.0% 21.9% 43.8% 34.2% 65.8% 77.3% 17.6% 40.0% 42.4% 57.6% National or regional college fairs 97.3% 11.1% 51.9% 37.0% 63.0% Online college fairs 20.7% 4.3% 8.7% 87.0% 13.0% 2016 Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 19

20 Usage and Effectiveness of 8 Advertising Practices at Four-Year Private Institutions Ordered by Percent Rated Very Effective This data is a subset of the data presented in the previous, 61-item table. private private Pay-per-click ads on search sites like Google, Bing, or Yahoo Cookie-driven retargeting ads that target users who ve previously visited your website Pay-per-click ads on Facebook or other social media sites Online display advertising Institutions using practice Very Somewhat Minimally Very or somewhat 71.3% 15.6% 35.1% 49.4% 50.6% 61.8% 14.7% 39.7% 45.6% 54.4% 73.9% 11.0% 39.0% 50.0% 50.0% 86.4% 10.5% 50.5% 38.9% 61.1% Television ads 39.6% 9.1% 45.5% 45.5% 54.5% Radio ads 71.6% 3.8% 38.5% 57.7% 42.3% Billboard, bus, or other outdoor advertising 56.4% 3.2% 43.5% 53.2% 46.8% Print media ads in general 91.9% 2.0% 35.3% 62.7% 37.3% 2016 Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 20

21 Usage and Effectiveness of 13 Internal Operations Practices at Four-Year Private Institutions Ordered by Percent Rated Very Effective private private CRM solution for managing and tracking recruitment communications, online applications, etc. Outsourcing telephone qualification to rate the interest levels of prospective students by phone Using a statistical, analytical approach to determine financial aid award levels by predicting enrollment rates based on award amounts (aka financial aid leveraging ) Outsourcing print or electronic campaigns for student search Outsourcing print or electronic campaigns to generate applications from the inquiry pool Systematically contacting admitted students to code their level of interest in enrolling at your institution ("qualifying" admits) Statistical modeling to predict the likelihood of a prospective student enrolling at your institution Admissions tracking to monitor and predict students incremental rates of movement toward enrollment Systematically contacting inquiries to code their level of interest in enrolling at your institution ("qualifying inquiries") Institutions using practice Very Somewhat Minimally Very or somewhat 72.2% 48.7% 28.2% 23.1% 76.9% 25.7% 46.4% 10.7% 42.9% 57.1% 78.9% 45.3% 38.4% 16.3% 83.7% 65.7% 42.3% 35.2% 22.5% 77.5% 49.5% 41.5% 30.2% 28.3% 71.7% 74.1% 41.3% 40.0% 18.8% 81.3% 72.5% 40.5% 34.2% 25.3% 74.7% 78.7% 37.6% 40.0% 22.4% 77.6% 69.4% 34.7% 34.7% 30.7% 69.3% 2016 Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 21

22 Rankings of Internal Operations, Continued private private Outsourcing market research (lost applicant analysis, brand perceptions, pricing analysis, SEO, etc.) Search engine optimization process to improve organic search results Analytics resources such as Google Analytics to provide data for decision making (search engine optimization, finetuning recruitment/ admissions portion of the website, etc.) Outsourcing international recruitment Institutions using practice Very Somewhat Minimally Very or somewhat 49.5% 22.6% 39.6% 37.7% 62.3% 81.7% 20.2% 49.4% 30.3% 69.7% 91.7% 19.0% 51.0% 30.0% 70.0% 19.4% 9.5% 28.6% 61.9% 38.1% 2016 Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 22

23 Search Practices at Four-Year Private Institutions Approximate Number of High School Student Names Purchased private private Approximate number of high school student names purchased for use in direct mail or to generate inquiries and applicants First quartile Median Third quartile 30,000 65, ,000 Approximate Number of High School Student Names Purchased (Subset of Above) Who Receive Only private Approximate number of high school student names purchased who receive only First quartile Median Third quartile 16,250 40,000 75,000 Timing of Contact with Purchased High School Names by Vendor Respondents were instructed to check all that apply. private NRCCUA names PSAT names SAT names PLAN names ACT names Other vendors* Prior to grade % 5.2% 5.2% 4.1% 4.1% 4.1% Sophomore year 40.2% 40.2% 40.2% 27.8% 23.7% 16.5% Junior year 62.9% 46.4% 52.6% 28.9% 63.9% 29.0% Summer prior to senior year 52.6% 21.6% 53.6% 17.5% 61.9% 28.9% Fall of senior year 51.5% 14.4% 63.9% 13.4% 67.0% 32.0% Winter or later of senior year 25.8% 5.2% 32.0% 2.1% 40.2% 19.6% * Other vendors specified by two or more respondents included: Cappex, CBSS, Christian Connector, Chegg, and CollegeFish Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 23

24 private Respondents Who Reported Using Purchased High School Student Names from Three or More of the Five Sources Named (Based on data from the previous table Timing of contact. ) For example, 50.5 percent of respondents who purchased names of high school juniors acquired the names from three or more of the five name sources listed on the previous page: NRCCUA, PSAT, SAT, PLAN, and ACT. private Percent Prior to grade % Sophomore year 28.9% Junior year 50.5% Summer prior to senior year 41.2% Fall of senior year 40.2% Winter or later of senior year 15.5% Respondents Who Reported Contacting Purchased Names Three or More Times From Each of the Name Sources Examined (Based on data from the previous table Timing of contact. ) For example, 52.6 percent of respondents reported contacting NRCCUA names three or more times. private Percent NRCCUA names 52.6% PSAT names 24.7% SAT names 54.6% PLAN names 19.6% ACT names 55.7% Other vendors 10.3% Preferred Methods for First and Subsequent Contacts with High School Purchased Names Ordered by Preferred First Contact Respondents were instructed to check all that apply. private First contact with purchased names of high school students Subsequent contact(s) with non-responding purchased names before giving up on them message 57.4% 78.3% message with link to a personalized URL 36.5% 35.7% Self-mailer brochure 30.4% 19.1% Outbound phone call to all or selected contacts 20.0% 27.8% Letter 19.1% 13.9% Letter sent with enclosed brochure 17.4% 17.4% Letter sent with viewbook 12.2% 4.3% Other* 8.7% 7.8% Viewbook 6.1% 10.4% Catalog 0.9% 2.6% Text message 0.0% 7.8% *The vast majority of those who selected other (7.8 percent) listed postcards Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 24

25 Typical Number of Additional Contacts Made (Subsequent to the First Contact) With Purchased High School Names Before Giving Up on Them Reported Separately for vs. Mail vs. Phone private private Approximate number of additional contacts Approximate number of additional mail contacts Approximate number of additional phone contacts First quartile Median Third quartile Do You Send a Subset of Purchased Names the Same Communications as Inquiries? private Percent Percent Yes 55.3% Approximate Percentage of High School Student Inquiries By Source Ordered by Median Response private First quartile Median Third quartile Purchased names 10.0% 23.5% 46.0% Other sources* 6.0% 13.0% 29.0% Travel to high schools and college fairs 8.8% 11.5% 20.0% Website/Web form 5.0% 10.0% 20.0% Application as first contact 5.0% 8.0% 15.0% Test scores 3.0% 5.0% 10.0% Campus visits 3.0% 5.0% 10.0% Referrals 1.0% 5.0% 10.0% Paid online ads 0.0% 2.0% 10.0% *Other sources named by two or more respondents in a blank, open-ended field included transcripts, phone calls, coaches, denominational events/affiliation, and these organizations: FAFSA/ISIR, Cappex, Hobsons, Chegg, PC&U Private Colleges & Universities, CollegeXpress, Student Paths, and Petersons Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 25

26 Written Contacts at Four-Year Private Institutions Number of Written Communications a Typical Prospective Student Receives from Marketing and Recruitment Offices by Stages (Combination of direct mail, , and texting) private Statistics Purchased name/ Prospect stage Inquiry stage Admit stage Deposit/confirmed stage First quartile Median Third quartile Student-to-Student Contact Programs at Four-Year Private Institutions Do You Have a Student-to-Student Contact Program? (Yes/No) private Percent Percent Yes 69.6% Volume of Student-to-Student Contacts for Campuses That Responded Yes to Previous Item Reported Separately for Phone vs. vs. Text vs. Social Media vs. Handwritten Notes Statistics Phone Text Social media Handwritten notes First quartile Median Third quartile Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 26

27 Planning and Leadership Practices at Four-Year Private Institutions Quality Ratings for Six Leadership Practices Ordered by Percent Rated Excellent Quality private private Regular evaluations of marketing and recruitment strategies and tactics, including making changes accordingly Institutions using practice Excellent quality Good quality Fair quality Poor quality Excellent or good quality 95.6% 24.8% 45.9% 24.8% 4.6% 70.6% Written annual recruitment plan 85.1% 15.5% 48.5% 30.9% 5.2% 63.9% Written annual integrated recruitment/marketing plan Standing, campuswide committee that addresses coordinated marketing and recruitment planning across all units 68.1% 14.3% 33.8% 41.6% 10.4% 48.1% 49.1% 14.3% 32.1% 37.5% 16.1% 46.4% Written annual marketing plan 80.7% 12.0% 41.3% 35.9% 10.9% 53.3% Written, long-range (at least three year) strategic enrollment plan 61.6% 11.6% 42.0% 30.4% 15.9% 53.6% Chief Enrollment Officer Reports to Which Office? Respondents were instructed to choose only one response from the response below. private Percent President 76.5% Academic Affairs 12.2% Other* 10.4% Student Affairs 0.9% Administrative/Business Office 0.0% *Other responses named by two or more respondents in a blank, open-ended field included provost and executive vice president. All the rest of the other responses were unique responses identified by only one respondent each. Plans in Response to Federal Government s New FAFSA Rules Respondents were asked: What marketing and recruitment changes, if any, are you planning to implement in response to federal government s new FAFSA rules which allow use of Prior-Prior Year (PPY) information? (Please check all that apply.) private Percent Adjust content and timing of communication flows to prospective students 61.7% Provide financial aid estimates earlier 59.1% Will be encouraging leadership to set tuition earlier 58.3% We do not yet know what changes we will be making 35.7% Consider an earlier deadline for filing the FAFSA 27.8% Admit students earlier 23.5% Other* 2.6% *Each respondent who selected Other was presented with a blank field in which to specify additional initiatives. However, no two respondents indicated the same response Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 27

28 Usage and Effectiveness of 10 Specific Modes of Communication for Marketing and Student Recruitment at Four-Year Public Institutions Ordered by Percent Rated Very Effective public public Website optimized for mobile browsers communication Institutions using practice Very Somewhat Minimally Very or somewhat 83.3% 37.5% 45.0% 17.5% 82.5% 97.9% 27.7% 59.6% 12.8% 87.2% Text messaging 31.3% 26.7% 53.3% 20.0% 80.0% Recruiting page(s) on website Publications in general (viewbook, search piece, etc.) 95.8% 26.1% 45.7% 28.3% 71.7% 100.0% 22.9% 62.5% 14.6% 85.4% Calling cell phones 85.4% 19.5% 48.8% 31.7% 68.3% Videos embedded in campus website Social media sites like Facebook or Twitter 87.5% 11.9% 52.4% 35.7% 64.3% 89.6% 11.6% 48.8% 39.5% 60.5% Calling home phones 95.8% 10.9% 47.8% 41.3% 58.7% Video calls using Skype or similar services 31.3% 0.0% 33.3% 66.7% 33.3% Usage and Effectiveness of 61 Strategies and Tactics for Marketing and Student Recruitment at Four-Year Public Institutions Ordered by Percent Rated Very Effective Rankings of Strategies and Tactics public Campus open house events Campus visit days for high school students Meetings or events for high school counselors Encouraging prospective students to apply on the admissions website Campus visit events designed for school counselors Encouraging prospective students to schedule campus visits on the admissions website Institutions using practice Very Somewhat Minimally Very or somewhat 95.8% 76.1% 21.7% 2.2% 97.8% 97.9% 51.1% 44.7% 4.3% 95.7% 83.3% 45.0% 32.5% 22.5% 77.5% 100.0% 41.7% 50.0% 8.3% 91.7% 68.8% 39.4% 39.4% 21.2% 78.8% 95.8% 39.1% 52.2% 8.7% 91.3% 2016 Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 28

29 Rankings of Strategies and Tactics, Continued public public Institutions using practice Very Somewhat Minimally Very or somewhat Weekend visit days 77.1% 37.8% 54.1% 8.1% 91.9% Community college visits A planned, sequential flow of communication to prospective students, from the beginning to the end of the recruiting cycle High school visits by admission representatives to primary markets Community college articulation agreements 95.7% 33.3% 51.1% 15.6% 84.4% 95.8% 32.6% 56.5% 10.9% 89.1% 100.0% 31.3% 60.4% 8.3% 91.7% 91.3% 31.0% 50.0% 19.0% 81.0% Targeting in-state students 100.0% 29.2% 56.3% 14.6% 85.4% Community college outreach to academic advisors Academic programs within high schools for students to earn college credits to your institution Admissions decisions on the spot in high schools or during campus visits/open houses Off-campus group meetings for prospective students and/or their parents 89.4% 28.6% 47.6% 23.8% 76.2% 77.1% 27.0% 35.1% 37.8% 62.2% 41.7% 25.0% 40.0% 35.0% 65.0% 75.0% 25.0% 58.3% 16.7% 83.3% Having enrolled students visit one or more high schools 44.7% 19.0% 33.3% 47.6% 52.4% Online display advertising 69.6% 18.8% 53.1% 28.1% 71.9% College-paid trips to campus for prospective students 37.5% 16.7% 50.0% 33.3% 66.7% Targeting transfer students 91.7% 15.9% 63.6% 20.5% 79.5% 2016 Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 29

30 Rankings of Strategies and Tactics, Continued public public Student-to-student telecounseling involving continuous, regularly scheduled flows of phone calls at a high volume (one-time phonathons don t count) Content marketing to attract students using informative subjects, topics, and informational resources Targeting out-ofstate students Direct marketing aimed at eliciting specific, measurable actions such as a campus visit or submission of an application Targeting parents of prospective students Routine contacts by financial aid office professional staff to assess student reactions to financial aid awards Institutions using practice Very Somewhat Minimally Very or somewhat 54.2% 15.4% 69.2% 15.4% 84.6% 68.8% 15.2% 54.5% 30.3% 69.7% 85.4% 14.6% 53.7% 31.7% 68.3% 85.4% 14.6% 56.1% 29.3% 70.7% 75.0% 13.9% 47.2% 38.9% 61.1% 31.9% 13.3% 46.7% 40.0% 60.0% Offering flexible payment plans 66.0% 12.9% 35.5% 51.6% 48.4% High school visits by admission representatives to secondary, tertiary, or test markets Routine contacts by admissions office professional staff to assess student reactions to financial aid awards 97.9% 12.8% 46.8% 40.4% 59.6% 33.3% 12.5% 62.5% 25.0% 75.0% Targeting underrepresented students 85.4% 12.2% 61.0% 26.8% 73.2% Student search via 87.5% 11.9% 52.4% 35.7% 64.3% Targeting highacademic ability students 93.8% 11.1% 55.6% 33.3% 66.7% 2016 Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 30

31 Rankings of Strategies and Tactics, Continued public public Personalized home page/portal for prospective students Targeting online learners Cookie-driven retargeting ads that target users who ve previously visited your website Encouraging prospective students to use an inquiry form on the admissions website Institutions using practice Very Somewhat Minimally Very or somewhat 41.7% 10.0% 55.0% 35.0% 65.0% 42.6% 10.0% 45.0% 45.0% 55.0% 43.5% 10.0% 45.0% 45.0% 55.0% 91.7% 9.1% 54.5% 36.4% 63.6% Television ads 47.8% 9.1% 40.9% 50.0% 50.0% Targeting international students 70.2% 9.1% 30.3% 60.6% 39.4% National or regional college fairs 95.8% 8.7% 58.7% 32.6% 67.4% Student search via direct mail 85.4% 7.3% 48.8% 43.9% 56.1% Sending a subset of purchased names the same communications as inquiries 62.5% 6.7% 56.7% 36.7% 63.3% Virtual tours 62.5% 6.7% 56.7% 36.7% 63.3% Faculty phone contacts with prospective students Targeting veterans Using alumni in recruiting/marketing Special interest workshops, seminars, or camps (music, sports, science, etc.) Recruiting through business/industry Asking current students/alumni for applicant referrals Pay-per-click ads on search sites like Google, Bing, or Yahoo 63.8% 6.7% 43.3% 50.0% 50.0% 63.8% 6.7% 40.0% 53.3% 46.7% 64.6% 6.5% 41.9% 51.6% 48.4% 75.0% 5.6% 55.6% 38.9% 61.1% 39.6% 5.3% 10.5% 84.2% 15.8% 48.9% 4.3% 8.7% 87.0% 13.0% 52.2% 4.2% 41.7% 54.2% 45.8% 2016 Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 31

32 Rankings of Strategies and Tactics, Continued public public Pay-per-click ads on Facebook or other social media sites Online net price calculator Print media ads in general Mailing course schedules to residents in the area Billboard, bus, or other outdoor advertising Cooperative or consortia-based recruiting Radio ads Targeting adult learners Online college fairs Institutions using practice Very Somewhat Minimally Very or somewhat 56.5% 3.8% 53.8% 42.3% 57.7% 81.3% 2.6% 38.5% 59.0% 41.0% 87.0% 2.5% 37.5% 60.0% 40.0% 16.7% 0.0% 50.0% 50.0% 50.0% 76.1% 0.0% 34.3% 65.7% 34.3% 37.5% 0.0% 33.3% 66.7% 33.3% 65.2% 0.0% 30.0% 70.0% 30.0% 41.7% 0.0% 20.0% 80.0% 20.0% 52.1% 0.0% 20.0% 80.0% 20.0% Targeting part-time students 29.8% NA NA NA NA Overnight visits for high school students 27.1% NA NA NA NA Offering loans directly from the college or university 18.8% NA NA NA NA NA notation: Please note that ness ratings are unavailable (shown as NA ) in cases where the number of respondents was too small to provide statistically significant findings Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 32

33 Usage and Effectiveness of 11 Event Marketing and Recruitment Practices at Four-Year Public Institutions Ordered by Percent Rated Very Effective This data is a subset of the data presented in the previous, 61-item table. public public Campus open house events Campus visit days for high school students Meetings or events for high school counselors Campus visit events designed for school counselors Institutions using practice Very Somewhat Minimally Very or somewhat 95.8% 76.1% 21.7% 2.2% 97.8% 97.9% 51.1% 44.7% 4.3% 95.7% 83.3% 45.0% 32.5% 22.5% 77.5% 68.8% 39.4% 39.4% 21.2% 78.8% Weekend visit days 77.1% 37.8% 54.1% 8.1% 91.9% Off-campus group meetings for prospective students and/or their parents 75.0% 25.0% 58.3% 16.7% 83.3% College-paid trips to campus for prospective students National or regional college fairs Special interest workshops, seminars, or camps (music, sports, science, etc.) 37.5% 16.7% 50.0% 33.3% 66.7% 95.8% 8.7% 58.7% 32.6% 67.4% 75.0% 5.6% 55.6% 38.9% 61.1% Online college fairs 52.1% 0.0% 20.0% 80.0% 20.0% Overnight visits for high school students 27.1% NA NA NA NA NA notation: Please note that ness ratings are unavailable (shown as NA ) in cases where the number of respondents was too small to provide statistically significant findings Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2016 Marketing and Student Recruitment Practices Benchmark Report 33

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