Now granted, I don’t know the situation at every institute, but it seems to be that there is a fairly consistent misunderstanding of the value of a prospective student. Maybe “misunderstanding” is not the correct term. Maybe just the general sharing of this stated value isn’t made apparent to web people who can play a very important part of recruitment without any direct connection. An institute’s website is a VERY, if not the most, important piece of the marketing strategy for recruitment. Prospective students can learn about your institute and enter your funnel before you even know that they are interested in you. So there I go with another business type marketing word… funnel.
So to find out if maybe my understanding isn’t as accurate as I think, please answer the following question:
Does your institute have a defined value for each application received?
- Yes (53%, 9 Votes)
- No (47%, 8 Votes)
Total Voters: 17
Why does this matter? Karlyn has taught us quite a lot about measuring ROI and Implementing Technology with an Eye on ROI (slides here). One problem still remains: Do people really take this to the root level to know how much marketing budget they can/should spend on a prospective student? This leads me to another simple revelation.
It doesn’t matter what you call it, a prospective student is a lead!
Let’s Look At Some Basic Math
What is the value of a student?
Student Value = average years for a student * (tuition – average discount)
So what is an applicant worth?
Application Value = Student Value * Conversion rate from applicant to enroll
So taking the above two formulas let’s say that the average number of years a student attends is 3 (a four year institution where students are always coming and going and may not stay the full four years) , tuition is $25,000 per year and average discount is $10,000. By doing some basic math we learn the student value is $45,000! That’s no pocket change. So let’s say that you average 10,000 applicants per year and your school only accepts 2,000. This means your conversion rate is 20%. So every application is worth $9,000!
What if there were ways that you could leverage the web to increase the application levels? What if you could be more selective, with a larger pool of applicants to pull from, by being able to leverage and spend money on some online channels because you now have a baseline for the value of these conversions? While we are at it how about some more questions. What is a student visit worth? What is a catalog download worth? What is the email address of a prospective student worth? If your web people don’t know this and aren’t working very closely with your admission people to accomplish these business goals then you need to wake up because we are quickly closing in on 2010!
Where Am I Going With All This?
Next week I’ll be presenting at Whipple Hill’s UC ’09 in Boston on the subject that an inquiry is a lead and ways that Higher Education really should be doing a better of job thinking about this in more of a business like perspective. Let’s be honest here…even schools that are not for profit need incoming students to survive, and if you aren’t bringing leads, aka prospective students, into your admission funnel then your school will be shut down. Guess what? Your website has become a VITAL part of this process, and today I’d be willing to guess that 90%+ of applications are processed completely online.
So I ask you again: What is a lead worth to your school and are you appropriating the correct resources to acquire or increase them?
Photo: DS Prospective Students by Shane Pope