West Rebrands SchoolMessenger Solutions

West Rebrands SchoolMessenger Solutions

Data-Driven Communication Leads to Increased Enrollment—and Future Donations

Ellucian survey finds the vast majority of administrators believe their institution will not stay competitive without integrating data across departments in the next five years

Key takeaways 

  • Prospective students are increasingly considering personalized communication in their decision on which institution to attend.   
  • Students expect the large amounts of data they provide during the recruitment process to be reflected back in tailored communications and experiences.  
  • Institutions can use student lifecycle data to better capitalize on the connection alumni have to their alma mater and overcome barriers to giving. 

Ellucian, the world’s leading provider of software and services built to power higher education, today published the findings of its annual survey, this year entitled, “Students, alumni, and administrators agree: Data-driven communications make a difference.” 

“Today’s students expect seamless personalized experiences from nearly every organization they come in contact with––whether they realize it or not,” said Ellucian Senior Strategic Consultant Katie Lynch-Holmes. “These expectations and actual experiences influence their choice of institution, long-term loyalty, and future giving.”

  • Communication weighs heavily in the enrollment decision Prospective students are increasingly considering personalized communication in their decision on which institution to attend.
  • 87 percent of students who received personalized communications during their application process agree that it was an important factor in their choice of school. 48 percent of students who applied to multiple colleges decided against an institution because of poor communication.

Students struggle to get the advice they crave on campus 
Students expect the large amounts of data they provide during the recruitment process to be reflected back in tailored communications and experiences.  

  • Students report having to talk to up to four people to answer to a single advising question.  
  • 70 percent of students have had to submit their personal information three or more times during their first year of school.  

Long-term loyalty and future giving hinge on tailored communication 
Institutions can use student lifecycle data to better capitalize on the connection alumni have to their alma mater and overcome barriers to giving.   

  • 85 percent of alumni said they would donate more often if they knew their money was funding organizations or initiatives they were involved with as students.   
  • 51 percent who receive requests say less than 10 percent of those inquiries are tied to  their personal interests or past campus activities.

Administrators see data integration as an imperative 
While departmental software that helps track and improve engagement is helpful, institutions that are able to leverage student data across departments are more likely to provide the experience modern students expect.  

  • 87 percent of administrators think their institution will not be able to stay competitive without integrating data across departments in the next five years.  
  • 95 percent of advisors wish they had access to more complete information on students’ financial, academic, and student life data. 
  • 95 percent of advancement officials believe they would have a better relationship with alumni if they had access to more data across the student lifecycle.  

To learn more, read the full survey report or stop by booth 703 at EDUCAUSE.  

About the Study 

The Ellucian Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research in the United States among 300 administrators, including 100 admissions/recruitment, 100 student success/registrars/advisors and 100 alumni relations/advancement/development, 500 college students ages 18+ and 502 alumni who have graduated within the past 5 years between July 19 and August 2, 2018, using an email invitation and an online survey. Quotas were set to ensure representative numbers of administrators from 4-year vs. 2-year institutions and public vs. private institutions, and to ensure representative and statistically significant numbers of students who attend 4-year vs. 2-year institutions, public vs. private institutions and for underclassmen vs. upperclassmen. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 5.7 percentage points for the administrator sample, 4.4 percentage points for the student sample and 4.4 percentage points for the alumni sample from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the samples. 

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