Scannell & Kurz Enrollment Management Blog

While Scannell & Kurz continues to provide the expert consulting and high level of service by which we define ourselves, as a division of Ruffalo Noel Levitz we also offer the benefits of our collaboration with a larger team of talented consultants.

Part of that collaboration involves our enrollment blog. Each week on this site, we have posted relevant research, insights, and recommendations to help you make the most of your strategies. We will now post to the Ruffalo Noel Levitz blog along with a good number of our colleagues—increasing the frequency and diversity of posts you’ll find on all manner of topics.

The Ruffalo Noel Levitz blog covers the key topics we have addressed: enrollment management, student retention, student recruitment, financial aid, and marketing. We are looking forward to not only continuing to share our insights with you, but to connect you with the additional strategies and recommendations of our new colleagues.

There’s also an option to subscribe for synopses of recent blog posts. You will continue to find, and be able to search, our archived blog posts here on this site.

We invite you to explore this resource—and to let us know if you’re looking for specific advice.

April 2012

Benchmarking Dos & Don’ts - Monday Musings
Higher education institutions love to benchmark with other institutions on a variety of factors such as faculty salaries, endowment per student, research dollars garnered, tuition charges, etc. But often institutions don’t conduct the type of benchmarking that we think is most important. Here is our top list of enrollment management benchmarking “dos” and one “don’t”: When attempting to gain an understanding of your market position through benchmarking, DO benchmark with competitors, rather than peers or aspirants. DON’T just compare yourself to competitors on sticker price—compare discount rates; “prestige measures” like test scores, U.S. News rank, and accept rates; and measures of socio-economic and ethnic diversity,…Read more

Limits of Modeling - Monday Musings
When I was part of an admissions office, every day in April at 10:00 AM, you could have mistaken the tension and excitement in the office for an episode of Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch, brought on by the arrival of the mail bin. Enrollment deposits that arrived via phone were harkened by the ringing of a bell, and we each took guesses at what the final tally for the day would be once the web payments were counted. If we had a particularly good day, the news traveled like wildfire across campus. Wherever I went, on campus or off, if I ran into someone I knew, I would invariably be asked how the numbers looked. Anticipation was in the air, even with sophisticated data tracking and aid strategies developed through predictive modeling in…Read more

Measuring, Moving, & Markets - Monday Musings
Last week was office moving day for a few folks at S&K. We are hiring another research analyst, the second time in three years that the research team has expanded in order keep up with the demand for our core services, which require significant data analysis and predictive modeling. The move into “new territory” for some S&K staffers made me think of what should happen when an admissions office decides to expand into new markets/geographic territories. In preparation for our office move, there was measuring, measuring, and more measuring, all in an effort to make the move very efficient once the professional movers arrived to begin the heavy lifting. There was none of the “how does this look here?” or “do you think this will fit there?”…Read more

Thoughts on Reading the 2011 NACUBO Tuition Discounting Study Report - Monday Musings
The recently released NACUBO Tuition Discounting Study for 2011 starts off with the following quote: "Many four‐year private nonprofit (independent) colleges and universities use tuition discounting strategies in order to increase their undergraduate enrollments. Unfortunately, data from the 2011 NACUBO Tuition Discounting Study (TDS) suggests that this strategy is no longer working effectively at a large number of colleges and universities." From our perspective, this view of the data gathered in the study is overly simplistic, and points out limitations in the analysis. For many institutions across the country, discount rates have increased over the last few years NOT because those institutions have introduced more generous packaging policies…Read more

Less Like a Funnel, More Like a Stream - Monday Musings
We’ve taken to thinking of college admissions as less like a funnel and more like a stream, as students enter the admissions process at various points in the flow and the admissions staff is simultaneously communicating with prospective freshmen, transfers, athletes, musicians, sophomores, juniors, seniors, parents, etc. To manage this increasing complexity, consider giving responsibility for one of these “micro-streams” to each recruiter, just as you would assign them geographic territories for recruitment. Then, for each micro-stream: Use several years of data to set a target for the coming year. Create a mini-recruitment plan, complete with timelines and action steps. Identify the funding and resources necessary to achieve the…Read more