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Despite significantly expanding marketing initiatives at a significant cost to the institution, the online division enrolled only a small number of new students. The cost-per-enrollment realized came in well in excess of sustainable targets. At this point, most marketing initiatives were placed on hold, and no additional enrollment growth was realized.
The University approached Cygnus, requesting a strategy aimed at realigning efforts and driving online enrollment growth at sustainable conversion and cost metrics. At the time, the university offered approximately 10 online programs.
At the time, the University relied on its existing operational structure and resources to manage all aspects of marketing, student recruitment, and admissions processing.
The challenge with this approach is that these functions were designed to serve the needs of high school students looking to enroll in college full-time, as opposed to returning adult students looking for part-time online education opportunities.
The online education vertical is a crowded, highly competitive landscape. Institutions looking to grow online enrollments need to adapt their operations to serve the needs of a returning adult student audience that is actively being targeted and recruited by highly efficient operators that are capable of enrolling and matriculating students in a matter of days.
When Cygnus was retained, the University was taking in excess of two months to process an online applicant through registration.
Cygnus indicated that competitive institutions were capable of processing inquiring prospects into enrollments in as little as 5 days and recommended the university aimed at streamlining inquiry-to-enrollment processes so that online students could be enrolled, on average, within 2 weeks of having requested information.
Cygnus’ strategy was to integrate and coordinate cross-functional recruitment and admissions efforts, with the goal of creating a fully integrated enrollment management organization capable of effectively managing the lifecycle of prospective students from inquiry through matriculation.
Further, Cygnus outlined a plan to streamline processes by fostering cross-functional collaboration, communications, and accountability. This strategy was executed and achieved through process automation and operations management training.
Since the completion of Cygnus’ Enrollment Management engagement, the University has realized online enrollment growth in excess of 1300% and now offers more than 70 online programs.
Recently, the University re-engaged Cygnus to help it expand its Performance Social Media initiatives.
The online education vertical is a crowded, highly competitive landscape with highly efficient operators that are capable of enrolling and matriculating students in a matter of days.
Institutions looking to grow online enrollments need to adapt and optimize their operations to serve the needs of a returning adult student audience.