As I work daily with institutions in higher education one of the underlying themes I consistently am confronted with is bottom line thinking. By bottom line, I’m talking about a very black and white opinion of whether or not certain purchases or strategies will have an impact on the financial well being of a school. The term “ROI” reverberates across the industry. Solutions in higher education can easily incur costs that escalate into the hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars. Because of this, it’s quite possible to become “gun-shy” on pulling the trigger on an investment in your prospecting tool set. This feeling has been catalyzed even more by the current state of the economy.
We now know for certain that functionalityy such as online applications, e-marketing & communications, even the new kids on the block Facebook and Twitter have a positive impact on not only prospecting, but also your overall enrollment and yield. [Please see the following James Tower link for more data]. Think for just a moment about the math; if a 30k dollar investment yields but one additional applicant who matriculates, that student alone pays tuition that can nearly cover the initial investment. The benefits of an investment in your infrastructure impact everyone who experiences your online presence, and its return is multi-fold. Let me be very clear, I’m not suggesting that you throw diligence to the way-side. I’m advocating that when the choice is apparent don’t allow spending fear to prevent your institution from progressing the way in which it must in order to maintain viability in today’s changing technological landscape.
With the economy turning around, an increased emphasis on higher education to fight through recession down turns, and new monies becoming available everyday through the government stimulus, the time is now to prepare your tool set for the next generation of applicants. Prospects will always be ahead of the technology curve. Cater to their needs, and they’ll reward you. The time is now to invest in your future as an institution in the same way that you tell your prospects to do so everyday.