Enrollment enhanced through technology

In an economic climate where the value of higher education is constantly being questioned, Gannon University has maintained enrollment figures and even increased those numbers by around 200 through a combination of technology and traditional recruitment strategies.

This consistent effort is especially difficult due to a declining population of prospective students in Western Pennsylvania – a region that supplies Gannon with the largest percentage of students. The entire organization relies on a constant stream of new students each and every year.

“Higher education is incredibly complex,” said Andrew Miller, director of enrollment services information systems. “You’re a hotel, you’re an athletic powerhouse, you’re an academic institution, you’re a financial institution and you’re a facilities management institution. There’s hundreds and hundreds of things that the president’s staff have to grapple with, and no one thing is right.”

Miller, who has been at Gannon for almost a year, is responsible for information systems, technology and operations for enrollment services. He’s also the lead on the project converting enrollment over to the new Ellucian Recruiter CRM system. CRM, or customer relationship managament software, has emerged as a staple of most consumer-facing businesses and has become more ingrained into the scope of higher education recruitment.

Miller believes that by merging the old with the new, Gannon is able to recruit quality students more efficiently than ever. “It’s really cool to see quality work ethic combined with this technological revolution that’s happening because people here really want Gannon to succeed and they’re willing to put the time and effort into things to make that happen.”

According to its website, ellucian.com, “Ellucian Recruiter is advanced student recruitment and enrollment management software that provides insight into your prospect pool, using enrollment probability and predictive modeling to help you identify your ideal prospects.”

Based on the criteria admissions staff places into the system, Recruiter can automate workflows to make enrollment recruitment more streamlined and cost-effective – just one of the many advantages to synthesizing technology with the traditional recruitment cycle.

Higher retention, new students and other initiatives such as dual-enrollment and graduate admissions have contributed to the increase of two-hundred students recently in enrollment. Miller said that all of these factors are a focus of the US Government, and highlighted that Gannon is doing its part to encourage students to maintain a holistic college career through all four years.

“We have always done a very good job at having solid organizational processes,” said Miller. Keeping students informed, telling them what they need to do, what they’re missing, and keeping in contact with them is a top priority. Miller also said that the numerous scholarships and awards that are granted to students every year contribute to the solid numbers.

In addition to the traditional recruitment strategies, Miller discussed new strategic initiatives that will help keep new student numbers high in the coming years.

“Investing more into mobile devices, recruitment technology such as the CRM program Recruiter, bulk email services, social media – all of those things are helping increase the brand recognition and enrollment for the university,” said Miller. “It’s not just one thing, but everything working in concert to make Gannon a competitor in higher education.”

Keefer Kopco, a senior theatre communication arts major and editor-in-chief of Edge magazine supports the recent technological advances in admissions recruitment. “Potential students who are looking at Gannon, or any other school, have such a well-rounded view of student life and the campus mentality that it’s becoming easier and easier to find a school that fits them like a glove,” said Kopco.

October is an especially busy month for undergraduate admissions, because fall travel occurs and enrollment advisers travel across the nation to encourage students to attend Gannon. However, lots of activity happens at home as well. Saturday, Gannon will host its Fall Open House which is organized and run by Emily Kleps, associate director of the office of admissions.

Gannon, with its updated CRM software and solid enrollment numbers, is in a great position for the coming year.

MICHAEL HAAS

[email protected]