While everyone speaks about the inherent link between eCommerce and data – there is one domain that often gets left out – education. Colleges and universities feel more pressure than ever to solve student lifecycle problems, now exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. How can they overcome antiquated systems and quickly address these issues? Master Data Management (MDM) may hold the key.
Same Challenges, Higher Stakes
The coronavirus pandemic negatively affected many industries, and higher education is no exception. But the issues facing universities aren‘t unusual.
According to the National Student Clearinghouse, undergraduate student enrollment for the Fall 2020 semester is down 4% compared to the same time last year, with freshman enrollment, in particular, falling a striking 16.1%.
Unfortunately, you can‘t chalk this up to current circumstances. Falling enrollment is an ongoing concern. In 2017, only 34% of colleges met new student enrollment goals, down from 42% in 2015.
“Everything that the schools are facing in COVID were the exact same set of things that they identified pre-COVID, except they‘re on steroids,” said Simon Barker, managing partner at Blue Moon Consulting Group, an organization that conducted a recent survey of college leaders.
How Can Master Data Management Help?
One approach adopted from the corporate and eCommerce world is to turn your organization’s mountains of data into an asset. Businesses across all industries now use data management technology, processes, and techniques to drive rapid decision-making and boost organizational efficiency, with many turning to MDM as the preferred tool.
Higher education has long suffered from antiquated systems and a lack of agility, but those issues don’t have to persist. Here are three ways institutions can leverage MDM to meet strategic goals in the student lifecycle and beyond.
#1: Student Recruitment
In college recruiting, managed data can help identify past areas of recruiting success to lay the groundwork for future plans. What schools, regions, states, or countries have you successfully recruited? Are there particular sports, clubs, or high school activities that drive interest in your university?
Typically, this data is either anecdotal or hard to access due to disparate systems and institutional data silos. With MDM, you can gather this wealth of data into one centralized platform, so you can easily view complete reports via a “single source of truth.“
And it’s not just about identifying prospective students – MDM can help you showcase your school’s unique benefits to them. Because it can organize different data domains, MDM helps marry faculty and student data to give prospects an insight into ideal course schedules. You can provide them with a comprehensive four-year roadmap to graduate and drive towards their career goals before they even enroll.
Recruiting resources are always limited, but MDM helps you maximize them. Whether with in-state or coveted out-of-state and international students, MDM can help you efficiently target the right students and increase the admissions pipeline, student enrollment, and, ultimately, top-line tuition revenue.
#2: Student Retention
Once students are enrolled, the challenge to keep them engaged and on a path toward graduation begins. When students drop out, it hurts school revenue and prevents the college from fulfilling its educational goals.
How do institutions retain students in an environment where six-year graduation rates don’t reach 60%?
One way is to quickly and easily identify the students most at–risk of withdrawing. With MDM, universities can systematically track student data and – based on pre-determined triggers – pinpoint the students most likely to drop out at any given time. If a student falls below a certain GPA, for example, loses a scholarship, or faces disciplinary actions, the school can proactively coordinate with the student and design a plan that keeps them enrolled, engaged, and on a path to success.
Most schools don’t have proven processes to identify these students and engage them before they drop out. But MDM can help colleges mitigate the risk of poor student retention by using data to anticipate and act.
#3: Improve University Operations
While this article focuses on recruiting and retaining students, MDM can also help universities in many powerful ways, including:
- Improving alumni relations – Systematize and personalize alumni outreach to engage your most impactful ambassadors.
- Strengthening fundraising efforts – Identify successful campaigns and their commonalities, then replicate them to achieve capital campaign goals.
- Systematizing facilities management – Track and organize assets and suppliers to reduce costs and create supply chain efficiencies.
Utilizing good data unlocks these benefits, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The beauty of MDM is that users continue to find ways the platform can solve organizational problems long after implementation.
Open the Book on MDM
While MDM may be a new option to consider for higher education, the benefits are worth exploring. If you’d like an experienced guide to show you what’s possible with MDM for higher education, contact us now.
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