Coaching Corner | Build and Achieve a Responsible Enrollment Budget

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How to Build and Achieve a Responsible Enrollment Budget

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

 

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Let me first say that I have no idea who this Antoine is, but he must have been plenty smart. The world of business is based on goals, and as per the quote, if those goals are not supported by actual plans; you are simply wishing to get your desired outcome.

One of the most essential goal-setting mandates that we perform in Higher Education is that of establishing enrollment budgets. Typically, part of your annual fiscal projections, these enrollment budgets account for a significant portion of your revenue generation, and therefore, are extremely important when it comes to growth forecasts and projected profits.

The process of budget building is unquestionably an exercise in multi-tasking. Responsibly setting these enrollment targets require considerations on many different levels and involve many different components of your infrastructure:

  • What is your standard student-faculty ratio, and based on your carry over population, how many new students that can be introduced in each program of study?
  • If your programs require an externship, what is the target population for which you can ensure externship sites?
  • How does your historic attrition rate influence your carry over population?
  • What are your classroom and facility capacity limits that still preserve a productive and retention-focused student experience?

Keep in mind; these are just a few of the logistical components of enrollment budgeting. You may know what you can handle, but now you need to figure out what is actually realistic. As Antoine pointed out, we still need a plan to ensure that our budget is based on fact and not fantasy.

  • Setting a per/program enrollment goal: Once you evaluate the logistical parameters of enrollment capacity, setting enrollment goals for your specific programs allows you to forecast revenue and monthly earnings based on the tuition of each program offering. The more ambitious a goal for a specific program, the more attention needs to be paid to the marketing spend, messaging and channel deployment
  • Evaluating historic conversion performance: Conversion performance can be forecasted in two different ways. Desired conversion performance and historic conversion performance. Setting an optimal conversion performance target is an important way to set an Admissions team benchmark for performance that will benefit the institution’s enrollment efficiency if it can be achieved. The caveat, however, is that more accurate forecasting is achieved when using historic conversion data as the basis for calculating inquiry to start conversion performance
  • Establishing a Performance Based Marketing Plan: Giving your Admissions team and the institution the best shot at meeting and exceeding enrollment goals depends on developing an effective marketing plan that generates the requisite student interest and inquiry flow that your conversion performance supports. Drilling down to the required valid inquiry counts by marketing channel is an imperative that will have a direct effect on your ability to achieve your enrollment goals
  • Maximizing Admissions Team Performance: Once your marketing plan is set, having a plan to best maximize the performance of your Admissions team is extremely important when it comes to realizing a desirable ROI for your marketing spend, and achieving your institutional enrollment goals. Identifying best performers in specific programs, inquiry type and in the various stages of the enrollment funnel (i.e., inquiry to interview, interview to enrollment, enrollment to start), can prove valuable when determining inquiry deployment or for team training purposes.

With tuition revenue representing the primary revenue driver for many Higher Ed institutions, attention to budget building and the affiliated Marketing and Admissions plan is an essential operational responsibility. With an ever-changing market and the variety of marketing strategies available in the Higher Ed space, coaching and training may be the most important part of your enrollment plan. Wishes are best left for genies, actual goals need plans; and plans are sometimes best made with the assistance of enrollment-focused coaching and training.

For more information about Tribeca’s Marketing & Admissions Coaching Services please click here or contact Richard McCulloch at 954-495-0932

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