Retention & Service Quality Management
Retention to graduation represents the sweet spot where the interests of higher education's many and diverse stakeholders converge.
To Keep Is Cheap
Periodically, InterEd analyzes resource allocations among successful programs across the nation. Our analyses show that adult-centered and professional higher education programs spend too little on retention in relation to their own goals for growth and quality.
Products & Services
It is generally true that it is smarter (e.g., less expensive) to retain an existing customer than to secure a new one. Derivations from our empirical models show that the typical adult-centered and professional program would reap incrementally greater benefits from a reallocation to retention management from 15% to 25% of what it spends on lead generation, enrollment, and pre-matriculation services (the front-end).
Even many leading adult-centered and professional institutions budget substantially less than they would need to budget to achieve a return-on-investment at parity with their enrollment budgets.
The bottom line? Most institutions of this type operate under a brute force that shovels students into the enrollment funnel and hopes for the best once they are inside. The result of these actions and inattention to enterprise-level enrollment is higher than necessary acquisition-to-graduation costs, quality issues of various kinds, and lower net margins. We have pretty good evidence as to why this seemingly irrational behavior prevails but we will save it for a conversation.
To Graduate Is Sweet
While financial outcomes represent the easiest part of smarter to illustrate, the non-financial benefits of increasing retention often present stronger reasons for taking immediate action. Consider the following generalizations about retention:
- Graduating successful learners is a university's core business.
- Employee morale (faculty, staff, administrators) is lowest in low-retention environments.
- Costs of retention are a fraction of the costs of acquisition.
(Recall that acquisition costs money until past the point of break-even; thus retention is the only activity that produces a positive margin.)
- Retained students are satisfied and refer with a strong positive ratio.
- Referred enrollments are the least expensive and produce the highest retention statistics.
- Non-retained students are dissatisfied and refer negatively.
- High graduation rates confer value with accrediting and licensing bodies.
Begin with an audit of your retention function tailored to your specific goals.
Or, if you are already on track but need key personnel training:
Arrange for us to train your retention managers and counselors to perform appropriately in your environment in relation to your established goals. If you don't have successful role definitions and performance metrics, we can develop them for your goals and environment.
Or, if you are not ready for a decision:
Consider attending one of our well-known Executive Retreats on Retention Management. You will have a great time and leave with an overflowing agenda of transformational ideas.
Or, if you are not ready for an Executive Retreat
Ask more questions to help you decide. We will also let you know the next time we offer an Executive Briefing or Executive Teleconference on this topic.
When the time is right, contact us to begin planning your next phase of retention management to achieve growth and quality. InterEd can help you develop the policies, procedures, standards for performance, and metrics that will make you an even more effective leader.