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Student retention in career schools and higher education programs is an ongoing challenge. While 75% of students who started college returned for their second year, the retention rate is still below the pre-pandemic level of 75.9%.

With the education industry facing several challenges, adhering to enrollment management best practices is becoming increasingly important. Whether you’re a recruitment officer or a school ambassador, your school needs the right enrollment strategies to become a thriving institution.

In this guide, we explore enrollment management in-depth by discussing what it is, how it benefits your program, and how you can create a strategic plan that drives student success.

What Is an Enrollment Management Plan?

An enrollment management plan is a systematic strategy to improve school enrollment, retention, and graduation rates. Postsecondary and career schools rely on enrollment management strategies to identify opportunities that can elevate the success of their programs without going over their budgets.

A well-organized enrollment management plan focuses on multiple aspects of the academic experience, including student access. Without an enrollment strategy, there’s no framework that schools can use to achieve institutional goals and improve their reputation.

What does a strategic enrollment management plan consist of? Here are its five key components:

  • Marketing: Schools use promotional strategies to highlight their strengths and differentiate selling points while raising awareness of their programs. They can also establish their unique brand to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
  • Research and analysis: By analyzing the specific factors affecting recruitment and retention rates, schools can design and implement strategies to improve student experience.
  • Financial aid management: Higher educational programs can allocate their financial aid resources appropriately with an enrollment management plan.
  • Admission tracking: Educational institutions can assess their admissions success by tracking prospective students who enroll in their program, ideally within a Customer Relations Management (CRM) tool.
  • Retention: This involves coordinated efforts to increase student retention and maximize graduation rates. Examples of coordinated efforts include student mentorship programs and tutoring assistance.

Programs without an enrollment management plan struggle to attract prospective students and retain them for two or four years, depending on the length of the program.
By developing a coordinated enrollment strategy that focuses on the five areas above, administrators can improve the efficiency of their schools and elevate the academic experience for instructors and students.

If you need technological solutions to improve your enrollment and admissions efforts, check out Fame’s Student Information Systems software. With our software, you get customized reports that track both student attendance and performance.

Enrollment Management Personnel

Every educational program must select personnel to execute a coordinated management strategy. Below are some of the most critical enrollment management players and their roles:

  • Enrollment Director: Oversees the entire management process from beginning to end. They coordinate with other team members, facilitate ongoing enrollment efforts, and analyze current enrollment trends.
  • Financial Aid Director: Manages the distribution of financial aid and coordinates with other departments to determine whether or not certain students are eligible for merit-based aid.
  • Mid-level Administrator: Can coordinate several offices involved in the enrollment management process, including the admissions and financial aid offices.
  • Communications Director: Develops marketing campaigns to increase awareness of an educational program, attract future students, and works to improve a school’s reputation.
  •  Academic Advisor: Helps facilitate the educational journey for students. Typical responsibilities include helping students select appropriate courses, keeping them on track toward graduation, and identifying career opportunities.
  • Student Coordinator: Develop strategic efforts that refine the overall student experience. They oversee extracurricular activities, assess student support services, and coordinate on-campus events.

Not all post-secondary or career schools have these exact titles in enrollment management. Some positions and responsibilities are intertwined with others, so the titles above are not absolute. The duties vary depending on a program’s size, needs, and enrollment objectives.

8 Enrollment Management Strategies to Follow

All enrollment strategies share one goal: Foster a program focusing on student and program success. With this in mind, your institution must follow eight best practices in enrollment management.

  1. Establish Clear Objectives

    Every enrollment strategy begins with a clear understanding of a program’s objectives. Are you hoping to increase enrollment for underrepresented student populations? Increasing access to on-campus resources? Improve on-the-job technical skills? Define the objectives of your program and go from there.

  2. Assemble Your Enrollment Team

    Ongoing collaboration across several departments is critical for enrollment management. You need to determine who will be involved in implementing an enrollment management plan, what communication will look like across different teams, and what tasks each personnel will be responsible for.

    The bottom line? Your program must ensure that each participant contributes to the success of the enrollment process.

  3. Identify the Resources Needed

    Identify the right resources needed to roll out an enrollment management plan. For example, if you identified that your institution needs more on-campus events to improve the student experience, then you’ll need financial resources dedicated to that.

    If you’re running a trade school, you can focus on hands-on training resources to prepare graduates in a specific field.

    If the goal is to improve the reputation of your program to attract more prospective students, invest in targeted marketing campaigns that exemplify your program’s unique selling points.

  4. Utilize Data to Improve the Enrollment Plan

    Relying on accurate data is one of the best practices in enrollment management. Every decision should be backed by metrics that illustrate your institution’s successes and challenges. Some of the metrics to focus on include:

    1. Enrollment and retention rates
    2. Student demographics
    3. Graduation rates
    4. Number of on-campus visits
    5. Career trends
    6. Student and parental feedback
  5. Use Technology to Drive the Decision-Making Process

    Technology continues to drive innovative solutions that improve program efficiency, academic performance, and student success. It is imperative to leverage technological tools to streamline your enrollment management plan.

    The best technology will help teams exchange information about student trends, track students from the enrollment to the retention cycle, allocate financial resources, and provide benchmarks that can be used to gauge success rates.

    Whether you need software products to facilitate financial aid distribution or manage administrative tasks like student records, Fame has what you need. Take a look at our products and services and see how our solutions can streamline everything that goes into running a successful institution. Our free demo will show you how it works.

  6. Focus on the Student Experience

    Don’t lose sight of what’s important. Remember, the best enrollment management practices are the ones that focus on the student experience. If your strategies are having no impact on student enrollment or retention rates, they should be modified to account for those student needs.

    Identify and implement solutions that will help students succeed academically. In a trade school, this could mean finding ways to prepare students for entry-level positions after graduation. It could also mean assisting students to find apprenticeships that will set them up for skilled-trade jobs.

  7. Focus on Your Program’s Brand

    No enrollment management strategy can be successful if it doesn’t incorporate a unique brand. Differentiate your program from competitors by identifying your school’s unique selling points. Remember, there’s a reason why students are enrolling in your program.

    If you want to increase retention rates, you must highlight your program’s unique offerings in your marketing campaign so prospective students will be inclined to choose your school.

  8. Monitor and Adjust Your Plan

    Continue to modify your enrollment management plan to account for any findings or trends impacting your program’s success and the student experience. The best enrollment plan is not stagnant. An enrollment plan should be flexible and modified to increase its effectiveness.

    Ask yourself: Is your program getting closer to achieving its enrollment objectives? Are there any obstacles hindering the process? Remain flexible with your strategy and adjust accordingly. One way to do this is by conducting periodic reviews to ensure your enrollment plan is still on track to meet your goals.

Try Fame for the Best Enrollment Practices

Remember, the best enrollment management practices address institutional challenges preventing your program from achieving its long-term objectives. Fame is ready to take your program to new heights. With our software solutions, you’ll be able to streamline administrative tasks so you can focus more on what matters: student and program success.

If you have any questions about our offers, request a free consultation, and our team will contact you shortly.

Check out our FAQ section below for more information about enrollment management practices.

Enrollment Management FAQ

  1. How Do You Create a Budget for Enrollment Management?

    To create an enrollment management budget, gather data about your program’s enrollment trends and examine any external factors affecting those numbers. This information will be critical for determining how much money you’ll need for your enrollment strategy. Then, list any materials and personnel you will need (e.g., promotional items, software products, staff). Remember to review your budget regularly to avoid overspending.

  2. What Are Common Enrollment Problems?

    Some of the most common enrollment problems that educational programs face include:

    1. Not enough viable resources
    2. Lack of a retention strategy
    3. Ineffective processes
    4. Inaccurate enrollment data
    5. Lack of diverse applicants
  3. What Are Some Ongoing Trends Affecting Enrollment Management in Education?

    The educational industry continues to develop rapidly, resulting in massive changes. Some of the most pressing trends affecting enrollment management in education include:

    1. Staff turnover
    2. Decline in higher education enrollment
    3. Concerns about student debt
    4. Increased scrutiny of education
    5. Changes in student mobility
  4. How Long Does It Take to Implement an Enrollment Management Plan?

    It generally takes three to six months to roll out an enrollment management plan. The exact time frame can fluctuate depending on:

    1. The specific enrollment concerns
    2. Committee assignments
    3. The allocation of resources
    4. The number of meetings



Enrollment Management Best Practices
Samantha Bauer
Implementation & Support Manager, Cyanna Education Services

Sally Samuels | Fame Director of Compliance
Sally Samuels
Director of Compliance, Fame