Everyone is aware that there are approximately 30 million people who started but did not complete a college degree. The good news, according to new research by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, the national six-year completion rate for the 2015 cohort reached 62.2 percent, a 1.2 percentage point increase over the 2014 cohort.
Our question is why the new interest in stop-outs and the focus from large Online Program Management (OPM) providers vying to assist with re-recruiting efforts? From our view, re-admits or “drops” have been a cornerstone to an enrollment plan. In fact, since 2008 we have been helping institutions recover and re-recruit stop-outs.
Our view is that, ultimately, these stop-outs will return to school. The major question is will they return to their original school? Likewise, will your stop-outs return to your school? Too often, schools have the right intention, but have resource constraints or “priority” fatigue, to fully execute a holistic strategy that yields 10 to 15 percent of new annual enrollments. Sure, life happens; work, financial and family challenges exist but too frequently the stop-outs have not been nurtured or they don’t have a strong relationship with the institution. That means when they are ready to return, they choose a competitor.
We help institutions create a scalable strategy, not a campaign, that includes integrated messaging, measures engagement, and improves completion.
Here are 7 keys to recover and re-enroll stop outs:
- Target: Focus on those individuals that have the highest probability of completing. Go back six years in your record and prioritize your target audience by drop date, degree level and credits completed. Establish a measurement for success. How many re-admits would you like to acquire? What is the remediation offer or specific solution for each person to re-enroll? For example, is there a new offer or new program or route to faster completion that may be available?
- Locate: You know who they are, but do you know why they dropped? It’s been a while since they dropped, do you know where they are? We use a wide variety of tools to locate current phone, email, and social media to locate and to message to determine the best way to communicate.
- Engage: Engagement requires a combination of technology, integrated messaging, and professional personal success coaching. Once contact is made, it’s about re-establishing the relationship. They’re placing their trust in you. Relationships start with listening. They’re strengthened with clearly identifying and updating motivations and challenges. You’ll seek to capture data and gain insight. Then, you’ll address risk factors or challenges that may prevent stop-outs from completing the program, not just starting.
- Capture Data and Insight: It can’t be understated how important it is capturing actionable data. We score and model the data to provide powerful insight across the entire initiative to identify key pressure points that lead students to stop-out. All of this gives your university the insight you need to retain students, enhance marketing and operations, and measure ongoing improvement.
- Inspire: You’ve listened and discovered their challenges, or risk factors, what are their motivations for completing? What were those motivations when they originally enrolled? Have those changed? Help them create a new vision for academic success!
- Partner: Students desire clarity and a clear path to completion. Quickly provide a clear academic plan and a single point of contact who can be both a cheerleader and ombudsman.
- Support: Ongoing, consistent personal support that helps them cross the finish line is required. Sure, having an academic game plan is great, but they need to be applauded and congratulated, not just with automated marketing, for small steps by a real human. It is imperative that frequent outreach discussing their progress and challenges occurs.
At Education Connex, we’ve built a customized solution to reconnect, re-engage and re-enroll former students. Let us help you!