Plugging the Holes in Your Admission Funnel

As enrollment leaders are we plugging our own admission funnel? College admissions offices spend generous human capital and resource investment to aggressively recruit students with the full gamut of integrated print and social marketing.

But when it comes to the final step of showing students overall affordability, the gloss turns flat. Instead of sending out high quality financial aid materials, many schools are using the big bertha printer down the hall to churn out award packets stuffed with random pamphlets of supplemental regulations and fine print. To make it fancy, you can throw it on colored paper. What does a family do when they receive this discombobulated mess requesting tax information? They probably put it right where all of their other hard to understand personal financial statements go, in a pile, on the counter, to quickly be covered by tomorrow’s mail.

Well then, why are some financial aid administrators sending out information in such a fashion? I thought that my financial aid office had nice wraps? Well, for the most part, financial aid wraps used to be printed by lenders and provided to the college free of charge. These full color 8 ½” by 11”, four page wraps, matched the college marketing materials and made it easy for the family to understand the financial aid process.

Then came the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), with formal July 1, 2010 enforcement, which cracked down hard lenders [HEOA § 487(a)(250)]. Cases where college and university officials were engaged in financial aid fraud through receiving vacations and even lender stocks in trade for placing the lender on the college’s preferred lender list gave rise to the issue at the federal level. These actions brought lender incentives for colleges to a halt. Lenders today are wary of even giving colleges pens or sticky notes for fear or providing illegal incentives.

As a former financial aid director, I completely understand the need for stronger regulation over fraudulent lending practices—but where did these increased regulations leave financial aid offices? Especially for small colleges, it left the financial aid office without a printing budget and back to the aforementioned, big bertha printer with colored paper. Consider the return on investment of your enrollment marketing before you brush off financial aid to just forms and regulations. My charge to you is this: unplug your admissions funnel by marketing to the student completely through the enrollment process—from inquiry to enrollment.


YouTube Best Practices – Q&A with University of Huddersfield Part 2

In this post, I continue my interview with Jill Gainer BSc, DipM, DipDigM a the University of Huddersfield about “Aliens in the Hud.” In Part 2, Jill covers how she distributed the video and the impact that it had on her school.

5. How and when did you release the video to the public? What did you do to generate awareness upon release?

We launched the film clip just 5 days ago with a number of coordinated distribution activities to encourage University stakeholders to share the clip if they liked it. We were keen for all our students and staff to share this clip – we figured if we had a number of students sharing it with their facebook and twitter friends, this would immediately help with spreading the word about the film clip. Our focus was to raise the profile of the clip within the Uni amongst staff and students, and then carry out a number of distribution activities outside the University to raise its profile. Our tactics seem to be working so far which is great.

6. With over 16,000 views already on YouTube, has reaction to the clip met your expectations?

Yes it has, however we hope to have greater online coverage over the coming weeks and months.

7. Have you seen any impact beyond the YouTube plays?

We have received an overwhelming number of comments form staff, students and from the online community (within the UK and further afield in the States). We have also had great UK press coverage which is fantastic.

8. What advice would you offer to colleagues who are considering a more creative use of viral video to promote their institution?

Be brave and innovative! Get internal buy-in from the senior management team and encourage all your stakeholders to be part of the production (where possible) and the distribution.

Many thanks to Jill for sharing her insights and for bringing such a bold video into the higher ed landscape.  What do you think? How can you incorporate KPI’s into your YouTube channel? What examples have you seen that are worth noting?

Check back in a few weeks as I take a look at another university who has fully embraced YouTube as an integrated student recruitment and PR tool!

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53 Facts About Teen Mobile Usage Every Higher Education Person Should Know

In April 2010, Pew Internet released the results of their survey of 800 teens and their parents about mobile phone usage. What follows are 53 of the most interesting facts from the study.

How Boys and Girls Text

1. Half of teens send 50 or more text messages a day, or 1,500 texts a month, and one in three send more than 100 texts a day, or more than 3,000 texts a month.

2. 15% of teens who are texters send more than 200 texts a day, or more than 6,000 texts a month.

3. Boys typically send and receive 30 texts a day; girls typically send and receive 80 messages per day.

4. Teen texters ages 12-13 typically send and receive 20 texts a day.

5. 14-17 year-old texters typically send and receive 60 text messages a day.

6. Older girls who text are the most active, with 14-17 year-old girls typically sending 100 or more messages a day or more than 3,000 texts a month.

7. However, while many teens are avid texters, a substantial minority are not. One-fifth of teen texters (22%) send and receive just 1-10 texts a day or 30-300 a month.

8. Girls typically send and receive 80 texts a day; boys send and receive 30.

9. 86% of girls text message friends several times a day; 64% of boys do the same.

10. 59% of girls call friends on their cell phone every day; 42% of boys call friends daily on their cell phone.

11. 59% of girls text several times a day to “just say hello and chat”; 42% of boys do so.

12. 84% of girls have long text exchanges on personal matters; 67% of boys have similar exchanges.

13. 76% of girls text about school work, while 64% of boys text about school.

How Parents Interact With Children’s Cell Phones

14. 64% of parents look at the contents of their child’s cell phone and 62% of parents have taken away their child’s phone as punishment.

15. 46% of parents limit the number of minutes their children may talk and 52% limit the times of day they may use the phone.

16. 48% of parents use the phone to monitor their child’s location.

17. Parents of 12-13 year-old girls are more likely to report most monitoring behavior.

18. Limiting a child’s text messaging does relate to lower levels of various texting behaviors among teens – these teens are less likely to report regretting a text they sent, or to report sending sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude images by text (also known as “sexting”).

19. Teens whose parents limit their texting are also less likely to report being passengers in cars where the driver texted behind the wheel or used the phone in a dangerous manner while driving.

How Teens Use Phones At School

20. 12% of all students say they can have their phone at school at any time.

21. 62% of all students say they can have their phone in school, just not in class.

22. 24% of teens attend schools that ban all cell phones from school grounds.

23. Still, 65% of cell-owning teens at schools that completely ban phones bring their phones to school every day.

24. 58% of cell-owning teens at schools that ban phones have sent a text message during class.

25. 43% of all teens who take their phones to school say they text in class at least once a day or more.

26. 64% of teens with cell phones have texted in class; 25% have made or received a call during class time.

How Teens Get Online With Cell Phones

27. 21% of teens who do not otherwise go online say they access the internet on their cell phone.

28. 41% of teens from households earning less than $30,000 annually say they go online with their cell phone. Only 70% of teens in this income category have a computer in the home, compared with 92% of families from households that earn more.

29. 44% of black teens and 35% of Hispanic teens use their cell phones to go online, compared with 21% of white teens.

How Parents and Teens Perceive Cell Phones

30. 98% of parents of cell-owning teens say a major reason their child has the phone is that they can be in touch no matter where the teen is.

31. 94% of parents and 93% of teens ages 12-17 with cell phones agreed with the statement: “I feel safer because I can always use my cell phone to get help.” Girls and mothers especially appreciate the safety aspects of cell ownership.

32. 94% of cell users ages 12-17 agree that cell phones give them more freedom because they can reach their parents no matter where they are.

33. 84% of 12-17 year-old cell owners agree that they like the fact that their phone makes it easy to change plans quickly, compared with 75% of their parents who agree with that sentiment.

34. 48% of cell-owning teens get irritated when a call or a text message interrupts what they are doing, compared with 38% of the cell-owning parents.

35. 69% of cell-owning teens say their phone helps them entertain themselves when they are bored.

36. 54% of text-using teens have received spam or other unwanted texts.

37. 26% have been bullied or harassed through text messages and phone calls.

How Teens Use Their Phones Outside Of Texting

38. 83% use their phones to take pictures.

39. 64% share pictures with others.

40. 60% play music on their phones.

41. 46% play games on their phones.

42. 32% exchange videos on their phones.

43. 31% exchange instant messages on their phones.

44. 27% go online for general purposes on their phones.

45. 23% access social network sites on their phones.

46. 21% use email on their phones.

47. 11% purchase things via their phones.

How Teens Pay For Cell Phones

48. 69% of teen cell phone users have a phone that is part of a contract covering all of their family’s cell phones.

49. 18% of teen cell phone users are part of a prepaid or pay-as-you-go plan.

50. 10% of teen cell phone users have their own individual contract.

Teen Texting And Driving

51. Half (52%) of cell-owning teens ages 16-17 say they have talked on a cell phone while driving (by pena) . That translates into 43% of all American teens ages 16-17.

52. 48% of all teens ages 12-17 say they have been in a car when the driver was texting.

53. 40% say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put themselves or others in danger.