Co-Authored By Chris Marett, President, EAB Enrollment and Advancement Marketing Services and Rick Torres, CEO and President, National Student Clearinghouse
Given the increasingly stiff enrollment challenges faced by colleges and universities, understanding the path that prospective students take from initial interest to matriculation has never been more important. This is certainly true where first-time freshmen are concerned. It is doubly so for adult learners—an ever more important source of tuition revenue and a group whose path to enrollment is far more complex than that of college-bound high schoolers.
This post describes steps that EAB, in partnership with the National Student Clearinghouse, is taking to help its partner colleges and universities rise to the challenge.
Understanding the Clearinghouse’s full range of capabilities
The National Student Clearinghouse, a non-profit organization, is familiar to enrollment leaders everywhere. But its full range of aims, activities, and capabilities is less widely understood.
The Clearinghouse was established to help colleges and universities streamline the compliance reporting associated with federal student financial aid, and this remains a core aspect of its mission. In the process of making that vision a reality, the Clearinghouse has developed unique associated data assets and capabilities. No organization has a more complete and accurate picture of individual students’ educational history, attainment, and current enrollment status. And certainly not on such a vast scale; through its work with more than 3,700 colleges and universities nationwide, the Clearinghouse maintains data on 97% of students enrolled in postsecondary education.
Unlocking the potential of the Clearinghouse’s data assets
Via our partnership, all schools that work with EAB Enrollment Services will be granted complementary access to the Clearinghouse’s StudentTracker Premium service, which provides granular detail on students’ educational history and tools to analyze that data.
The partnership will also enable EAB to access Clearinghouse data in work directly undertaken on behalf of its individual partner colleges and universities, including associated enrollment-management support. Perhaps most consequentially, the partnership will also enable EAB to perform aggregate analyses of Clearinghouse data from EAB partner institutions, bringing to bear on that work its core competencies of quantitative and qualitative research, best-practice identification, and advanced data science.
Exploring use cases for enrollment leaders
The partnership promises a wide range of compelling applications for Clearinghouse data. Some are already well established and available to participating institutions immediately; others will be developed in coming months via ongoing research and testing by EAB and the Clearinghouse. Presented below are representative examples of existing and potential use cases for enrollment leaders.
One of the more difficult challenges associated with adult-learner recruitment is that of identifying prospective students. Aside from the limited number of graduate programs for which test-based list sources are available, schools are forced to rely on a confusing array of disparate data sources that must be knitted together via complex and labor-intensive processes.
Because Clearinghouse data contains detailed and comprehensive information on students’ educational history, combined with EAB’s own proprietary data assets it offers a powerful means of identifying students who have earned some undergraduate credits but did not graduate—a population commonly known as “stop-outs.”
This partnership promises a new level of reach and precision in the identification of target audiences for EAB’s existing adult-learner recruitment programs–including helping schools identify students who previously stopped out of their institutions.
College Stop-Outs in the United States with High Potential to Earn a Credential
3.5 million students in the United States
10% of students who have some college but no degree have a high potential to earn a credential if they reenroll
A major recent focus of EAB has been the development of technologies, systems, and processes aimed at smoothing the path for community college students seeking to transfer into four-year schools—efforts that culminated in our Transfer Portal offering. Our newly enhanced access to Clearinghouse data holds tremendous potential for rendering the Portal even more effective, by bringing new levels of resolution and coverage to our four-year partner institutions’ picture of their two-year prospect base.
EAB’s Transfer Portal is designed to meet prospective transfer students where they are. The Portal offers prospects credit estimates immediately, recommendations for their best-fit majors, and customized application support to guide them step by step through the enrollment process.
Clearinghouse data promises to be similarly important in connection with another population of students–those currently enrolled at four-year institutions. Recent changes to NACAC’s Code of Ethics and Professional Practice (CEPP) guidelines lifted restrictions on the active recruitment of these students by other four-year schools. Clearinghouse data will be an indispensable tool for understanding aggregate future patterns of four-year to four-year school transfers in order to further individual schools’ efforts at developing effective retention strategies.
EAB has long provided its Enrollment Services partner institutions with competitive intelligence, in the form of survey research that shows where nonyielding students ended up enrolling and why. A particular strength of this data is the fact that it is available earlier than similar information from other sources. The Clearinghouse partnership greatly enhances this capability by providing schools with data on nonyielding students that, while unavailable until later in the season, covers a more complete universe of students and schools and has undergone Clearinghouse’s world-class data quality assurance processes.
The applications described above are just an early read on where the greatest potential for the partnership lies, and we expect the list to grow rapidly in coming months. We are, for example, in the early stages of exploring potential benefits that more granular benchmarking of student progress might bring to EAB’s extensive student success practice. Stay tuned for news of developments along these lines, which we’ll be sharing with you through 2020.