Enrollment Services Case Study Compendium

Enrollment Services Case Study Compendium

Highlighting breakthrough results from Enrollment Services partners

EAB provides expertise and proven best practices to hundreds of enrollment leaders around the country. Our work enables schools to build their inquiry pool, increase applications, and ultimately, achieve their ambitious enrollment goals.

Our Enrollment Services Case Study Compendium features a diverse set of higher education partners. Learn about the range of services that we provide to help schools find, engage, and enroll their best-fit students. Whether the school is large or small, public or private, each of these stories highlights an institution that has achieved success by partnering with EAB.

Private Colleges and Universities

2020 Case Studies

While the 2020 enrollment cycle is not complete, we want to highlight the following partners who have experienced mid-cycle success despite the global pandemic.

Institution: Private university in the Midwest with 700 undergraduate students

Challenge: This University came to EAB seeking help with brand recognition after experiencing several years of declining enrollment. With a large campus footprint in a rural setting, they were looking to attract more students and increase their freshman headcount. The school began their partnership late in the 2019—2020 enrollment cycle and was presented with a new challenge when COVID-19 began to spread rapidly throughout the United States.

Solution: The University partnered with EAB across several services to leverage an omni-channel marketing approach that would optimize targeting and increase engagement. After COVID-19 hit, they decided to add additional services, including a virtual tour, which was launched in under a month.

Impact: By investing in strategic student recruitment services and adjusting swiftly in the face of a crisis, this University was able not only to meet but surpass their original enrollment goals. They are currently tracking 28% ahead of their 2019 deposits.

Institution: Private liberal arts college in the South with 1,100 undergraduate students

Challenge: This small Southern college that had partnered with another longtime enrollment vendor had experienced years of unexceptional results. Under new leadership, the college wanted to fundamentally change their enrollment trajectory.

Solution: In 2019, the college partnered with EAB on Search, Application Marketing, and Financial Aid Optimization to ensure that they would be well-positioned to meet their aggressive enrollment goals. Using a data-driven targeting strategy, EAB advised the college to strategically focus on gaining a larger share of their local market. Many distant markets that seemed appealing were actually nota good fit for the university. EAB then constructed a customized financial aid model that leveraged their discount rate to maximize growth in enrollment and net tuition revenue.

Impact: Despite the effects of COVID-19, the college experienced a 52% increase in students from their local market and a 32% increase in overall deposits. As of June 2020, the college is on track for a record-breaking class.

53%

Increase in admits from 2019 to 2020

32%

Increase in deposits from 2019 to 2020

601K

Ahead of net tuition revenue goal for 2020

Institution: Private university in the South with 9,000 undergraduate students

Challenge: This partner has worked with EAB for over 15 years to optimize their financial aid strategy. After many successful enrollment cycles, the school was presented with a new challenge when COVID-19 began to spread rapidly throughout the United States. By early April, the school was tracking almost 9% behind in net deposits and 6% behind in net tuition revenue.

Solution: To address these market changes, an EAB Strategic Leader met with the school weekly to review their data and develop solutions. Based on new financial aid models, EAB proposed several mid-cycle adjustments that could get the school back on track to achieve their ambitious enrollment goals.

Impact: After implementing several policy changes along with other recruitment strategies, the school saw a significant turnaround. Not only did the university far exceed their June 1 deposit goals, but they also regained enrollment and revenue in specific cohorts of concern.

Institution: Private university in the Southeast with 2,200 undergraduate students

Challenge: Despite partnering with another longtime enrollment vendor, this university was not meeting their enrollment goals. In 2018, the institution decided to partner with EAB to implement Search and Application Marketing campaigns as well as yield intelligence and Financial Aid Optimization services. Although these investments paid off with a record-breaking class in 2019, the school was naturally concerned about hitting their 2020 enrollment targets once COVID-19 began to spread. In particular, the university was worried about the potential impact of COVID-19 on their large international student population.

Solution: The university and EAB worked together to navigate these uncertain times by leveraging their strong inquiry pool, adjusting their financial aid strategy, and pivoting quickly to online admissions work. The university focused on virtualizing their campus and supporting families through one-on-one counseling.

Impact: These nimble strategy changes have put the university on track for a second consecutive recording-breaking class. They are also currently exceeding their net tuition revenue goal.

Tactics to mitigate the effects of COVID-19

One-on-one family counseling

Increased parent communication

Person with computer

Virtual admitted student day

2019 Case Studies

Institution: Private research university in the Northwest with 5,700 undergraduate students

Challenge: This private research university was at risk of closing, with declines in enrollment undermining revenue to the point that the sustainability of its operations was in question.

Solution: The situation was remedied by the visionary leadership of the former chancellor, who, in addition to accelerating fundraising, reconceptualized the school’s enrollment infrastructure. In 2013, at the heart of their revamped approach was a partnership with EAB Enrollment Services, by means of which the university was able to focus its recruitment-marketing investments selectively on approaches proven through testing to produce the highest return on investment and enhance their academic profile. Faced with a complex and rapidly evolving set of options, the university chose to prioritize digital recruitment marketing investments for rapid impact—namely, paid advertisements on social media and display networks.

Impact: The school’s revamped enrollment management has continued to pay dividends across the years. Among other impressive achievements, the university has increased net tuition revenue by 94% in just over a decade.

“EAB enhanced our ability to determine the most efficient manner to spend our digital marketing dollars. Our team had considered several platforms, but EAB’s research and analytics guided us to mediums that were driving the best results for their partners, and  we moved the needle on several key areas in our funnel.”

Vice Chancellor for Enrollment, Private University

Institution: Private university in the Northeast with 800 undergraduate students

Challenge: The university experienced a 28% decline in fall freshmen enrollment from 2011 to 2014. This private university needed to grow their class without sacrificing academic quality.

Solution: In 2014, the university partnered with EAB on Search and Application Marketing campaigns. EAB developed a Search strategy to build sophomore, junior, and senior inquiries. The university received immediate results from the Senior Search campaign, and by building the sophomore and junior student inquiries they established consistent, high-quality enrollment gains that would prepare them for the future. EAB focused on targeting middle- to upper-academic-quality students to increase their likelihood of yielding. EAB then executed an Application Marketing campaign for the university’s complete inquiry pool to ensure each student was being marketed to.

Impact: In partnership with EAB, the university achieved consistent and reliable inquiry growth that led to a 240% increase in fall freshmen enrollment over the five-year partnership. These inquiries directly contributed to their increased academic quality.

Institution: Private, Benedictine, liberal arts university in the Pacific Northwest with 1,500 undergraduate students

Challenge: After years of inconsistent results, this private university was in search of a partner that could deliver and drive systematic enrollment growth.

Solution: The university partnered with EAB on Enrollment Services in 2016. Despite seeing a 66% increase in enrollment after two years of partnership, the university decided to take the work in-house because of budget constraints. Unfortunately, in 2018, the university experienced an 18% decrease in fall freshman enrollment. During the decline in 2018, the university signed back on with Search, Application Marketing, and Financial Aid Optimization. The Search strategy was not designed to expand their footprint but rather to gain larger market share in the university’s local market. Financial aid policy leveraged aid to maximize the growth in admits, creating a significant growth in overall net tuition revenue.

Impact: EAB found that although the markets further afield were attractive to the partner, they were not strategic for the university. The university experienced a 46% increase in students from the local market–44 students they had missed without the partnership.

139%

Increase in fall freshmen enrollment from 2014 to 2019

46%

Increase in local market enrollment from 2017 to 2019

10%

Increase in net tuition revenue from 2017 to 2019

Institution: Private, Presbyterian university in the mid-Atlantic with 1,200 undergraduate students

Challenge: Although this university was a long-standing EAB partner who had seen success in the past, in 2016, the vice president of enrollment sought to reduce spend by bringing their recruitment marketing in-house. Unfortunately, this decision resulted in a 60% decline in submitted applications from the previous year—a loss that almost forced the university to close its doors.

Solution: After experiencing such a devastating decline in applications and enrollments, the university decided to re-partner with EAB in 2018 for Application Marketing and Search campaigns. In order to ensure a full entering class, and given the magnitude of the application deficit, this historically all-women’s university agreed to expand their Search campaigns to include male students.

Impact: As a result of re-partnering with EAB, the university saw a 248% increase in applications and a 275% increase in deposits from 2017 to 2018. They also secured a large enough return on investment to offset the operational and infrastructure costs associated with transitioning from an all-women’s to a coed institution.

Institution: Private, Catholic university in the Northeast with 2,000 undergraduate students

Challenge: In 2018, the university was coming off their smallest class in recent memory and had just purchased more than 100,000 senior names with another enrollment vendor. Unfortunately, they were experiencing disappointing results and needed to make a mid-cycle course correction.

Solution: In November of that year, the university decided to  reach out to EAB for additional support. Within two months, EAB was able to deploy a Search and Application Marketing campaign as well as a yield intelligence tool. Application Marketing was deployed both for the existing inquiry pool and some newly purchased names. Shortly after deploying their initial campaigns, the university turned their attention to building their future pipeline and decided to implement Sophomore and Junior Search as well. 

Senior Search

  • Utilized EAB’s targeting strategy to identify untapped opportunity in their backyard
  • Purchased 3,200 new senior names to supplement existing pool

Application Marketing

  • Marketed to existing inquiry pool and newly purchased names
  • Included 100k existing senior names purchased with previous vendor

Impact: In partnering with EAB, the university was not only able to convert some of their existing inquiry pool but also to target new students who converted at a much higher rate. Ultimately, they saw a 10% increase in deposits from 2018 to 2019 and are on track for continued growth in 2020.

Institution: Private university in the Southeast with 2,200 undergraduate students

Challenge: Despite partnering with another longtime enrollment vendor, this university did not meet their 2017 enrollment goals. In response to this disappointing performance, the university began looking for a new enrollment partner.  

Solution: The university turned to EAB to ensure that they would meet their 2018 enrollment goals. EAB implemented Search, Application Marketing, and Yield IQ to ensure they would recover from their 2017 declines. EAB’s recruitment strategies centered on identifying students with a strong affinity to the university and reaching them with campaign messages that would build an early and meaningful relationship. In addition to Search and Application Marketing, the university relied heavily on Yield IQ to inform their counselor’s workflow and direct their attention to the admits most likely to yield.

Impact: This strategy resulted in a 180% increase in submitted applications and a 34% increase in deposits in just one year.

180%

Increase in submitted applications from 2017 to 2018

105%

Increase in admits from 2017 to 2018

3.5 to 1

Increase in deposits from 2017 to 2018

Public Colleges and Universities

2020 Case Studies

While the 2020 enrollment cycle is not complete, we want to highlight the following partners who have experienced mid-cycle success despite the global pandemic.

Institution: Public research university in the West with more than 12,000 undergraduate students

Challenge: This longtime partner has worked with EAB for almost 10 years. After many successful enrollment cycles where they achieved both growth and class-shaping goals, they were presented with a new challenge when COVID-19 hit the United States. By early April, the school was tracking over 50% behind in enrollment compared to 2019.

Solution: To address this dramatic environmental change and help boost enrollment, the institution implemented an EAB Virtual Tour in order to give prospective students a sense of campus life while travel was suspended. The school then actively promoted their Virtual Tour through email marketing.

Impact: Although this institution is currently 10% down in enrollments compared to last year, they have made a dramatic recovery since the onset of the pandemic. Additionally, students who visited the Virtual Tour and received EAB Search or Application Marketing yielded at an exceptionally high rate and were of higher academic quality than non-EAB-influenced students.

47 pt

Increase in enrollments from
April to August 2020

13%

Higher yield rate for students
who inquired through the
Virtual Tour and received
EAB Marketing

Institution: Selective public university in the South with 24,000 undergraduate students

Challenge: This selective public university, located in the Southeast, was looking to grow enrollment and boost net tuition revenue. Because of their selectiveness, meeting enrollment goals was becoming a challenge.

Solution: In 2017, the university partnered with EAB to generate more student inquiries. EAB executed multichannel Search campaigns to students in every year of high school and developed testing strategies for different grade levels. EAB also assisted the university in developing strategic admission criteria to admit additional best-fit students. One year after the university partnered with EAB, a widely publicized campus tragedy occurred. The following year, a global pandemic hit. Throughout each crisis, EAB supported the university with high-touch consultative work and collaboration.

Impact: In partnership with EAB, this institution achieved consistent and reliable inquiry growth, doubling their number of Search responders in the first few years of partnership. This year, the university has experienced outstanding mid-cycle results, seeing both enrollment and net tuition revenue growth.

Institution: Public university in the West with 7,000 undergraduate students

Challenge: Faced with years of variable student enrollment, this university struggled to attract students to their beautiful, rural campus out West.

Solution: In 2019, the university decided to reach out to EAB for enrollment support. EAB built and deployed both Senior Search and Application Marketing campaigns. The Senior Search campaign identified untapped opportunity in their primary market using data-driven targeting, while the Application Marketing campaign revamped the university’s creative assets and messaging in order to build stronger student relationships. These campaigns drove a 30% increase in their admit pool. The university also assembled a robust ground team that was ready to hit the road come college fair season. Unfortunately, COVID-19 hit the United States, and their strategy had to change. With more students in their admit pool and because the university was prepared with personnel, their team quickly pivoted the staff’s time to ensure their admitted students would deposit. The university’s admission team personally called more than 10,500 applicants twice prior to the deposit deadline.

Impact: In partnership with EAB, this resilient university has achieved a 20% increase in deposits as of June 2020.

2019 Case Studies

Institution: Selective public university in the Midwest with 30,000 undergraduate students

Challenge: This public university, located in the competitive Midwest market, was looking to both grow enrollments and shape the quality and diversity of its student body.

Solution: The university partnered with EAB to generate high-quality inquiries. EAB developed a targeting strategy for fully saturating the university’s primary and secondary markets while strategically exploring high-potential out-of-state markets. EAB then executed multichannel Search campaigns to students in every year of high school, developing and testing strategies for different grade levels and high-ability minority students. Over this long-term partnership, EAB also tested various creative differentiation and digital-media strategies to maintain strong, consistent results.

Impact: In partnership with EAB, the university achieved consistent and reliable inquiry growth, quadrupling the number of Search responders over the 10-year partnership. These inquiries directly contributed to their class-shaping goals. In 2018 alone, EAB-influenced inquiries accounted for 40% of annual enrollment.

Institution: Selective public university in the Southeast with 25,000 undergraduate students

Challenge: Faced with a 32% decrease in state appropriations per student post-recession, this university partnered with EAB to improve its student Search targeting and outreach.

Solution: EAB implemented multichannel marketing and fulfillment campaigns targeting students in every year of high school. In partnership, EAB and the university strategically explored out-of-state markets with a high potential to yield strong inquiries that would ultimately enroll, while cutting back in unproductive markets at the same time.

Impact: With a strategic focus on cultivating out-of-state markets, the university grew enrollment and net tuition revenue. Notable achievements over the eight-year partnership include application volume increasing 59% since 2009 and freshman enrollment growing by 2,100 students. Additionally, EAB-influenced enrollments in 2017 had a 17% higher average SAT scores than those recruited by other means and a 12% higher average GPA.

92% of out-of-state enrollments in the last three years were recruited via EAB Search.

Institution: Regional public university in the Northeast with 2,000 undergraduate students

Challenge: This public university, located in the competitive Northeast market, was looking to both grow enrollment, especially through its own backyard. The university first partnered with EAB in September of 2015 to generate high-quality inquiries but decided to part ways after a year due to budget challenges and state contract constraints. Unfortunately, two years out of the partnership, the university’s fall freshman enrollment dropped by 27%.

Solution: After experiencing a significant decline in enrollments, the university reengaged with EAB in September of 2018. By November, EAB had built and deployed both Application Marketing and Search campaigns that were centered around fully saturating the university’s primary market. EAB then deployed Yield IQ to inform its counselors’ workflow and direct scarce counselor resources to the admits most likely to yield.

Impact: Utilizing a tailored targeting approach, the university achieved enrollment gains in both years of partnership with EAB. The university saw a 21% increase in enrollment in 2016 and a 38% increase in enrollment in 2019. 2019 was the largest year-to-year increase of first-year students in more than 20 years for the university.

17%

Increase in submitted applications from 2018 to 2019

38%

Increase in enrollment from 2018 to 2019

31%

Increase in in-state enrollment from 2018 to 2019

Institution: Regional public university in the Southeast with 5,500 undergraduate students

Challenge: This midsize university, located in a very rural area of the country, had been facing application and enrollment declines for several years. Despite seeing a slight uptick in applications early in the 2017 cycle, they knew they would need to change course to meet their ambitious enrollment goals.

Solution: By December of 2017, the university decided to reach out to EAB for some mid-cycle support. EAB was able to quickly prepare a late-launch campaign strategy, and by February of 2018 launched both Senior Search and Application Marketing campaigns. EAB’s Senior Search campaign identified missed opportunity in their primary market by using data-driven targeting, while the Application Marketing campaign revamped the university’s creative and messaging in order to build stronger student relationships.

EAB’s Additional Late-Launch Strategies

Developed and hosted a freshman web application

Developed and hosted a transfer web application

earn

Application fee was waived after initial launch

Impact: Since the first launch in 2017, the university has experienced increased applications and enrollments each year of the partnership. The university’s success also can be attributed to their customer service and staff, who are passionate about students.

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