The Challenge

Most universities struggle to operate an efficient enrollment team. In part this is caused by geographic constraints to qualified advisors, but predominately it is due to the organizational makeup of the University environment. Universities like structure and process. When hiring advisors there are numerous hurdles and approvals needed just to start the process. Most hiring managers are restricted to a predetermined salary matrix that isn’t calibrated to attract the most experienced associates.

More detrimental than the hiring practice is termination. We have found the ability of an enrollment advisor is known within the first eight weeks on the job. However, since most universities build their human resource infrastructure around faculty, the termination process can be cumbersome for all positions. Failing to understand the true cost of holding on to a poor performing enrollment advisor means schools can’t manage the staffing needs of advisement effectively. On average, we find it takes universities six to nine months to terminate a poor performer costing the university over $500,000 in lost tuition.

The Mind Streams Advantage

At Mind Streams, we take a different approach. Because enrollment advising is our business, we can attract top talent by offering competitive compensation and a culture that encourages growth. Training time is reduced because of the experience our advisors come with as well as our focus on collaboration and knowledge sharing. Mind Streams focuses on results, not process. We support our advisors as they use their strengths to reach their goals. We can move underperforming advisors and have replacements almost immediately, meaning your enrollments don’t stop during transitions.

Consider the following simplified cost-benefit analysis:

The Cost of carrying a poor performer

A university employs a team of experienced enrollment counselors at a cost of $7,000 a month. Each counselor is given 150 leads for a master’s degree program that charges $30,000 in tuition. A successful advisor is able to convert these leads at 5%. On average the university has an 80% persistence rate. (There are other variables we use when doing a detailed analysis, but to keep it simple we will start by just looking at these.) The cost of having the enrollment advisor would be $7,000 a month for salary plus $15,000 a month for leads. In return the university is receiving 7.5 students generating $180,000 of lifetime revenue.

If we use the same cost structure above, but assume this advisor converts at 2% we find for the same $22,000 a month expense, the advisor only produces 3 students resulting in $72,000 of lifetime revenue. The cost per month to the university for holding onto this advisor becomes clear. $108,000 in lost tuition.

Successful vs Poor performing Advisor

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Mind Streams recommends conducting a detailed evaluation of your enrollment advising which should consist of:

  1. Benchmarking conversion rates
  2. Analyzing local candidate pools
  3. Measuring hiring and termination lengths
  4. Assessing the ROI of onboarding and training programs
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