In most cases, the return-on-investment of a certain technology product a university uses is quantifiable. This is especially true for tech used in the student recruitment and admissions process. The formula is simple:
ROI = (average tuition fee x number of new students) - cash invested in tech
For example, say that you invest £30,000 in a new tech product which actively results in 15 additional applicants. If your average tuition fee is £20,000 per year, your ROI can be calculated as follows:
ROI = (15 x £20,000) - £30,000.
In this example, the ROI works out as £270,000.
Before investing in technology, it’s crucial to first understand what the strengths and weaknesses of your current processes are. This will allow you to define the areas in which technology can support you.
The role of technology in higher education typically applies to one of the following three areas. Here are some ways to ensure you optimise ROI on each.
To convert more leads into qualified applicants
To measure the rate of leads converting to qualified applicants you’ll need two sets of data: the number of your leads and the number of your submitted applications during an intake. The latter is generally a lot easier to acquire.
The bridge between leads and converted applications is the level of visibility you have in the process. As an example, if you identify Rob Parker as your ideal candidate, the technology you’ve invested in must be able to give you enough visibility for you to say:
“Rob Parker is 80% through his application, but he hasn’t updated for the last two weeks. What can we do to make sure he completes the application and doesn’t abandon it?"
To simplify administration processes
If your goal is to simplify your day-to-day administrative work, the invested technology must minimise the amount of manual input and help your team optimise productivity. For recruitment and admission teams, this might mean streamlining your applicant qualification process.
This objective is quantifiable by the amount of time saved. But first, you must identify the areas which can be automated. These typically include communication of admission errors, internal communications, support enquiries and individual follow-ups concerning application prerequisites.
A streamlined qualification process with high-quality UX and automated rules will free you up from such mind-numbing tasks so you can spend more of your time on things that cannot be automated, such as interviews, academic evaluations and one-to-one conversations.
To deliver a better experience to applicants, students and alumni
This is quite possibly the most important and, unsurprisingly, the primary objective of most universities. No matter how good your technology or strategic workflows are, they mean nothing if your students and applicants aren’t engaged.
For an application system, make sure the UX of your technology is intuitive and easy to use. This is often an area where in-house systems fall behind. This is quantifiable by your application abandonment rate as well as the number of daily support queries you get. Minimising these will support both of the formerly mentioned objectives.