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Improving retention and graduation rates with CRM software

A University Business Web Seminar Digest Originally presented February 17, 2011
University Business, Feb 2011
Vineet Singla, Senior product manager for CRM; Campus Management Corp and Manuel Lujan, Vice president of enrollment; Texas A&M University - Kingsville

The cost to enroll a student is averaging approximately $6,000 and this cost doubles with the replacement of every student lost. Due to the recent financial climate, most states are facing financial cutbacks, making student retention paramount. Top reasons for attrition include school preparedness, financial support, academic progress, dissatisfaction with support services, and social readiness. So how can we keep students on track for graduation?

Talisma CRM

A comprehensive solution from prospect to advancement Talisma predicts and reports student behavior to faculty members and administrators, and engages students with on-target messaging and personalized communication. The platform also allows the institution to achieve measurable results in the form of higher graduation rates, enduring constituent relationships, and reduced operational costs.

It's important to be able to identify at-risk students before retention issues arise. As an example, say you created a student named Joe, using data you administered online as part of your orientation/registration. One of the key properties of using Talisma CRM data is receiving a retention predictor for student drop-out prospects rated from 1 to 9. Joe has a score of 4; this score is satisfactory but shows he could be at risk.

The second area you can flag is general coping. A third is receptivity to student support services. CRM also provides recommended strategies for each student based on their specific results. Now you've got a tremendous management tool.

Let's talk about leveraging data from admissions, in this case, from pre-enrollment to enrollment. We need to know which prospects are real. When ranking a candidate's college choice - are we first, second, third, or fourth? This is a significant predictor for which students you're going to retain. You can also capture information on candidate concerns. Cost, safety and security, distance from home, and financial difficulties are all things that remain constants after a student enrolls. To keep the student engaged, the institution can capture a candidate's area of interests; thus reducing his or her probability of becoming a retention issue.

When communicating with students, the messages can be made to target specific needs and these messages and responses become part of the student's transcript. A student having difficulty deciding what major to study might be directed to an academic advisor while a student who is having difficulty making friends might receive information on clubs and activities.

You can also design "Early Alerts" with CRM. Let's go back to the example of Joe. Two of his faculty members have reported problems. An early alert is designed for faculty to report at-risk behavior - it could be one or more missed classes early in the semester, little or no engagement in class, or disruptive behavior. An alert status can display whether it's open, resolved or closed as well as what the institution is doing.

Let's say Joe has a 2.5 grade point average. Normally, this wouldn't be a cause for concern, but he's enrolled in 15 classes and completed only six. He's not making satisfactory academic progress. The institution can capture data on satisfactory academic progress (SAP) and place freshmen on warning if they don't meet a minimum grade point average in their first semester. On the financial side, he's also on probation but his academic advisor might not be aware. Talisma CRM also helps keep students on track financially.

According to Noel Levitz, 33% of institutions have established a retention plan that works. With the implementation of CRM products like Talisma, faculty, advisors, and administrators can obtain a 360-degree view of their students and help to keep them on track for graduation.

To view this Web seminar in its entirety, please go to For more information about Talisma, please visit

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