College Automates Enrollment and Outreach to Improve Recruitment and Graduation Rates

Mesa Community College (MCC) is committed to helping students succeed. Connecting with as many “at-risk” students as possible, and providing assistance from enrollment throughout their college experience, rate among the administration’s highest priorities.

*We can achieve higher matriculation rates by closing the gaps in our enrollment procedures, identifying more prospective students in the pipeline and securing more registrations, which leads to greater student retention.*

Dr. Sonya Pearson
Vice President of Student Affairs
Mesa Community College

“We want to make sure high school students who are unsure about whether or not they are college material become aware of our many programs and resources,” says Dr. Sonya Pearson, Vice President of Student Affairs, for MCC. “We then want to give them the assistance they need to apply, earn acceptance, and eventually matriculate—we don’t want anyone dropping out because they did not receive the necessary information or assistance.”

In the past, MCC’s efforts at outreach and support were hampered by its reliance on manual, paper-driven processes to identify, admit, track, and manage 10,000+ new students each year as the students transitioned from high school to college. The systems in place to process enrollment were labor-intensive and costly, and processing times were often too slow. The college also could not generate the detailed reports it needed to truly monitor student progression and identify inflection points that represented risks to students’ academic success.

The college collected information through multiple databases, and each database interacted with students in a different way. “Without an automated system, we could not manage student data systematically,” says Sasan Poureetezadi, Vice President of Information Technology. “We wanted to unify the way we connect with our students.”

The Need to Streamline the Application Process for Students

MCC researched solutions to address these challenges, focusing on systems that could unite the various student databases, process applications quickly and accurately, and help identify students at risk of not attending college. MCC also sought to reduce administrative costs by automating paper-driven workflows and offering web-based, self-service enrollment, so students could apply easily—from anywhere, on any device.

MCC considered several customer relationship management (CRM) solutions before selecting Microsoft Dynamics CRM. “We were impressed with the results that one of our sister colleges had generated by deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM,” recalls Pearson. “The solution gives us tracking flexibility and scales with the expected trajectory of our activity.”

The partner-hosted deployment option enabled MCC to deploy the solution quickly and further reduced the costs of ownership by eliminating hardware and support expenses.

Single System Unifies Student Communication

MCC now has a single system into which all student data flows, and a unified response mechanism for reaching out to the students. The college has also created a systematic process for working with the data, which makes it much easier to manage student progress. “We can identify exactly how well we track the leads generated by each of our outreach efforts,” Pearson adds. “We can thus work collectively across all departments that interact with students.”

The college can also automatically qualify leads and measure the effectiveness of student communications. Integration between Microsoft Dynamics CRM and the student information system allows MCC to track students from the first point of contact until graduation, while also providing metrics on important statistics like overall enrollment and retention rates.

“We now have a sustainable model for better decision-making on how to use our resources to connect with students,” Pearson says. “We can then quickly fill any communication gaps we identify.”

Providing Students with Information and Resources to Achieve Success

Students can now complete the forms MCC uses to collect student inquiries on the web, and data flows directly into Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, MCC is achieving its primary objectives for establishing a process for recruiting “at-risk” students and helping them achieve their dreams of a college education. With digitized processes that automatically help identify who to contact and when, the college can now reach more people more quickly than ever before. “With our ability to more effectively manage and track data, we are now connecting with more students to make sure they have the information and the resources they need to achieve success,” says Poureetezadi.

Next Steps

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.

Document published December 2013

Customer Size: Large Organization
Industry: Higher Education
Country or Region: United States
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011
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