I thought I would share some thoughts on the 2022 Cost of Recruiting an Undergraduate Student Report published by Ruffalo Noel Levitz recently. This US-based firm is considered a thought leader in student recruitment, albeit with a US bias. That said, wherever you are based, it’s worth a read.

My Top-Level Observations:

  • In the last two years the cost of recruiting an undergraduate student has increased 32% to $2,795 USD for private institutions and 5% to $494 USD for public institutions.
  • Over 75% of institutions reporting have seen their budgets increase by more than 2%.
  • Digital advertising and digital lead generation is 12% and 7% respectively of the overall recruitment budget for privates, and 7% and 2% for publics.
  • Looking at the next 2 years, 56% of private institutions see events as growing the most, followed by travel, student search and digital advertising. 67% of public institutions see travel growing the most, followed by events, prospect communications and transfer student recruiting.
  • Top areas of decreaseCRM and Chat for privates (odd?) and for publics, international recruiting (also odd?) followed by traditional advertising (not so odd!).
  • And the 5 strategic recommendations are interesting. We’re especially curious about the AI reference to increase efficiency and ROI. We will be looking at AI opportunities through an AI beta project with our clients. And we like the message about reviewing your recruitment efforts across the funnel — we still see colleges and universities sending random messages (or no message at all).

5 Strategic Recommendations

  1. Increase efficiency and ROI if your costs or staff levels are at higher levels — Can you use automation and artificial intelligence to scale your ability to engage students?

  2. Make sure you are not underfunded or understaffed — If you are struggling to meet enrolment goals and are well below the median in costs or staffing, you may need to invest more resources to compete effectively and manage your recruitment efforts.

  3. Look at your marketing and recruitment efforts across the funnel — Make sure you’re examining your strategies and engagement at every stage so you can optimize your marketing and recruitment throughout the student enrolment journey.

  4. Align your budgeting with today’s digital environment — The participants in this poll prioritized web, SEO, and digital advertising, which is where campuses should prioritize their efforts.

  5. Look for opportunities with transfer students and international enrolment — For transfer students, campuses should specifically focus on credit evaluation and scholarship practices. This population is wanting to understand time to graduation and overall costs when making their decisions.

You can download the Report here:

For more information on how we can help you reach your recruitment goals in 2022, let us know:


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