What Can Universities Do to Re-Enroll Students?
Even before the pandemic, a significant number of students were dropping out of college every year. A 2019 report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found that 36 million Americans have college credits but no degree, translating to countless lost revenue for higher education.
Re-enrolling students who have dropped out is key to securing the future of higher education. To help, one educational technology firm, ReUp Education, is using AI in a particularly resourceful way.
ReUp Education applies a combination of predictive analytics and machine learning to find — and communicate with — stopped-out students (those who take a break from college with the intention of resuming their studies later) who have a higher likelihood of returning to campus. During the spring 2019 semester, the firm’s AI platform helped 30 universities re-enroll more than 8,000 students and regain approximately $25 million in tuition.
Connecting Incoming Students with Advanced Chatbots
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic required the use of emergency communication solutions, universities were adopting AI-powered chatbots for a variety of tasks. One of them is to streamline the complex process of enrolling incoming students.
Chatbots are simple to deploy and update, and they are familiar to college-age users. Approximately 40 percent of millennials already interact with various chatbots on a daily basis. More advanced, conversational AI chatbots have the potential to bring dramatic results in enrollment numbers and related cost savings.
At the University of Oklahoma, the SoonerBot, launched in May 2018, has been given major credit for securing the largest freshman class in the school’s history in 2019. Similarly, Georgia State University saw solid results in reducing “summer melt” by 22 percent within the first semester of implementing an AI-powered chatbot. That number has since grown to more than 30 percent, which has led to hundreds more students enrolling each year at GSU.
Predictive Analytics Refine Student Support That Boosts Retention
The use of AI tools in the recruitment process has resulted in enrollment and retention going up and costs going down. Harnessing the power of predictive analytics to impact the recruitment process and the retention of current students has led to a dramatic increase in class size at Taylor University.
The college implemented Salesforce Einstein for data visualization and then turned to an in-house predictive modeling tool. In the past six years, this approach has resulted in two of the college’s largest freshman cohorts ever, says Vice President for Enrollment Management Nathan Baker.
“While every recruitment year is unique, predictive analytics have helped us improve our business processes, making us more efficient with our recruiting expenses and personnel time,” he says.