Student Enrollment

6 ways to reduce cost per enrollment through a data-driven approach

Marketing has always been the number one way to increase brand awareness. However, every aspect of marketing - from creating campaigns to selling products - has an associated cost, including targeting students. Institutions need to analyze this cost to understand if they are profiting or not. Using a data-driven approach can help decrease overheads and improve lead quality over time. Find out how in this blog.

Most universities are looking for ways to reduce their cost per enrollment. A data-driven approach can be a great way to identify opportunities and make changes that will have a real impact. By tracking data about students and their interactions with the university, it’s easy to identify areas where money can be saved without compromising the quality of leads.

With the right tools in place, one can make decisions based on accurate data rather than intuition or guesswork. Reducing cost per enrollment is within reach; all that’s needed is the right approach.

What is Cost Per Enrollment?

historical-college-enrollment-Hanson, Melanie.

“College Enrollment & Student Demographic Statistics”, November 22, 2021.

It's challenging to ascertain exactly how much should be spent on email campaigns, social media presence, webinars, and ads. However, using CPE, it becomes easier to calculate the total cost.

CPE, or Cost Per Enrollment, is the total amount spent on getting one student into the classroom. This includes every penny spent on enrolling the student - right from how much was invested in reaching out to them and keeping them engaged, to the funding options and discounts provided to them. It's important to understand how much investment each student acquisition costs on average and use that knowledge to eke out the cheapest and most effective strategies. A data-driven approach can help institutions achieve this objective successfully.

How to use a data-driven approach to reduce CPE?

Rich lead generation is the key to sustainable growth. The first step is to establish a strategy while using some of the following tips to build revenue in the most effective ways possible.

1. Create targeted marketing campaigns

The best way to increase sales is by understanding the target audience.

  • To do so, institutions can use student data to assess what type of marketing converts maximum leads. Learn about the students’ needs and use that to engage them with the brand.
  • Another crucial aspect of campaign marketing is to understand the ideal price point. Create ideal price points that benefit the students but don’t put the institution at a loss.
  • Expand on strategies by analyzing Google and social media trends that can drive more engagement at minimal costs. Note that it's important to stay on top of the game because trends die down fast.

2. Use AI-powered tools

Combining a data-driven approach with AI technology can be the most cost-effective method for reducing CPE and increasing sales. The best example of this is AI chatbots. These chatbots are trained to understand students’ queries and are designed to answer thousands of questions in real-time and nurture applicants by guiding them in the right direction.

Additionally, COVID-19 has pushed most operations online, creating a communication gap and resulting in loss of time, effort, and money. Using AI tools with a strong online presence can help increase productivity, and in turn, boost sales.


Relationship building can increase students' loyalty and bring in more leads.

3. Offer a personalized experience

Universities holding personalized interactions are more likely to enroll prospective students. After spending tons of money on converting leads, it would be discouraging to lose a prospective student owing to a neutral follow-up strategy. This is also an excellent opportunity to understand students’ needs and assess which interactions can be improved upon, and how.

Platforms like HubSpot CRM, MailChimp, and Typeform can be used to assess the result of student interaction at every touchpoint, gauge where the maximum number of leads are dropping off, and use this knowledge to ensure enrollment growth.

4. Always compare numbers

One significant advantage of using a data-driven approach is that institutions can compare their current marketing performance with the previous month/years. This data analytics solution can evaluate the performance of each campaign and help institutions better understand what students prefer.

Hence, collecting data on how many new leads each campaign brought in is important, as the more accurate the numbers are, the more accurate the results will be. This way, institutions can engage and retain active students through AI and expert human support, thus increasing graduation rates and revenue.

5. Visit different institutions

With COVID-19 protocols in place, visiting schools would be much more effective than holding webinars, seminars, and workshops. As helpful as these online interactions are, they cannot replace the trust that comes with meeting institution representatives one on one.

Participating in open houses, fairs, and information sessions not only builds trust in students but also fosters partnerships with other educational institutions, promoting the institution’s brand.

Capturing prospective students' attention at this point is crucial because they will face an increasing number of distractions each day. Through a data-driven approach, institutions can gather students’ details from their schools and find the right audience basis student behavior and learning patterns, thereby generating more high-quality leads.


iSchoolConnects in-country representatives can visit schools on your behalf.

6. Build student-friendly tools

If there is one thing students are good at and engage well with, it's technology. Since they can effectively navigate through interactive teaching tools, building apps, and platforms that support learning and education, it will bring them one step closer to trusting the brand.

It's important to build something that is inclusive of everyone and allows students to learn despite any setbacks. For example, students with disabilities should be able to access these tools and apps without facing problems. This will not only help institutions better educate students and build their future but also put the brand in a position of respect and admiration.

What next?

To reduce cost per enrollment, institutions need to keep an account of the exact amount spent in enrolling one student. The more accurate the data is, the more accurate the results will be, which will help universities create better and more cost-effective strategies.

It's also important to have a flexible approach so that if one strategy doesn’t work out as planned, universities can change direction to see what else might work instead. For example, if a social media campaign isn’t generating good quality leads, marketers can switch gears and focus on email marketing or SEO.

To learn more about how to effectively implement a data-driven approach, get in touch with us using the link below!


Samantha Andrade

Content Specialist

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