Editor’s note: Andrew outlines the key features and advantages of CRM for higher education institutions and provides an overview of the top three purpose-built CRMs. If you are looking for a modern system to transform your student management processes, do not hesitate to contact ScienceSoft and employ our experts’ CRM consulting services.
Higher education CRMs provide a smart way to manage relationships with future and current students, alumni, donors, and partners by collecting, storing, and analyzing their data in a unified way. Colleges and universities leverage these systems to enhance student experience, streamline and monitor administrative efforts and processes, develop meaningful relationships with intending students and alumni, and improve fundraising.
CRM features to consider for higher education
- Data management. A CRM system centralizes and arranges student, alumni, donor, and partner data and communication history in a single database – this turns data management into a transparent and highly organized process, eliminating data silos.
- Marketing campaigns. A CRM helps create targeted omnichannel marketing campaigns that can be automated, personalized for specific audiences, and scheduled for specific stages of an institution’s lifecycle to improve the outreach and minimize marketing efforts.
- Tuition payment monitoring. A CRM can be integrated with accounting software for seamless tuition payment data exchange. By using relevant tuition payment information (e.g., upcoming payment deadlines, scholarships, student loan management details), a CRM can send scheduled and ad hoc personalized reminders to encourage timely payments and ensure careful budgeting among students.
- Reporting. A CRM can generate various types of reports on admission and enrollment efficiency, marketing performance, alumni engagement, fundraising productivity, etc. to support informed decision-making.
- Security. To protect the sensitive business and personal data contained in a CRM, robust solutions for higher education have in-built security features such as data encryption, multi-factor authentication, permission-based access control, compliance with region- and domain-specific security regulations, and more.
- Integrations with an institution’s website, email system, social media channels, accounting and invoicing software, LMS, etc. provide additional opportunities to boost employee productivity, automate student management workflows, and consolidate data across departments.
Why do you need a specialized CRM for higher education?
- Optimized admission. Specialized CRMs provide means to optimize admission and enrollment by automating applicant registration, applicant data and document processing, interview scheduling, applicants’ progress monitoring, etc. to better serve intending students’ needs and encourage maximum enrollment.
- Enhanced student engagement. With CRM software, HEIs can smoothly plan, manage, and keep students updated on extracurricular activities and campus events to help build a strong community and promote student engagement.
- Streamlined workflows. By automating such routine tasks as processing student documents or sending template-based emails or notifications, CRMs enable administrative workers to effectively manage their time and focus on priority tasks that need a personal touch.
- Personalized student experience. Having a CRM-powered 360-degree view of every student, HEIs can shape personalized interactions with students to build their trust and help them reach their full potential.
- Student portal. A CRM solution for higher education can contain a self-service portal where students can access their personal info (courses, scholarships, tuition payment status), submit documents, and manage appointments with tutors and counselors.
- Fundraising opportunities. Keeping the alumni and donor data centralized and regularly updated, CRMs allow HEIs to follow their alumni’s careers and donors’ activities and make targeted donation requests to achieve better fundraising results.
Top 3 CRMs for higher education
Microsoft Dynamics 365 & Education Accelerator for Higher Education
Best for: HIEs looking for a multi-purpose solution to manage the entire higher education process.
- Student info hub to centralize student data (e.g., contact details and personal information) and academic records, including areas of study, courses, test scores, etc.
- Student portal for students to manage and keep track of their courses, academic achievements, grants, and scholarships, make appointments with their advisors, etc.
- Individual progress tracking with a success path to see where a student stands on the way to graduation or degree completion with the key metrics displayed.
- Tele-advising option for students to schedule in-person or online meetings with advisors.
- Event management to automate event invitations and registration, keep track of attendance, and produce event success reports.
- Case management to handle students’ financial, academic, discipline, etc. issues by creating a case and assigning it to a specific specialist or department.
- Business partner management to collect the data on grants, scholarships, and internships offered by business partners and match the provided opportunities with students’ current status and skills.
- Advisor assistance via advisor dashboards to review student progress analytics, identify students in need of extra assistance, and manage appointments with students.
- Institution-wide analytics to get a holistic look at students, courses, demographics, and other key metrics.
Best for: higher education institutions looking for a dynamic end-to-end CRM solution.
- Student information system that supports traditional and non-traditional academic programs and provides insights into student progress and career planning to efficiently manage faculty time and resources based on academic program needs.
- Student profiles for advisors to manage student relationships, anticipate risks using predictive analytics, and develop intervention strategies.
- Appointment management via the Staff Calendar to schedule student-advisor appointments based on advisor availability and keep track of student interactions.
- Event management to plan, organize, and hold all kinds of activities from student recruitment to guest lectures via the Event Calendar by arranging online registration, checking student attendance, etc.
- Travel management to arrange trip activities for staff members and volunteers willing to hold field workshops and attend external events to promote the institution.
- Intelligent chatbots with in-built responses and services available 24/7 to provide basic assistance to students.
- Reports and analytics to gain data-powered insights into student learning trajectories, course success, staff performance, etc. with flexible dashboards and visualization.
- Additional modules include Anthology Apply for smooth recruitment and admission, Anthology Raise for donation tracking and processing, and Anthology Succeed for student performance evaluation.
Best for: colleges and universities that need an all-in-one purpose-built CRM solution.
- Multichannel outreach via text messaging, emails, voice, and social media with the possibility to build specialized web portals based on ready-made templates.
- Application review streamlined at all stages with documentation management, data import, evaluation automation, and applicant status portals.
- Event management to schedule and manage events and meetings within and outside the campus, invite and register attendees with the help of customizable templates and post-meeting report forms.
- Marketing automation to create campaigns targeting specific groups of intending students and donors and automatically send messages when pre-defined criteria are met.
- Donor management based on individual records (by type, level of engagement, giving history) segmented for targeted communications.
- Real-time reporting with powerful data visualization tools and geography-based growth planning.
From application to graduation: have it all covered with a tailored CRM
Attract more prospective students, optimize admissions and training, improve student retention, and keep in touch with the alumni — all with a single tailored CRM. Need expert help choosing or customizing the most efficient solution for your case? Don’t hesitate to request assistance of ScienceSoft’s CRM consultants and software engineers.
A CRM consulting vendor with 15 years of experience, we will help you choose and implement a CRM that suits your business best.