Higher Education Consultants

2009 Cost of Recruiting Report

Comparative benchmarks for two-year and four-year institutions on the cost of student recruitment

The 2009 Cost of Recruiting Report is based on a Web-based poll of accredited postsecondary institutions across the U.S. to compare their spending on undergraduate student recruitment.In November of 2009, Noel-Levitz conducted a Web-based poll of accredited postsecondary institutions across the U.S. to compare their spending on undergraduate student recruitment. To provide context, the 2009 costs were then compared to the findings of previous Noel-Levitz polls conducted in fall 2007 and fall 2005.

Among the highlights:

  • The cost of recruiting a single student edged upward for four-year public, four-year private, and two-year public institutions compared with two years earlier. 
  • Private colleges and universities spent the most to bring in new undergraduates in 2009 at $2,143 per new student (median costs). They also used the most staff, with a ratio of one FTE staff member for every 35 new students at the median.
  • Four-year and two-year public institutions spent much less than private colleges at $461 per new student and $263 per new student, respectively (median costs), while using far fewer staff in relation to the number of new students who enrolled.
  • Analyses of four-year institutions by enrollment size, region, and staff size showed those with smaller enrollments spent more, Southern private colleges spent less, and private colleges in the East and public universities in the South used fewer outreach staff in relation to the number of new students who enrolled. 

This report is part of the Higher Education Benchmarks report series.

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