Higher Education Consultants

2011 Cost of Recruiting an Undergraduate Student Report

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

The 2011 Cost of Recruiting an Undergraduate Student Report provides valuable new benchmarks for enrollment managers and directors of admissionsIn October of 2011, Noel-Levitz conducted a Web-based poll of accredited postsecondary institutions across the U.S. to compare their spending on undergraduate student recruitment and admissions. To provide context, the 2009 costs were then compared to the findings of previous Noel-Levitz polls conducted in fall 2009, fall 2007, and fall 2005. Included in this year’s report are simple instructions for comparing your own institution's recruiting budget and staffing levels to the benchmarks.

Among the highlights:

  • The median cost to recruit a single undergraduate student held steady for four-year public and private colleges and universities compared to 2009 and has held remarkably steady for these institutions since 2005;
  • Private colleges and universities continued to spend the most to bring in new undergraduates in 2010-2011, spending $2,185 per new student at the median. They also continued to use the most staff per new student, with a ratio of one FTE staff member for every 33 new students at the median;
  • NEW in this year’s study: Only 40 percent of respondents reported that they kept their budgets for recruitment and admissions at the same level, give or take 2 percent, from 2009-2010 to 2010-2011 and again from 2010-2011 to 2011-2012.

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

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