Edward Waters University Accelerates Digital Transformation through New Partnership with Ellucian

Florida’s first HBCU to modernize technology operations and improve processes with Ellucian’s Colleague SaaS

RESTON, VA and JACKSONVILLE, FL — Ellucian, the leading higher education technology solutions provider, today announced that Edward Waters University has selected Ellucian Colleague SaaS to modernize its technology operations. A longtime Ellucian customer and one of the nation’s 101 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), Edward Waters University joins more than 1,100 institutions worldwide in the cloud with Ellucian.

Edward Waters University will leverage Ellucian Colleague SaaS, a comprehensive and cloud-based ERP, to optimize processes, empower faculty and staff with greater access to data, and support student success with a better user experience. With the institution’s highest overall enrollment in nearly twenty years, automated processes will provide greater efficiency to support Edward Waters University’s continued growth.

“We are excited about continuing our relationship with the Ellucian family and providing the Colleague SaaS program to our campus community. The services offered will allow us to implement best practices, enhance overall productivity, and increase institutional efficiencies. Edward Waters University continues to seek creative ways to meet the needs of today’s students, instructors, and professionals and systems such as Colleague SaaS will support us in our efforts to evolve how we perform and excel,” said Dr. A. Zachary Faison, Jr., President and CEO.

“With Colleague SaaS, Edward Waters University will accelerate its digital transformation, freeing up internal resources to focus on initiatives that help students reach their full potential,” said Laura Ipsen, President and CEO, Ellucian. “Ellucian’s cloud-based solutions will integrate data across systems for informed decision-making and ensure a better user experience for students, faculty and staff. We’re pleased to support university leaders as they emerge as a model for others, championing academic excellence with modern technology platforms.”

For more information on Ellucian Colleague, visit: https://www.ellucian.com/solutions/ellucian-colleague.

About Edward Waters University

Edward Waters University (EWU), accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and member of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), is a private, historically black, urban college which offers a liberal arts education with a strong emphasis on the Christian principles of high moral and spiritual values. EWU was established in 1866 and is an African Methodist Episcopal Church-related institution of learning. It is the first private institution of higher education in the State of Florida.

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University of Saint Francis Selects Ellucian to Accelerate Technology Transformation

SaaS Solutions and Managed Services Support Enrollment Growth, Retention and Student Experience

FORT WAYNE, IN and RESTON, VA — Ellucian, the leading higher education technology solutions provider, today announced that The University of Saint Francis (USF) has selected Ellucian Colleague SaaS to modernize its technology operations. Part of the HESS Consortium and a new Ellucian customer, USF joins more than 1,100 institutions worldwide in the cloud with Ellucian.

The University of Saint Francis will combine Ellucian Colleague SaaS, a comprehensive, modern, and cloud-based ERP, with a managed services partnership to support the institution’s strategic goals of enrollment growth, better retention efforts and overall student and staff satisfaction. Colleague facilitates efficient, integrated processes for better management of all departments on campus. Ellucian will provide full technology management services to USF in the form of on-site, end-to-end IT services staff, including strategic direction and hands-on management. Ellucian subject matter experts will manage IT systems, allowing USF leaders to focus on strategic initiatives such as increasing enrollment and student success.

“Ellucian will provide state-of-the-art technological expertise from across the nation, as well as cost effective measures to enhance our capabilities to provide the very best to our students and the USF community,” said USF President Rev. Dr. Eric Albert Zimmer. “Ellucian serves only higher education institutions and includes many individuals with extensive higher education experience. They know and understand the challenges facing higher education today."

“Today’s institutions need a technology partner that has proven solutions built for the unique needs of higher education. We look forward to empowering The University of Saint Francis with purpose-built systems and services to achieve their growth and recruiting goals,” said Laura Ipsen, President and CEO, Ellucian. “Leveraging Colleague’s SaaS delivery model, USF administrators and staff will benefit from an easy-to-use solution for data and reporting, and students will have self-service access to information at their fingertips, improving the day-to-day experience for the entire community.”

The Higher Education Systems and Services Consortium (HESS) is a consortium of private colleges and universities focused on collectively lowering costs and increasing collaboration among members in the areas of administrative systems and services. Ellucian serves more than 130 HESS institutions. www.hessconsortium.org

For more information on Ellucian Colleague, visit: https://www.ellucian.com/solutions/ellucian-colleague.

About The University of Saint Francis

Founded in 1890 in the Catholic Franciscan tradition, the University of Saint Francis offers more than 60 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs through the College of Health Sciences, College of Arts, Sciences, and Business and College of Adult and Distance Education. In addition to its traditional programs, USF designs focused curricula for working adults in Fort Wayne, Crown Point and online. USF Downtown houses the university’s business and music technology programs while offering enhanced internship and networking opportunities for students. The University of Saint Francis campus experience includes 18 athletic programs boasting two individual and four team NAIA national championships and is recognized as an NAIA Five-Star Champion of Character institution. Approximately 2,200 students from a broad geographic region attend USF. For more information on the University of Saint Francis, visit sf.edu.

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COVID-19 disrupted the higher education sector.  Many colleagues in the sector were left thinking about how they would pivot and adapt to the new normal moving forward.  And since that moment of disruption, institutions took on the challenge before them, looking for solutions that would work now and in the future. Higher education recruiting trends beyond COVID-19 embrace technology. It’s clear that institutions need to pull together people, processes, and technology so they can see the bigger picture and reach their strategic goals.

5 higher education recruiting trends post-COVID-19

Higher education recruiting trends are about adaptation. When the world went virtual, institutions looked for solutions that allowed them to not only carry on, but to succeed.

1. Adapting to changing behaviors

The impact of COVID-19 has had (and is still having) a profound effect on institutions and students alike. Students’ expectations will undoubtedly change and so it is essential that institutions start thinking about how core processes and institutional practices may also need to change. In terms of students’ changing behaviors, here is an idea of what we may expect:

  • Change of focus and emotions about future studies
  • The decision to defer or not to defer
  • Reconsideration of study locations (more local vs. abroad vs. online)

As the landscape evolves, many institutions will undergo changes in the way they operate and interact with their students in light of these changing behaviors, and they may also start thinking about how technology can help to address their current and future challenges.

2. Nurturing communications and engagement

A highly competitive market (made more so especially as a result of COVID-19), and the uncertainty about students’ future plans, means that nurturing communications and engagement throughout the entire prospect-applicant-student lifecycle will be more important than ever. To drive a faster service to prospective and current students, there are some clear benefits to utilizing a student CRM system to support your institution’s strategy.

Firstly, keeping all relevant information in one place—as opposed to using multiple spreadsheets or a paper-based system—enables easier access to information, no matter where staff may be working from (on or off campus).

Secondly, you can reach your target students in a timely manner—through automation and workflows—and personalize your engagement by building multi-touch communication plans to nurture prospective students. This enables you to visualize every prospect touchpoint—whether this is via phone, email, or text—while tracking every interaction all in one place.

3. Readily available data

Data is key at every stage of the student lifecycle, from prospect to applicant to student and beyond. And when data isn’t accessible, problems emerge. Aside from agile communications, having data readily available will also be crucial during the student recruitment and admissions lifecycle. From application to graduation, U.S. students give colleges an incredible amount of their personal data, and they both want and expect schools to use that data in a way that optimizes their college experience and career.

Today’s college students grew up online, and tend to be much more comfortable than other generations with a public approach to sharing their personal information. There is a need for schools to leverage student information to provide a streamlined approach across the student lifecycle by enhancing academic services, financial processes, student life, and career processes.

4. A shift from standard student behavior modeling systems

As institutions are unlikely to have data to support the modeling of how students will behave this year, they will need the right tools to ensure they are agile enough to respond to the unknown behavioral changes and be as responsive as possible. It’s essential to closely monitor patterns of deferrals/withdrawals during these uncertain times and to understand how prospective students are responding and what their concerns are.

If your data is stored all in one place, live dashboard views from the CRM system will provide a big picture view of trends and in turn help institutions to prioritize their response and engagement with students.

5. Implementation of new technology and processes

Looking ahead, institutions will need to reconsider if their data, processes, and technology framework in place will support student attraction and recruitment capabilities and whether it will give them a competitive edge over other institutions. While the cost of switching can be great, the benefits that the right technology provider brings can’t be overlooked.  The right ecosystem of open and flexible technologies increases agility, efficiency, and impact. The result: deeper engagements, smarter insights, and better outcomes.

Looking to the future of higher education

Institutions across the globe have faced very similar challenges, addressing endless questions to adapt. Now, with an eye on the future, institutions can begin to build new processes, frameworks, and technology to support students and staff. They’ll need to ask questions like, will students prefer to be on campus or continue to take classes virtually? Will hyflex solutions (the ability to take class on campus, virtually, or a mix of both) rise in popularity? What challenges will this bring? Higher education trends post-COVID-19 lead the way for this new way of looking at the value institutions can bring to students and staff.

So, what can institutions do to be ready to meet these new and evolving needs and will COVID-19 actually help accelerate the adoption of technologies to promote new and more efficient ways of working?

Innovation and agility for staff and students

Innovation and agility will be key to ensure institutions are well-positioned to survive and thrive as the COVID-19 dust starts to settle. For instance, staff needs to be able to work in far more agile ways with more remote working. This will increasingly become the new norm and will be driven at a much faster pace than before.

With many campuses closed still and administrative teams having to work remotely, delivering a consistent and responsive experience for existing and prospective students has never been more important. Solutions delivered in the cloud as well as a more connected mobile experience will be key to driving this transition.

Business capabilities built for success

One area that is of particular interest to us at Ellucian is how institutions can ensure they have the business capabilities that will allow them to adapt and take on new challenges in the future. As the post-COVID-19 operational environment forces many institutions to re-evaluate their position, it has never been more important to identify and deliver business capabilities that support your institution and strategic goals in more agile ways. In my next blog, I’ll delve deeper into Ellucian’s digital transformation framework and how a capabilities approach—with a spotlight on recruitment and admissions—helps to underpin change.

Student recruitment and admissions: Looking beyond COVID-19
Iain Sloan
Iain Sloan
Solutions Consultant
Teaser Text

In the space of just three months, there has been a great deal of change in the higher education sector. Many colleagues in the sector will be thinking about how they will ‘pivot’ and adapt to the new normal, post-COVID-19.

Ellucian Experience Platform

Award-winning, Personalized Platform Simplifies Campus Life, Connects Users to Timely, Actionable Information via a Single Interface

July 15, 2021—RESTON, VA — Ellucian, the leading higher education technology solutions provider, today announced the expanded launch of Ellucian Experience, a SaaS-based, fully extensible user experience platform. Now available in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, Ellucian Experience simplifies everyday tasks and access to essential information through a single application framework and personalized dashboard for all higher education constituents.

“We are excited to bring Ellucian Experience to our global customer base, making it easier for students, staff and faculty to get their work done and focus on teaching and learning,” said Stephen Laster, Chief Product Officer, Ellucian. “Experience allows customers to leverage solutions into a role-based persona driven, seamless user experience. Early adopters are already seeing the benefits of the modern platform and are taking advantage of the ability to extend its capabilities to make it their own.”

Launched in April in the U.S., Canada, Latin America and Caribbean, and recently named the Higher Ed EdTech Deployment of the Year in the 2021 EdTech Breakthrough Awards, more than 160 institutions have selected Ellucian Experience making it the fastest growing new product in Ellucian history.  Early implementations include Owens Community College, Western Iowa Technical Community College, Lamar State College - Port Arthur, Life University, Barton Community College, Hannibal-LaGrange University and Massachusetts College of Art and Design, among others.

“Moving to Ellucian Experience supports our college’s strategic goals to help with student success and student completion, as well as to enhance the student experience. In line with our cloud strategy, because Experience is a SaaS platform, we don’t have extra servers to maintain, which frees up our internal staff to focus on other key initiatives,” said Jared Baber, CIO, Owens Community College. “And the software development kit with Experience has been a game changer for us as it enables us to create custom code to display content for students that we couldn’t easily do before.”

Ellucian Experience integrates both Ellucian and non-Ellucian higher ed solutions through a single user interface, reducing system login time by up to 75% (via single sign-on). The platform delivers instant access to content and real-time data with individual configurable “cards,”  allowing students to check classes, grades and schedules, connect with advisors, stay up to date on financial aid, and much more.

Featuring a fully branded environment, Ellucian Experience supports customization and personalized dashboards for everyone from the president to students. In addition, institutions can leverage the Ellucian Experience platform to make campus-wide announcements or targeted announcements based on user persona (e.g., faculty or staff). The value of Ellucian Experience will grow as more applications are added through the Experience software development kit (SDK) that Ellucian is providing to customers and partners.

For more information, visit: https://www.ellucian.com/solutions/ellucian-experience.


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Bimm Students

Ellucian Solutions to Improve User Experience, Support BIMM’s Expansion Goals

July 13, 2021 – RESTON, Va. and EAST SUSSEX, England– Ellucian, the leading higher education technology solutions provider, today announced that The BIMM Group, the largest specialist provider of creative arts education in the UK, has selected Ellucian to modernise its technology operations.  A new Ellucian customer, BIMM joins more than 1,100 institutions worldwide that are in the cloud with Ellucian.

BIMM will be using Ellucian Banner Student with Ellucian Managed Cloud, a student information system (SIS) to support registration, enrolment, grading, advising, and course planning. In addition, BIMM’s suite of Ellucian cloud-based solutions will include CRM Recruit, CRM Advise, Intelligent Learning Platform (ILP) and Ethos, to enable future growth and development in a connected environment. Implementing these solutions across BIMM’s colleges and future colleges will automate processes to improve efficiencies and ensure consistency with an improved experience for students and staff. BIMM’s technology modernisation will make it easier to incorporate new colleges in the future. Ellucian’s cloud-based solutions support institutional transformation, student engagement and success across all stages of the student lifecycle.

“Today the BIMM Group has 8 colleges across Europe, serving the music industry established through strategic acquisitions and new campus roll-outs.  As part of strategic diversification, BIMM has also moved into the broader creative arts education market with the acquisition of performing arts and film schools, consolidating BIMM as a hub for its three creative arts areas: Music, Performing Arts and Filmmaking,” said David Jones-Owen, Chief Operating Officer, The BIMM Group.  “With over 8,000 students and to continue to grow, the institution needed a scalable student record system, and we look forward to implementing the Banner product which will enhance our student experience and streamline business processes across multiple geographies and curriculum areas.”

“Leveraging our cloud solutions, BIMM’s unique model will realize the benefits of a modern technology ecosystem, including seamless integrations, resiliency and scalability. Efficiencies gained will span their growing footprint across Europe,” said Darren Hunt, Senior Vice President and Managing Director EMEA and APAC, Ellucian. “We welcome BIMM to the Ellucian customer community and look forward to helping them meet their strategic goals for improved business operations and expansion.”

About BIMM

BIMM provides university-level education courses in modern music, performing arts, and filmmaking to over 8,000 students across 12 colleges in the UK, Ireland, and Germany. It has established itself as the market leader through a long-standing commitment to providing the highest quality creative arts education, allowing students to maximise their career potentials.

The BIMM Group is made up of BIMM Institute, Institute for Contemporary Theatre, Performers College, Northern Ballet School, and Screen and Film School. This wide network of colleges provides unique opportunities for students to collaborate creatively on projects with others working in music, performing arts, and film.


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  • Increased applications immediately after implementation
  • Automated time-intensive manual processes
  • Personalized communications
  • Refocused staff toward strategic projects and 1:1 interactions


Needing to automate tedious, manual admissions processes, Garden City Community College implemented CRM Recruit and experienced immediate impact. With a friction free enrollment experience for both prospects and staff, GCCC personalized interactions with students to increase submitted applications.


Garden City Community College, located in Garden City, Kansas, recently set out to optimize its recruitment processes, highlight its unique offerings, and modernize its recruitment technology.

The college went live on Ellucian CRM Recruit in early 2021, and can now automate cumbersome manual tasks, tailor their prospect communications, and spend more time on high-value projects and personal outreach.

As soon as GCCC went live CRM Recruit, admissions staff saw many more applications come in—including more in the first few days than they would normally have received in two weeks. Prospects found it easier and faster to apply, and their applications were processed in the system instead of manually.

For students who accept and enroll, the college’s new system is making a big difference in onboarding as well. Before GCCC implemented its new technology and process, newly accepted students wouldn’t get their IDs or the ability to register for several weeks. Now, it’s immediate.

Automated emails, alerts, and credentialing haven’t just made things easier for prospects—they’ve improved transparency and lessened the burden for the admissions and enrollments team, too.

The college’s new system has also enabled GCCC faculty to be more targeted with their outreach. Every two weeks, the admissions staff sends academic departments curated lists of students, then partner with faculty members to send faculty-signed emails with tailored program information based on student’s program interests.

GCCC is now able to add an individualized, human touch to its recruitment and admissions while accelerating and streamlining its business processes.

A personalized, modernized approach to recruitment

Garden City Community College improves outreach, increases applications, and streamlines manual processes

Garden City Community College
Sydnee Sassaman
Director of Admissions
Garden City Community College
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How did this Texas community college revamp its student services to provide wraparound support?


  • Students get a real-time, complete picture of their progress toward a degree
  • Registration is faster and easier than ever
  • Advisors have more time to make deeper connections with students


Hear a board member, a student, and a dean share their perspectives on how Ellucian Colleague Student Planning helps Mercer County Community College guide their students to on-time graduation. 


Alexandra Salas, dean of the division of innovation, online education, and student success at Mercer County Community College:

Some of the benefits of Colleague Student Planning is that it gives us the flexibility to help students help themselves. Whether you're a part-time advisor, a student success coach, whether you're a faculty member, whether you're new in this whole scheme of advising, if you talk to a student, you can note-take that interaction.  

And then the appropriate person will be able to go back and see exactly when the student was taken care of, what they discussed, and then they can immediately address those students’ concerns. It's a great tool to keep our internal communications in one place in terms of advising.  

It's a wonderful tool for retention, and also for the student because it gives them that level of independence where they can begin to see what their academic plan is going to look like a couple of semesters out. Plus, they can track their progress. 

Oscar Trigueros, student, Mercer County Community College: 

Colleague Student Planning is good to see where you're at, at Mercer. What's your GPA? What classes are you currently enrolled in? What classes are still left to be taken? Let's say I don't want to be a liberal arts major anymore. Maybe I want to do business administration. I could just see the new program.  

It'll tell me, OK, you've already satisfied English 101, 102. You just need to take these remaining courses. It's very useful when it comes to that. It also helps you register courses. It tells you what needs to be taken according to the major. So, it already tells you what needs to be done.  

If I wanted to register before, I would need to get in the line at enrollment services, maybe wait 30 minutes. Whereas now I could just go online and find that out in a minute. It's a lot easier. 

Rob Schreyer, dean of health professions, Mercer County Community College:

Colleague Student Planning has had a significant impact on students that I've worked with, and one that really sticks out—where a student had come to me very frustrated and concerned because she thought that she might be running out of financial aid, and that she wasn't necessarily close to achieving her degree of choice. And through using Student Planning, I was able to show her that she could not only look at the track that she was on with her current major, but also be able to switch majors and see how many of those courses would apply to different majors and related fields.  

She actually identified that she was only a few courses away from graduating in a field and a major that she actually would have preferred to have from the start. So, she was really empowered by that, and was then able to go on and complete within the next semester. Those examples are on a regular basis at this point. I think a number of students being able to look at the information on their own, identify the areas of need, identify whether or not they're on track, is something that they're accustomed to doing in other areas of their life. And now to have that in education will truly empower them and motivate them to be able to complete their degrees.  

The impact that Colleague Student Planning is going to have on faculty is really giving them the opportunity to engage with the student, to be able to show the student their progress, and utilizing Student Planning, and Ellucian as a whole. The faculty will have the ability to be truly autonomous in helping implement those changes without necessarily having to go through the process of calling and emailing multiple people. Just doing it automatically, putting notes in, so that everybody's aware and ultimately serving the student in the best manner.  

Students chart their own course to a degree

With Ellucian Colleague® Student Planning, students play a larger role in degree planning.

Alexandra Salas
Dean of the Division of Innovation, Online education, and Student Success
Mercer County Community College
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With Ellucian Colleague® Student Planning, students play a larger role in degree planning.


  • Compiled data from multiple systems
  • Easier to analyze data from one area
  • Centralized data keeps focus on students


My top priority in my role is to work with my staff in providing and meeting the strategic directions of our institutions and providing the needs that they want to achieve for our students, and our faculty, and our staff.


As we looked at the student needs, we didn't really have anything to focus on relationship management with our students. And so, it made sense to move to Advise. In CRM Advise, we're able to compile data from multiple systems.

So, we can combine that data into one single area and analyze that data much easier. To have all the data together, to focus on the student—for what they need to do next in their academic career, towards the graduation—and look at all that data jointly has really been helpful in identifying other needs of the student that helped to their success and retention.

Focusing on what students need to succeed

Texas Tech University System centralizes data with Ellucian CRM Advise

Texas Tech hero image on purple background
Kay Rhodes
Chief Information Officer
Texas Tech University System
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Texas Tech University System centralized data with Ellucian CRM Advise, making it easier to identify what students need and help them continue toward graduation.


  • More efficient enrollment and data collection
  • Clear insight into student demographics
  • Targeted communications with students


Martha Parham, Senior Vice President of Public Relations, American Association of Community Colleges
Brian Peebles, Associate Director of Admissions and Testing, Midlands Technical College
Nathan Bills, Director of Recruiting and Admissions Product Management, Ellucian


Welcome everyone. My name is Martha Parham. I'm the senior vice president of Public Relations for the American Association of Community Colleges. And we are here to celebrate yet another episode of The CC Voice podcast—the only podcast about the power of the nation's community colleges.

And so I'm here today I'm lucky to have with us someone from Midlands Technical College—Brian Peebles, the associate director of admissions and testing. Welcome, Brian.

Thank you very much for having me.

And with him we also have Nathan Bills. Nathan is the director of recruiting and admissions product management for Ellucian. Welcome, Nathan.

Hey, thank you very much for having me. Appreciate it.

Yeah. We're excited to have you here. Most of our listeners are very familiar with Ellucian, and so we're really excited to hear about what you all do.

So, Brian, as the associate director of admissions and testing at Midlands, can you give us a little information about Midlands Technical College and what's your process in terms of admissions and testing?

Well, we are a technical college and based in Columbia, South Carolina, in the Midlands of South Carolina. So we're a medium sized school. We have about 120 different programs of study and we are an open enrollment institution. We pretty much accept everybody as long as you make just a minimum score on our placement test or have a few other qualifications, then we will accept you.

Excellent. So open admissions is something that community colleges are not a stranger to. And Nathan, how about you in terms of Ellucian? I know Ellucian, you guys have more than like over 2,000 institutions, right?

That's right. That's right. We work with over 2,500 institutions spanning the globe—about 50 countries. What we do is we enhance the operations and really enrich the experience provided to over 20 million students worldwide. We see ourselves as the market leader in higher education technology. And we have a comprehensive software portfolio with services as well with over 50 years of experience in the industry.

So our official topic today is automation and technology. I think we want to talk about that in terms of how it impacts certainly you there at Midlands Technical College and how Ellucian is helping you handle some of that change in automation and technology. So I don't know, Brian, did you want to talk about what your process is and how Ellucian is helping you deal with that?

Absolutely. Definitely, definitely. We are an open enrollment institution. So as long as you go online, fill out our admissions application, get a minimum score on our placement test, then if we have a place for you, if have the class, then you can come in. We don't have a set number that we will turn students away or anything like that.

And so what a Ellucian has helped us do is—I'm sure as you're aware, traditional age students, just out of high school, 18 to 20 years old, and to a somewhat lesser extent the adult students also are expecting the vast majority of their interaction to at least have the option of being electronic. You know? They can do it online. They don't have to come into an office or really even talk to somebody on the phone if they don't have to, if they don't want to.

And so what Recruit has helped us do is we have our online application through them. They also give us the option of letting students upload documents straight to their record. So if we need a transcript or anything like that that we would like to take online, then we have that option through Recruit. And so that helps us eliminate barriers so we can get students in and get them started on their educational journey.

Nathan, did you want to talk a little bit about what Recruit is specifically?

It's a CRM which is agnostic to any particular ERP system. So we actually integrate of course, with all of the Ellucian systems, so Power Campus, Colleague, as well as Banner. But we also have customers that don't use our systems as well. So as I said, it's a CRM.

So what it does is it allows our customers to really optimize their recruiting and admissions processes through leveraging the software. So everything from tracking your contacts to the actual intake of online applications, inquiries, predictive modeling. All of these different factors are all collected into the system and then calculated. And we provide that overall platform to help with things like application reviews.

Let's say that you have a culinary program, for instance, at a community college and that has extra requirements or maybe limited slots that can actually do those reviews inside of CRM or Recruit and manage the communications in that relationship with the prospective student or applicant through matriculation.

It sounds amazing. So who is the biggest user? Is it someone like—Brian, you are in admissions and testing. Do you work with your marketing and outreach team or how does it work to get—in terms of the information that goes back and forth?

In terms of communicating with the students with the acknowledgment emails when a student submits an application or when they get accepted, things like that, we actually build those in the admissions office. And we upload those into Recruit and we set up various workflows and automatic processes so that whenever the student applies or whenever some information on their record changes, they can automatically get the appropriate communication customized to the student.

Do you get to pull data from this system that allows you to see where a student is, see if they're persisting through the program, and things like that or is this not possible with this type of software?

Yeah. So what we have is part of the Ellucian ecosystem. So we're populating this data as well as the data from the student information system into analytics so that customers can see trends and can really track that progress and make sure that they're really honing their strategy to produce the highest yield.

So in addition to that, we also provide a series of different dashboards within the software so that that progress can be tracked within CRM recruit. And also those dashboards can be customized with ease, just configuration by our customers to meet maybe their specific business processes—let's say that they're collecting different fields than what we typically would see, we have that level of flexibility built right in.

That's great. Dashboards are life when it comes to—

Oh, yeah.

—to understanding kind of what's going on. Brian, how has this really impacted your particular workload, workspace, for you and your team?

Well, as you mentioned, the dashboards have been incredibly helpful. And just having the quick, at-a-glance status of where most of our students are, if we need to have a particular push for a certain group of students to help them through the enrollment process. So everything is in real time. Much of it is automated if we want to set it up that way. If we don't want it to be automated—we want to have that human touch before it moves to the next step, we can set up that way if we want to.

And so with everything being in the system and online, we have all that information right there to make sure when we do make the decision that it's the right decision.

So in terms of—again, back to the automation and technology of it all, I think what we're seeing here is just the sheer speed of technology advancements. And students, if we think of them as consumers of our product, which is education, have different expectations, I think. They definitely want information quickly, they like to use their phones. Does this impact how they receive or deal with their admissions process at all?

Absolutely. Like you mentioned, we're kind of living right now in a microwave world—some people say—where everybody wants things right now. And with the current generation, especially, they want it to be mobile-friendly. And so it has to look good on a phone or a tablet or some other type of mobile device. And so if it has too many fields or if the pages are too big and they have to scroll too much, then there's a good chance that they're either going to move on and look somewhere else or they're just going to get frustrated and decide I'll do this later, and then they might not ever get back to it.

In terms of automation of outreach and marketing, what challenges have you run into before you had this system, Brian?

Well, before we had Recruit, a lot of what we did was manual. So either we would have acceptance or acknowledgment letters template, but then we would have to go in and type out the information to make it customized to the student, whether it be their name, address, ID, program, those kinds of things.

And so when we got the Recruit system, all of that information was right there in Recruit. And all we had to do was just set it up so that whenever we get new information on a student or a new student applies, all of that customized information for that student is put onto the communication that we want to send out. And so everything that we send to the students is customized based on what they've told us and what that student needs.

Are you able to use Recruit throughout the students' entire program?

Nathan may be able to speak more to this part of it, but with the way that we use it, it's mostly from application or as a suspect, potentially, through to when they first enroll is how we would use it. And then I know Ellucian has other products that can take it over from that point.

Got it. Well, but even still being able to manage someone that expresses interest or potential students and being able to have that in a way and in a format that you can actually use it and reach out to them and be able to get them registered for classes is—the fact that you were hand-typing people's names into their letters and now you don't have to do that sounds pretty amazing.

Yeah. At Ellucian we provide really a host of different solutions that all talk within the Ellucian ecosystem. One of those solutions is our analytics solution, which Ellucian CRM Recruit populates data into our data platform as well as our student information systems and other products so that you have one view into that data. And you can essentially hone and refine your approach to ensure that you're hitting the right goals and recruiting the right people and enrolling them, and making sure that they're graduating on and being successful.

So, Brian, I don't know about South Carolina, but I'm pretty sure throughout the country enrollments have been a point of discussion to say the least. Enrollments are down typically across the nation. And enrollments have become a major issue for community colleges. How does this system or does this system impact your enrollments?

Well, kind of like what I was mentioning earlier, the CRM Recruit system allows us to customize information specifically to a student so we don't have to worry about sending out generic emails or letters or various communications where it may have the student's name and address and their ID number, but it's pretty obvious that everything else in the communication is just kind of a generic letter.

So we can have, based on the information in the system, what we can do is customize parts of the communication throughout rather than the address block and then a generic letter. And so what that is that it shows the student that we're interested specifically in them rather than just wanting to meet our numbers. And so when we can do that, that helps us to get the student excited about attending our institution rather than wanting to possibly look somewhere else.

And you mentioned—I know we've talked a lot about data and we've talked a lot about the dashboards, but how are you able to use that data on campus? How do you look at that data? And then, does it help you make decisions going forward?

Well, one of the big things that we use our dashboards for is events on campus. So we have, of course, various events throughout the year. And so we can use the dashboards to leading up to the event obviously to see how many students we have registered in the event, we can see how many have arrived, checked in, those kinds of things.

And then, after the event is done, we can see how those students matriculate to enrollment. So of the students that attended the event, how many were admitted to the college? How many ended up enrolling? And so that kind of gives us a return on investment approach to the event to see if we did well with the event, if there is something that might need to change, or maybe even if the ROI was bad enough, maybe we just need to not have that event anymore. Maybe we need to do something in its place. So in that, CRM Recruit with the dashboards has definitely helped us make sure that what we're doing is best for the student and it is what they want and what they need.

I'm not going to lie, Brian, I'm a little bit jealous that you had this and I did not when I was working at the college. Not going to lie.

Yeah. It's a fantastic tool, it really is.


So if you were to talk to your colleagues with regard to Recruit, either standalone or with other Ellucian products, what would you tell them?

I would say that having Recruit—I've mostly been talking about from the student side, but also from the staff processor side, or even the admissions recruiter side, it really helps us with tailoring our communications and our interactions with the student to their specific case so that we make sure we don't—obviously we have the generic information that all students need, but then we want to make sure that we don't tell the student that they need to do something that they don't necessarily need to do. And then that just creates an additional step or possibly an extra barrier to the student becoming enrolled.

And so also, like we were mentioning with the dashboard, you can set up processing lists and customize those to the staff processor so that the applications and things like that the staff needs to process, they only see the ones that should be their list and they don't have to sort through applications that they don't need or that somebody else handles. And that helps them with their work throughout the day.

Yeah. Sounds like it helps tremendously. Nathan, is there anything about Recruit that we haven't really touched on or maybe something that you wanted to talk specifically about Recruit?

Yeah. Well, I'll tell you what that there's so much. The constituent experience, which is really that the portal that the applicants use is very, very powerful. And so through that experience they're able to go in and shop and update, and even have targeted marketing from the institution based on their interests.

So we know, as we've talked about, right? Students are on the go and they're juggling work while attending school. A significant number of them are even raising children at the same time. They're comparison shopping for nearly everything online. And they really expect to get that information when they want it, right? And so that's really just table stakes.

And so through our constituent experience, we're able to provide information just in time, like Brian was talking about, with events. They can search, they can register for an event all on their own. They can also go and update their interests, investigate, and make sure that they're going to go on the right path so that they can stay on that path and continue through and be successful.

And so that's really big along with the communications, the ability to track that return on an investment for the institution. And the institution is able to really focus in and see where there might be some lags, right? So of course, you don't want a prospective student or an applicant to wait days or even an evening. And in some cases, I'm thinking about one customer that I was visiting about five years ago.

They actually had this setup where they had kiosks and the students were able to go into the office to apply. After they applied they could walk down the hall and actually register for classes instantly, right? And so by populating all this data into the Ellucian ecosystem, we're able to remove barriers around that application and reduce time so that they can start learning right away.

Yeah. And I mean, it sounds like a little thing, but I remember it well—and that was probably pretty innovative for its time, is that lag time, even with online applications, there was a lag, maybe eight hours, maybe two days before students were—quote, unquote—"in the system" and could then register. So that's huge that it helps students to have that immediate ability to register. You strike while the iron is hot, right? While you're there and you're thinking about it and you're ready to go, get them registered and get them on a pathway that's going to serve to meet their educational needs.

So that sounds like a win-win to me. And with that, I will give you, Brian, the last word in terms of recruits or your enrollment. What would you like our listeners to know?

Well, I guess I would like them to know that anytime you can get a system like CRM recruit, where you have all the communications, all the student information—also, I don't know that we mentioned that in Recruit, on the person record, all of their communication history is right there together. So you can see everything that has been communicated to the student.

So that way, you're not giving duplicate information or possibly confusing them. So having something like that just helps with helping the student continue through their educational journey, helping them get admitted and enrolled in the institution, and then continuing on their educational career.

And Nathan, final question to you—and it's a doozy, so I hope you're ready for it.


If you were not working with Ellucian, what would you be doing?

Well, that's a very good question. I think that I would definitely be in a field where I'm helping others. It's something that I've always enjoyed. Education has held a very special place in my heart throughout my career. And I just really like helping others be successful and find their strengths. That's just one of those things that I find a lot of intrinsic value.

Wow. Such a good, profound answer.

Thank you.

Unlike mine, which is like be a famous singer.

Oh, well, that would be fun too.


Yeah. That would be a good one.

All right. Well, I cannot thank the two of you enough. Nathan, if I were interested in looking at what this Recruit looked like in terms of the dashboards and things like that, how would I go about finding that information?

Yeah. So I would direct anyone to our website to start with, just like students when they're shopping, right?


They're going to Google. So it's ellucian.com. And if you want to get specific, /crm-recruit. But of course you can get to it right from that main page. No problem.

All right. We will put that on our website as well. So you can certainly link to it from our website too. And with that, I want to say, Brian and Nathan, thank you so much for spending some time with us this afternoon. And we look forward to hearing about your great successes in the future.

Thank you, Martha. Have a wonderful day.

Thank you for having me.



CC Voice the official podcast of the American Association of Community Colleges. Your host is Martha Parham, and the show is produced by me, Tina Henry-Barrus. Tell us what you think, or if you have a topic that you'd like to hear us talk about on the show, send us an email to [email protected]. You can also follow us on Twitter at com_college.

How Ellucian CRM Recruit automates the recruiting and admissions process

Optimize recruiting and admissions with Ellucian CRM Recruit

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Learn how Midlands Technical College optimized its recruiting and admissions process with Ellucian CRM Recruit.


  • A 3.8% increase in year-over-year retention
  • Improved student self-service and progress monitoring
  • Enhanced advising


Committed to improving student success and spurred by a state mandate, Pearl River Community College (PRCC) is combining the latest in higher education technology and evidence-based curriculum reform in the form of guided pathways.

In its effort to guide more of its students toward successful outcomes—from degree completion to transfer to updated skills leading to gainful employment—PRCC has streamlined its course offerings into eight plans of study, or “meta-majors.” That has helped narrow down the huge array of courses and majors that can be overwhelming and hard to navigate.

To help students stay on track, PRCC focused on strengthening its advising and degree-planning processes—two critical elements of the guided pathways model. So the college gave its busy advisors better tools and more holistic insight into their advisees’ progress. It also reduced barriers to transfer while giving students more targeted guidance and greater visibility into their degree progress.

Just one year into its reforms, Pearl River is seeing results. With widespread approval from students, staff, and faculty members, the college has already seen a 3.8 percent* increase in first-year, full-time retention rates.


Download this case to study learn more about how Pearl River used its ERP system and a degree-planning tool to implement guided pathways, improve advising, and help students navigate their degree progress.

“There are so many students who don’t know what they want to do,” says Martha Lou Smith, vice president for general education and technology services at PRCC. “Too many of them are not ready to make those kinds of decisions. So instead of saying to them, ‘You have to pick a major right now,’ giving them the pathway option helps them realize, ‘Oh, there are a lot of things I might want to do.’”

To help students stay on track, the college strengthened its advising and degree-planning processes—two critical elements of the guided pathways model. To transform those services, PRCC implemented Ellucian Degree Works™, an online degree-planning tool that integrates with the college’s Ellucian Banner® student information system (SIS).

Read the full customer story

How technology and curriculum reform help empower students

Pearl River Community College helps students reach their goals with guided pathways, enhanced advising, and online degree tracking. 

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Martha Lou Smith
Vice President for General Education and Technology Services
Pearl River Community College
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Pearl River Community College helps students reach their goals with guided pathways, enhanced advising, and online degree tracking. 

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