Thursday, October 30, 2008

Go West!

October 30, 2008- This famous motto of the nineteenth century has become a part of our own manifest destiny at ConnectEDU as we look to expand the ConnectEDU National Network™ westward. In the last sixty days, we have added colleges in new western states including Utah and Idaho to our network, expanding opportunities for over one million Connect! users.

Just last month, we welcomed Honolulu Waldorf High School (Hawaii) to the ConnectEDU National Network. And, many folks at ConnectEDU have expressed interest in personally visiting them to welcome them into the network – Aloha!

Check out the ConnectEDU National Network, including 275 colleges and 2,000 high schools.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Colleges and Universities Getting Smart During Budget Cuts

October 22, 2008- Just this past week, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington reported that “21 states were expecting budget shortfalls totaling nearly $9 billion for the fiscal year” according to The Chronicle of Higher Education, “Fresh Rounds of State Budget Cuts Hits Higher Education”, October 21. With 21 states making cuts already, this is just the beginning as the credit crunch makes a direct impact on higher education. The warnings have already been issued…

  • Massachusetts – Governor Deval Patrick announced 5.6% cut

  • Pennsylvania- Governor Edward Rendell announced 4.25% cut

  • Virginia- Governor Timothy Caine announced 5-7% cut

  • Ask any leader at a public institution. They’re bracing for program cuts, project and hiring freezes. Unfortunately, they are at the mercy of a national economic crisis. In fact, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, the public-policy research arm of the State University of New York, “warns that tax collections in many states could fall even further this year, making a bad fiscal situation even worse for much of the nation”. The problem is not going away soon.

    Progressive college officials are doing their homework and finding ways to cut costs, with as little impact on students as possible. Over 270 colleges in our network are doing what they can in admissions and enrollment to eliminate waste, streamline inefficiencies, and adopt a more cost-effective way to do business. For large colleges that spend up to $25 processing transcripts in the admissions process, they are seeking solutions such as ConnectEDU to remove this expense and inefficiency. For colleges who spend up to $4,000 per student in the recruitment process, they are looking for more cost-effective methods to identify and engage prospective students by working with solutions such as Connect!.

    Colleges are finding themselves in a perfect storm of a tightening credit crunch, short-falls in family funding options, shrinking endowment and financial aid resources as the markets drop, depleted state and federal funds due to a declining tax base, and a shrinking 18yr old population as we come off of the Baby Boom Echo. Never before have colleges needed to be more prudent and efficient with their internal processes and procedures. ConnectEDU stands ready to assist our college partners, students and high schools that make up the ConnectEDU National Network™.

    Thursday, October 16, 2008

    Invigorated from NACAC

    October 16, 2008- With another great NACAC Conference under our belt, we returned from Seattle energized and ready to begin the home stretch for the fall admission cycle. I am pleased to report that the NACAC Conference was a success on several fronts for ConnectEDU. First, it was a lot of fun welcoming several of our new Prep Headquarters high schools to the ConnectEDU family. While in Seattle, we also had the opportunity to speak with many of our Award for Excellence Winners.

    Another interesting development that I noted at this year’s conference was the impact that the recent economic downturn is having on high schools and colleges. With serious budget cuts looming and uncertainty in the world of higher education financing, high school counselors are seeking us out wanting to know more about our FREE solution. And, colleges seemed very eager to learn about how ConnectEDU can help them reduce application (i.e. transcript) processing and enrollment marketing expenditures.

    And yes, with all of the meetings, presentations, and inspiring conversations I had with our new friends as well as some old friends, I was pretty much sleepless in Seattle. In fact, it’s been pretty sleepless since I returned from Seattle as well. Good stuff happening.

    Check out video footage from NACAC

    Monday, October 13, 2008

    Reducing Budgets by 10K the Green Way

    October 13, 2008- ConnectEDU just released a new Green Paper, our version of a white paper but of course with an environmental topic. Yes, marketing’s attempt to be irreverent, but what we learned was pretty serious.

    We already knew that college students were motivated by eco-friendly solutions. Just read The Higher Education Resource Institute at UCLA’s Annual Freshman Report, which is now reporting on student perspectives towards the environment (27% believe they should get involved). It’s not a coincidence that campuses across the country are building green dorms, modifying their waste programs, and rethinking their energy sources. Students want change.

    What I found most interesting was nestled in the electronic transcript case study on one of our pioneering high schools- Farmington High School in Michigan. If you have visited a busy counseling office in a high school, it’s understandable why departments don’t regularly calculate the cost of sending transcripts. For our Green Paper, we did it for them and found a high school with 300 seniors can spend around $10K (conservative estimate) each year to deliver transcripts with a college application. With over half of their transcripts being delivered electronically in their pilot year, FHS has saved a significant amount of money, not to mention an estimated 21,600 sheets of paper in the process. It’s easy to make an impact in a short amount of time.

    The Green Paper can be downloaded at for a snapshot of what our students have to say, and what high schools can do to Go Green.

    Lockett Named EIU's New Executive-In-Residence

    October 9, 2008- Jane Lockett, our Senior Vice President of Customer Operations, is a leading example of what we are about at ConnectEDU – on the front lines with students, faculty and administrators building relationships and not providing key insight into the college admissions process from the sidelines.

    Jane was recently appointed the new Executive-In-Residence at Eastern Illinois University’s School of Business and had the opportunity last week to meet with students, faculty and top administrators as well as teach several classes during her time on campus.

    Kudos to Jane for her dedication to helping students make better decisions relative to their college and career planning – this is what we are all about at ConnectEDU.

    Read more