42: Geographic Student Targeting at University System of Georgia w/ Angela Bell

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Dr. Angela Bell, Associate Vice Chancellor of Research and Policy Analysis at The University System of Georgia discusses how their Zillow-like research tool allows them to better geographically target untapped and underserved students.

You're listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education, the best professional development podcast for higher education leaders looking to grow enrollment at their college or university. Whether you're looking for fresh enrollment growth techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to enrollment growth university, a proud member of the connect e Tou podcast network. I'm Eric Olson, AVP of marketing at Helix Education, and we're here today with Dr Angela Belle, associate vice chancellor of research and policy analysis at the university system of Georgia, and you welcome to the show. Thanks for inviting me. Really excited to talk to you today about how to use data to better geographically target perspective students. Before we dig into that, Angie, can you get the listeners a little bit better understanding of both the university system of Georgia and your role there? Yes, absolutely. The university system of Georgia...

...is the State Agency that oversees the public twenty eight four year schools and Georgia, and those range from research universities like Georgia Tech and university of Georgia. It's a very small state college is like East Georgia's State College. My Division of Research and policy analysis at the USG is like an institutional research office at a campus. So we are responsible for collecting data from campuses and then doing regular reporting, responding to data request running analyzes and conducting research for the university system, all in the name of helping the efficients the system run more efficiently and improve its mission of educating students in the state of Georgia. Love it. Really intrigued with what you're building there. Can you give us a high level overview of this Zillo like tool you're creating to find untaped geographies for USC institutions? Sure. So, this tool that we've created as part of a...

...collaborative project with an institute of Government called the Carl Vincent Institute of Government at the University of Georgia that we embarked on with in a couple of years ago to find better ways to use our system data that we collect from campuses. First to help the system make decisions, but then pivoted to try to help campuses and then further further that evolved to help use data that is actionable for campuses to carry out their mission more successfully and so that's how this tool developed. And this tool, we call the market share tool, is a multipanel dashboard designed to help our USC colleges identify the high schools within their sector, but at the Research University, State University, State College, etc. Where their additional qualified college prospects and thus hopefully grow their enrollment at their institution increased access to higher education state. The AP is built around that context, that their force sectors and institutions in our system with bearing admissions criteria. So, on one pain of the dashboard it plots every state public high school on a...

...grid by its eligibility rate for our states merit based financial aid programs and then also by this high school spring reduced price lunch eligibility rate. These are rough proxys for academically talented students and low income students, who we know we need to increase access for to the size of each high school. Dot reflects the number of unenrolled process and red dots highlights schools with the lowest capture rates and represent where we have the greatest opportunity to group more students, while grade dots are schools we already have a significant presence. At another pain on the DASHBOARDS and map with dots to the locations of each of those high schools and the same colors as that first panel designating the capture rate. So the map also shows the location of the USC institutions, main and satellite campuses within that sector. A third pain contains the table with details of details about each high school, including their historical number of procects, the capture rate into that USC sector and the postgraduation destinations of their students. Would have they be USC institutions,...

...are Georgia Technical College system, other per secondary institutions or the workforce? And then the top of the dashboard there's slides and toggles to filter which high schools are shown or highlighted according to the number share of enrolled proceects. So these different pains are coordinated with each other so that selections on one pain carry over to the other pains. So an institutional user can select that they would want to see only high school whereas a system we are capturing less than twenty five percent of qualified prospects, and then only those high schools will show in the grid and on the map, and then the user can go to the map and see where those high schools are located and use a last so feature on the map to select high schools in a specific part of the state that they want to target for outreach. The high school information pain will automatically update and they can look at the characteristics of those high schools they selected that meet their selection criteria and see, for example, that at one school many students are attending private colleges in the state, which prompts one type of recruitment message at...

...that high school as opposed to another school where a large number of students are going straight into the workforce. There's also copious other information available about all Georgia public high school and another apple have built to complement that provided in the tool, the market share tool. Well as describing it's an incredibly impressive tool. How is the tool being used today? Who are your primary users and what are they specifically trying to do and how are they acting upon their findings? So the tool is being used pride don't predominantly right now by admissions enrollment management teams that are US g institutions to refine and enhance their outreach strategies. For example, a State University just south of Atlanta had been analyzing their current theater schools and sort of assessing the return in terms of enrollments on their investment and outreach to these schools and deciding where they needed to either enhance outreach, discontinue outreach or keep it the same. And then they use our tool to identify...

...schools where they had low or no enrollment, but the tool indicate that there's room for growth and enrollment of students qualify to attend a State University. So this is waiting then to look at spending more recruiting resources in the northwestern part of the State rather than some of the places to the stuff where they have been traditionally focusing on recruiting. It's awesome. And you you are utilizing this data specifically to find underserved, under tapped audiences, those who may qualify for state meritaid but aren't taking advantage of it. Do you have any personal concerns with the ability of tools like this to do the opposite, to geographically discriminate against specific populations that may require more aid to attend? Is that possible? Yes, am I concerned? No. We, as assistant of been engaging in very strong messaging to institutions about what the high school pipeline looks like, who we've been doing a good job of serving and what types of students we've been less successful with. There's an imperative here that, in order to maintain...

...healthy institutional enrollment in order to produce the numbers of graduates needed by our states changing workforce and really to fulfill our mission of improving the state through college a payment, that we must do better job enrolling minority and low income students. This has been an ongoing message we've been sending to our institutions. Furthermore, you at our institutions with enrollment challenges, some due to regional population to climb. Not Recruiting every eligible student simply isn't an option. But ultimately, I believe in the integrity of our institutional personnel to use these tools to the aims they were intended for, to broaden access for all students. Awesome. And you you've also created a similar tool for targeting adult learners and degree completers. What are those critical data points you're utilizing to determine where, geographically, there may be underserved pockets of perspective adult learners? Yeah, this tool is, you know, companion piece to the high school one. And it's a dash foreward pains with data and data tables in a map and it uses US census...

American community survey data on age, educational attainment and employment status by county and also the much more granular senses tract to allow a user to select their definition of a potential adult learners, say population age two, five, forty four with a high school diploma or some college that no bachelor's degree and not employed, and then see the number and share of residents in a county or a census tract that meet those criteria. And this allows the school to see where their marketing efforts for adult learners should be targeted for greatest impact, whether that be through direct mail, billboards or imperit materials placed in community organizations. And then, too, a company of that their pages in the act the show, for each county or groups of county that they select them, the number of employers by industry, how many employees they have and their average wages, and also pages that show, for the twelve economic regions in the state what the projections are for two thousand and twenty four, for broad occupation categories and the annual opening. And it's still another page that shows for individual occupations in...

...that region, the job projections and openings, along with a typical educational attainment required for that occupation. So this industry and occupation information can be used in a messaging to the adult learners, once you target them, about the jobs that are available and growing in the education requart for them. But the institution offers it can also be used by institutions to align their academic program planning with the direction of the workforce in their region. It's so impressively and you, who are your primary data partners, where's all this data coming from? Their utilizing to inform and input into your tools. So the partnership we have with the Carlvincent Institute of Government that built a massive longitudinal data that with our USG data. They attended to it national student clearing house data and it also geocoding student addresses to incorporate census data for us to be able to look in a very granular way at student origins and student migration patterns within the state. We're also using college board data. We have a robust state longitudinal data system called...

Georgia awards. That is helping US look at the high school graduate destinations. One year out, and all of these, all of this is publicly available data and except for the College Board data, and this partnership with the Carl Vincent Institute really has taken those public sources of data, in addition to our data, to put it together in formats that are easily accessible and approachable by our institutions to use, and they are initiatives. Awesome, awesome, Angie. Any next steps? Advice for institutions who are listening to this and feeling jealous of the tools that you have built and what you're able to access? Those institutions who are just looking to utilize data to make better geographic targeting decisions, where do you suggest they start? I would say look within. We have managed in this project to use existing system resources, but something similar be true at institutions, that they would have personnel on their campus with the skills...

...to do this work. So collaboration a cross disciplines is really important. This project benefited from a team of personnel with expertise in demography, GIA, labor and, of course, higher education, and people with those skills exist on campuses and many are just looking for an opportunity to help their school by collaborating with people another department. I would say the other big takeaway from our project is to focus on visualization. As I said earlier, many of these data resources were already available publicly, but putting them into approachable, inner acted visualizations, including map, provides utility to and reduce its the time to insight and action over more static, tabular information. Awesome, awesome, Dr Bell, I can't thank you enough for your time today. What's the best place for listeners to connect with you? If they have any follow up questions, they can contact me on Linkedin, or they're more than welcome to email me. Angela Dot Bell, belll at USG DOT EEDU. Awesome. Thanks against so much for joining us today. Angie, you're very welcome. I enjoyed it.

Thank you. Attracting today's new post traditional learners means adopting new enrollment strategies. Helix educations data driven, enterprise wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquely helping colleges and universities thrive in this new education landscape, and Helix has just published the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook with fifty percent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's most pressing enrollment growth challenges, downloaded today for free at Helix Educationcom. Slash playbook. You've been listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show and Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

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