57: Church Partnerships at North Central University w/ Michael Price

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Michael Price, Chief Enrollment Officer at North Central University, discusses how institutions can get creative with employer partnerships, and specifically how religiously-affiliated institutions can partner with churches on enrollment growth initiatives.

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 ETU podcast network. I'm Eric Oleson, AVP of marketing at Helix Education, and we're here today with Michael Price, chief enrollment officer at North Central University. Mike, Welcome to the show. Yeah, glad to be here. Are Thank you. Really excited to talk with you today about how institutions can get creative with employer partnerships and specifically, how religiously affiliated institutions can partner with churches on enrollment growth initiatives. But before we think to that, Mike, can you get the listeners a little bit better understanding of both North Central University and your role there?...

Yeah, are my role is the chief enrollment officer at North Central, so I'll receive admissions, marketing and financial aid for the university. The university is located in downtown Minneapolis. We're just a couple blocks from US bank stadium. We are a religiously affiliated university in our denominations, smilies of God church denomination. Awesome, Mike. Employer partnerships are often under pursued, or at least under executed on in high read for a religious institution with religious specific degree programs. Talk about the benefits and opportunities of partnering with churches to increase enrollment. Yeah, so we have a couple of dynamics that are happening right now in r central one as we have a fairly new president. He's a year into his presidency, but this is one of his key initiativet has begun to a partner with churches, particular AG churches. So some of this of God churches that are desirable in partnering with the University to help them kind of train kind...

...of their next leaders in terms of ministry and missions. And then, too, we are, you know, a little bit behind ties, but we are really moving forward with launching our bread and online programs at the university. And so one of our initiatives is really the say strategic partnerships are important and partnerships with our churches are important, since one of the avenues were really using to really launch our programs for our programs. Really love it, Mike. When people think of employer partnerships and high read they often think of some kind of nominal tuition discount to Incentimi as a company to suggest or send employees to your institution. But talk about the much deeper dual a partnerships you're creating with these AG affiliated churches. Yeah, so we have a couple really interesting aspects are program. One is we obviously do offer a discount for students at ten our program through a partnership. So you know they're going to pay, you know, less in per credit see than other students that might come through other...

...channels, and part of that is because we're asking the church to help with some of those services. The other dynamic is our program for the ages. A couple aspects are prog them that are beneficial. One, it provides a aged credentials, which is really important if you ever want to be a pastor or work in the church. And then two is the churches can set up integrated learning experience, so like an internship you could say, in which they have to meet certain guidelines around our program and you know guidelines around like Hlc and things that you know because as a credit bearing coorse. But the Nice thing is the church has some flexibility determine what that is. Is On. They our guidelines around the curriculum, and so they'll students will progress throughout their two year program in an internship or practical learning experience in which they have to...

...really engage with the church apply the curriculum in a way that makes it really absilable to them. You mentioned that integrated learning experience. This really is a true partnership where the churches themselves have some responsibility in terms of marketing, recruitment students support for those students in this dual credit program is it too early to know how much recruitment help you're actually going to get from these churches versus how much your internal marketing team will need to drive these efforts? Yeah, so I think, you know, this will flesh out for in our central obviously over the next year, because we have one pilot church now that I think it gives us a framework, and really a framework is, I look at it, a bundled service in terms that the church is going to be responsible to helping, you know, the generation marketing help with the recruiting process and then, obviously, on the back end, really help with students support and retention. So you know how we see the relationship evolving. In essence, is the church is, you know, going to be really the arms and...

...to market the partnership, whether they do that through their connernation, they do it through the community, they do it through connections they have. They're going to be responsible for making connections with those students, talking about the program talking about the application process. They'll even be responsible for helping plucked documents that are needed to get that student to a decision point where we can make a decision. The decisional dealery responsibility of the of the university or us, and then that's where our team will really engage more pro actively as once that students really admitted, because if we got to get them then through the financial aid process, which is going to be our responsibility as university, we get we have to get them through the registration process and then they'll be in a sense and another handoff that will happen where the then the churches, will provide a student orientation for those students in conjunction with you know, the key areas of the university. As you're trying to establish these partnerships with local churches, what are the value propositions you focus on communicating to them? Well, I think you...

...know, one is obviously we have a program that's designed to incorporate that integrated learning experience for the student, which highly the highly valuable for the church because in some sense the church wants to have the opportunity to kind of raise had a local people in the church to continue to pursue ministry opportunity. This really gets an opportunity for the church to do that right in terms of, you know, the train them be on, to connect with them, dealing to kind of integrate them within the community. So there's some great aspirations with the church to do that and especially within our denomination, which, I said, is ag that's highly desirable. The day be we, you know, it's several churches are looking for partnerships with the universities. And secondly, it becomes, you know, somewhat of a revenue stream, let's face it, for the churches. So we you know, in a sense our pain for some...

...services that church are providing an order to, you know, recruit and retain students through the services that they're offering this, so there's some financial benefit as well. Love it. Love it, Mike. As you continue to build out these partnerships, what is excited you about the future of employer in Church partnerships at North Central? What could be? Well, I am I really see, you know, you never know when when those open and close and there's an opportunity for north central to really more actively grow our student population through partnership. So I am, in general, a very big fan of strategic partnerships that can really leverage, you know, the partner and the expertise to grow enrollment instead of the traditional means of really doing that through saying well, we're just gonna the sense spend a ton of marketing dollars and don't get mere on. I think that's a healthy mix of what you're doing you need to...

...do in order to grow enrollment. But in some cases, for a school like North Central, being small, a smaller private school and kind of resource restricted in a way, these are great opportunities to build partnerships, you know, through affiliations that we already have that can really help us roll enrollment at them. Were accelerated pace and, in my opinion, at a low cost to because they're going to be handling some of those services force which we just aren't capable in the sense of doing today. Mike. Finally, any next steps? Advice for other religiously affiliated institutions looking to deepen their enrollment partnerships with local churches? Yeah, I just think pursue it. I would say it's my big advice. Take a look at it. I think sometimes we're so dary of kind of outside partnerships and some of that, especially when it comes to recruiting, marketing, students support. Sometimes there's this pressure or attention around. You know, is this even possible, as this violate any accreditating issues?...

And there's a lot of language out there in the marketplace and to HLC that and that really promotes these type of partnerships. But you've got to be somewhat proactive and doing that, you know, I think for us, because we have such a strong affinity with denomination, it's just it really is really a no brainer for us to kind of move forward in this direction. So I would say just be proactive, look at ways of diversifying your portfolio in terms of how your finance students, how your partnering strategically to do that. Mike, Thanks so much for your time today. What's the best place for listeners to connect with you if they have any follow up questions? Yeah, probably might bask and just use my north central email, which is a MI PRICE PRI see at North Central Dot eed awesome. Thanks against so much for joining us today, Mike Yep. Thanks too much, Terry. 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. Playbook. You've been listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the shown itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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