International Educator - November/December 2017 - 47

In contrast, soft ROI techniques are not predictive, but
retrospective; they do not employ algorithms or advanced
models but rather an analysis of data drawn from alreadyenrolled classes. For example, my current team collects
qualitative data from all applicants by including items on
the application about (a) how the prospective student
discovered our institution and (b) why they chose to apply.
We again ask these questions as part of the start-of-semester registration for our new international student program,
and we ask the questions yet again during a special lunch
for new students. We then analyze the data specific to the
class that has enrolled to find out what had been effective
in attracting those students to our program.

ISTOCK / OLM26250

Pooling the ROI Data Streams
In short, as useful as KPI metrics and predictive models
are in growing ROI, they do not by themselves maximize
ROI-they must be complemented by soft ROI. Hard
ROI data can reveal all of the touch points my team had
with a student, but our soft ROI data may indicate an
entirely different reason for a student to have selected
our institution. And as more and more students have an
increasing number of touch points with an admission
team, it becomes difficult to attribute enrollment to a
single recruitment activity. We have thus begun assessing
the value of ROI not by distinct activity, but by the number of activities in which an enrolled student engaged.
This assessment again merges hard ROI and soft ROI
data and helps dissuade would-be advocates of a strategy
from investing all dollars on one activity in one market.
So which is the gold standard, the hard ROI quantitative data report or the soft ROI qualitative self-report?
Neither. The pooling of these disparate data streams
gives the truest picture of how and why a student came
to our institution. And even then, ROI data from any

reliable source can only
inform-not dictate-the
recruitment strategy for the
coming 18-month cycle and
beyond. A knowledgeable,
savvy international enrollment manager is absolutely
necessary to evaluate data and develop plans.
After a chance meeting at an NAFSA annual
conference, I began working with colleagues Cheryl
Darrup Boychuck, U.S. director of institutional
relations for INTCAS Worldwide, and Angeliki Diane
Rigos, executive director of the MIT Tata Center for
Technology and Design to understand and quantify
the factors that practitioners know impact ROI but
are difficult to nail down. These factors include toplevel support, sufficient budget, well-defined strategy,
prestige factor, word-of-mouth referrals, currency
fluctuations, visa policy fluctuation, academic program
relevance, faculty involvement, partnerships, alumni
relations, efficiency of operations, and diversification
of student body.
As our colleagues within international education know firsthand, ROI metrics extend well beyond
numbers with dollar signs in front of them, and while
demonstrating ROI is not always easy, it has never been
more important. n
GEORGE F. KACENGA is director of international enrollment
management at the University of Colorado-Denver.

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N O V.+ D E C .17 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR

47  



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - November/December 2017

From the Desk of
Frontlines
In Brief
Global Spotlight: Iran
Quick Questions
Feature: The New Why of Partnering: International Partnerships Are Expanding Their Reach and Goals
Feature: Partnering Case Studies: Leveraging Unconventionality
Feature: Doing Well by Doing Good: Social Entrepreneurship is Evolving to Meet New Realities
Education Abroad
International Student Affairs
International Enrollment
International Education Leadership
Forum
In Focus
Feature: A Healthy Balance
Feature: Mental Health: Leveraging Resources
International Educator - November/December 2017 - Cover1
International Educator - November/December 2017 - Cover2
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 1
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 2
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 3
International Educator - November/December 2017 - From the Desk of
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 5
International Educator - November/December 2017 - Frontlines
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 7
International Educator - November/December 2017 - In Brief
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 9
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 10
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 11
International Educator - November/December 2017 - Global Spotlight: Iran
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 13
International Educator - November/December 2017 - Quick Questions
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 15
International Educator - November/December 2017 - Feature: The New Why of Partnering: International Partnerships Are Expanding Their Reach and Goals
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 17
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 18
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 19
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 20
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 21
International Educator - November/December 2017 - Feature: Partnering Case Studies: Leveraging Unconventionality
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 23
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 24
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 25
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 26
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 27
International Educator - November/December 2017 - Feature: Doing Well by Doing Good: Social Entrepreneurship is Evolving to Meet New Realities
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 29
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 30
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 31
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 32
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 33
International Educator - November/December 2017 - Education Abroad
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 35
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 36
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 37
International Educator - November/December 2017 - International Student Affairs
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 39
International Educator - November/December 2017 - International Enrollment
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 41
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 42
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 43
International Educator - November/December 2017 - International Education Leadership
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 45
International Educator - November/December 2017 - Forum
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 47
International Educator - November/December 2017 - In Focus
International Educator - November/December 2017 - Cover3
International Educator - November/December 2017 - Cover4
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