Firms hired to help with enrollment
Published: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 23, 2013 11:09
Loyola will be host to a title fight happening on campus. In one corner, there’s the university’s enrollment shortfall. In the other corner, we’ve got a tag team of consulting firms with a history of taking down challengers together.
Loyola has hired both the Lawlor Group and Scannell & Kurz in response to the incoming freshman class falling 26 percent short of the university’s original goal.
Roberta Kaskel, interim vice president of enrollment management, said that the Lawlor Group specializes in university branding while Scannell & Kurz advises universities on the disbursement of financial aid.
According to Kaskel, both firms have worked together in consulting other universities in the past. Marc Manganaro, vice president and provost of academic affairs, said that the firms’ history of cooperation was a factor in choosing both to work with Loyola.
“We were looking at a couple of possibilities, like choosing one firm to do everything, or choosing a couple of firms. And one thing that we were compelled by was that these two firms did distinctively different but related things and often worked together,” Manganaro said.
The Lawlor Group has assisted clients with “strategic brand management, institutional marketing and enrollment management” for more than 20 years, according to its website.
Kaskel said Lawlor team members working with Loyola include John Stemper, a strategy expert, and Amy Foster, the group’s information officer.
Kaskel said that the Lawlor team came to campus during the first week of school for a 24-hour period.
The visit was designed to look at how Loyola messages to students.
Kaskel said that she heard “positive things” from people who worked with the team.
“People said that they were very much listened to, that they felt that the team on the ground understood higher education extremely well, and in particular liberal arts education at a faith-based school,” Kaskel said.
The Lawlor Group will be back for a longer period of time in November, though no specific dates are set yet. The group will be studying Loyola during a major recruiting event, she said.
While the Lawlor Group works with Loyola on its marketing, Scannell & Kurz will look at how financial aid affects the school’s enrollment.
Scannell & Kurz’s team consists of Kathy Kurz, a financial aid expert, and Jennifer Wick, the firm’s admissions expert, Kaskel said.
Kaskel said that the group will be here for three days in the last week of September. The firm will host a student focus group with Student Government Association and the Office of Co-Curricular Activities.
Manganaro said Scannell & Kurz’s visit is important for the firm to get a feel for the university on a personal level.
“The on-campus visit of Scannell & Kurz is especially important, that they get to know people on the ground. And not only students and the whole community, but they’re also looking very carefully at our enrollment management operations,” Manganaro said.
Kaskel said that the university is currently on a year-to-year agreement with the two firms.
According to Kaskel, year-to-year agreements are standard in the consulting industry.
“Our present conversations with both The Lawlor Group and Scannell & Kurz, is that we will evaluate their work year-to-year to determine whether or not to extend the working relationship. That’s a practice when working with consultants; we need to assess their work and if they’re delivering what they said they’re going to deliver. And quite honestly, we know we’re a good client,” Kaskel said.
Kaskel said that there have been discussions of a longer commitment with Scannell & Kurz. The discussions were based on the consultant’s objective to track Loyola’s financial aid over multiple years. However, talks have only been preliminary, according to Kaskel.
Manganaro said that some of Loyola’s peer universities partner with consulting firms on a regular basis. Scannell & Kurz lists both Loyola Marymount and Loyola University in Maryland as clients, while the Lawlor Group’s website lists Drake University. Manganaro said he feels that Loyola should look at such a partnership as an option.
“Not only do other colleges and universities use firms like this for studies, but they also employ such firms on a continuing, year-to-year basis. And that’s certainly something I think we need to seriously consider as we move forward,” he said.
Karl Gommel can be reached at email@example.com