Key Performance Indicators that Matter in 2024

By: Jesse Homan Feb 15, 2024

Key Performance Indicators that Matter in 2024

Securing steady enrollment growth and keeping students happily on board are top priorities in higher education. But how do institutions ensure they’re truly meeting student needs and demands? It’s all about measuring performance effectively. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are like your personalized fitness trackers for performance. They tell you what’s working, what needs more work, and how far you’ve come towards your goals. Unlike raw data, KPIs are laser-focused measures that effectively drive informed decisions and track progress. Gone are the days of navigating blindly through raw data – KPIs provide laser-focused measures that drive informed decisions and track progress effectively. It’s time to harness the power of data to steer the course towards success in higher education.

Key Performance Areas

So, where do you start?

Determining your institution’s unique strategic goals is the first step. Once you know your target destination, KPIs become the navigation tools that guide you there. Look beyond generic metrics and choose a balanced set of KPIs across five key areas:

Enrollment and Retention

Strong enrollment and retention lead to higher graduation rates, reduced revenue loss, and an improved institutional reputation. Driving college or university enrollment and retention involves pinpointing relevant Persistence, Progression, Retention, and Completion (PPRC) metrics, gathering data from all angles (think systems, surveys, records), and using those insights to craft action plans.

We delve deeper into this area by tracking:

  • Enrollment rate: Percentage of applicants who accept and enroll in the program.
  • Retention rate: Percentage of students who continue their studies from one semester/year to the next.
  • Time-to-degree completion: Average time it takes students to graduate.
  • Student satisfaction: Overall satisfaction with the educational experience, measured through surveys or feedback.
  • Application start rate: Percentage of people who begin an application.
  • Application completed rate: Percentage of people who finish and submit an application.
  • New student start rates: Percentage of accepted students who actually begin their studies.
Infographic displaying key performance indicators (KPIs) for enrollment and retention in an educational institution. KPIs include: enrollment rate, retention rate, time to degree completion, student satisfaction, application start rate, application completion rate, and new student start rates. Each KPI is visually represented with an icon or chart for easy understanding.

Financial and Operational Performance

A healthy financial and operational performance ensures sustainability, resource optimization, and the ability to reinvest in student success. We monitor:

  • Cost per student: Average cost of educating each student.
  • Tuition revenue: Income generated from student tuition fees.
  • Fundraising and philanthropic support: Donations and grants received to support the institution.
  • Return on investment: Measurable benefit in relation to resources invested.
  • Operational cost savings: Reductions in operational expenses without compromising quality.
Infographic presenting key performance indicators (KPIs) for financial and operational performance of an educational institution. KPIs include: cost per student, tuition revenue, fundraising and philanthropic support, return on investment, and operational cost savings.

Student Engagement and Learning Outcomes

High student engagement and successful learning outcomes translate to greater student satisfaction, improved graduate employability, and a boost to your institution’s reputation. Track the following key performance indicators:

  • Online engagement metrics: Measures of student interaction and participation in online learning platforms.
  • Participation in extracurricular activities: Level of student involvement in non-academic activities.
  • Career readiness outcomes: Success of graduates in securing employment and achieving career goals.
  • Course completion rates: Percentage of students who successfully complete each course.
  • Student-faculty ratios: Number of students assigned to each faculty member.
  • Graduation rates: Percentage of students graduating within the expected or predefined timeframe.
  • Alumni Engagement: Level of engagement and involvement of graduates with the institution.
Infographic showcasing KPIs related to student engagement, learning outcomes, and alumni involvement. KPIs include: online engagement metrics , participation in extracurricular activities, career readiness outcomes, course completion rates, student-faculty ratios, graduation rates, and alumni engagement.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Fostering a diverse and inclusive environment promotes equity in student success, attracts a wider talent pool, and strengthens your community. We assess:

  • Student body demographics: Representation of different ethnicities, genders, socioeconomic backgrounds, etc. in the student population.
  • Faculty diversity: Representation of different groups among faculty members.
  • Graduation rates for underrepresented groups: Success rates of students from minority or disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • Climate surveys: Assessments of the campus environment in terms of inclusivity and belonging.
  • DEI program participations: Number of students, faculty, and staff engaging in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
  • Cultural competency training for staff: Efforts to equip staff with knowledge and skills to support a diverse student body.
Infographic displaying Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) KPIs relevant to colleges and universities. KPIs include: student body demographics (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender), faculty diversity (representation of diverse identities), graduation rates for underrepresented groups, climate surveys (assessing inclusivity and belonging), DEI program participation (engagement in diversity initiatives), and cultural competency training for staff (developing understanding and skills to interact respectfully with diverse groups).

Brand Reputation and Marketing Effectiveness

Effective marketing strategies to increase student enrollment play a key role in establishing a strong brand reputation and contributing to a positive public image.
We monitor these key performance indicators:

  • Website traffic: Number of visitors to the institution’s website.
  • Social media engagement: Likes, shares, comments, and other interactions on social media platforms.
  • Brand awareness: Recognition and familiarity with the institution by the target audience.
  • Brand sentiment analysis: Understanding public perception and opinion of the institution.
  • Lead generation: Number of potential students identified through marketing efforts.
  • Conversion rate: Percentage of leads who actually enroll in the program.
  • Student referral rates: Number of new students enrolled through recommendations from current or former students.
  • Cost per acquisition: Average cost of acquiring a new student through marketing campaigns.
 Infographic showcasing KPIs for brand reputation and marketing effectiveness of colleges and universities. KPIs include: website traffic (number of visitors), social media engagement (likes, shares, comments), brand awareness (recognition and familiarity), brand sentiment analysis (public perception), lead generation (potential student identification), conversion rate (leads enrolled), student referral rates (new students from recommendations), and cost per acquisition (average marketing cost per new student).

Implementing KPIs for Success

You’ve chosen your key performance indicators (KPIs). But hold up, don’t get lost in a sea of data just yet. We must translate those fancy metrics into real action.

First things first, let’s talk SMART goals. Ditch the vague aspirations and define clear, measurable objectives. Instead of “improve student satisfaction,” aim for “increase student satisfaction score by 5% within the next semester.” See how much more focused and actionable that is?

Data is your fuel, but dashboards are your engine. Imagine analyzing spreadsheets manually – cumbersome, right? Data visualization tools and dashboards are your secret weapons for making sense of all that information. They reveal trends, highlight areas for improvement and showcase your progress in a clear, digestible way.

Collaboration is key. Don’t work in silos! Involve different departments – admissions, finance, academics, marketing – everyone who plays a role in achieving your goals. Share your KPIs, gather their insights and work together to track progress and make informed decisions. Remember, a data-driven culture thrives on shared ownership and collective action.

Remember, adaptability is your superpower. The higher education landscape is dynamic, so your KPIs should be too. Review and update them based on new priorities, data-driven insights and feedback regularly. Be flexible, be responsive and embrace continuous improvement as your guiding principle.

Your Roadmap to Strategic Success

Navigating the ever-evolving terrain of higher education demands clear direction and informed action. This journey starts with identifying the KPIs that truly matter to your institution.

Look beyond generic metrics and pinpoint the indicators that align with your unique strategic objectives. Whether it’s boosting enrollment and retention, optimizing financial sustainability or fostering a thriving student experience, the right KPIs become your personalized roadmap to success.

But remember, data alone doesn’t drive progress. Data fuels progress, but action unlocks potential. Collaborate across departments, leverage data visualization tools and continuously refine your KPIs for maximum impact.

Ready to unleash the power of data-driven decisions? Partner with EDDY to identify crucial KPIs, develop effective strategies to increase student enrollment, and track progress toward sustainable growth. Together, we can turn your data into a powerful force for positive change and empower your institution to reach its full potential.

Take the first step today! Contact EDDY to learn how we can help you leverage the power of KPIs and achieve your strategic goals.