Student Relationship Management (SRM) in Higher Education: Addressing the Expectations of an Ever Evolving Demographic and Its Impact on Retention
Michael Fontaine

How are today’s students being retained in academic programs in institutions of higher education around the country? What are some of the demographic and psychographic shifts that have occurred in today’s society that forces business education to not only look at to whom to market, but more specifically, how. What are the needs and demands of some of the fastest growing demographics? First and foremost, we must understand who are they; what they want; and how we can most effectively and efficiently give it to them.Students are seeking university education that may help them enter in the job markets and they are selecting universities and colleges which meet their own standards. The idea of economic self-sufficiency and commoditization of higher education have also depicted students as fee paying customers and universities and colleges are switching from teacher-centered to student-centered approaches for attracting and retaining students. At the start of the new millennium, enrollment managers now faced global competition from other universities for students. This increased competition convinced them that retaining current students was as critical to meeting enrollment goals as recruiting new students (Helgesen, 2008). Their thinking was influenced in part by marketing researchers in the for-profit community discovering that marketing to existing customers to secure their loyalty should be just as high a priority for businesses as marketing to new customers (Berry, 1995).

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