According to the Association of Colleges (AOC), there have already been six newly created colleges in 2018 thanks to mergers, a further eight are in the pipeline in 2018 and two others are planned where a college will merge with a university. That’s compared to just 11 mergers in total in 2016 and 29 mergers in 2017. Funding pressures from government mean that many colleges are looking to make savings and efficiencies by merging together to create larger more connected and resourceful institutions. Since the 2015 general election, there has been an increase in the number of colleges merging and official encouragement by the government to do so to deliver on the savings.
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges of merging is delivering a new larger ‘identity’ to the students and making sure that student retention is not affected by the change. Mergers provide the impetus for the new entity to deliver a connected experience for their students, bring together the colleges technically, digitally and under one new identity, and far from jeopardising student retention – improving it.
Here’s our checklist for improving student retention in a college merger:
- Don’t rip and replace! Make the most of existing IT investments by delivering them through a single digital environment. One digital identity delivered on the students’ chosen device. Installing an integrated solution eliminates the number of interfaces, passwords and help desk time required.
- Make sure the digital campus is centre stage; it can be the difference between merger success and failure.
- Deliver a new brand identity to students with immediate effect. A new look digital college can be delivered almost overnight.
- Bring staff and students together quickly across the newly formed college – communication and collaboration can be simple with a digital offering.
- Make sure you’re comparing like with like; do both organisations measure KPI’s from the same starting and end point? Be careful not to choose your digital campus environment based on the wrong performance data.
- Don’t forget the project management costs; your IT merger team will have to be removed from other duties to achieve merger success, and their roles back-filled. Pick a solution that delivers what students need quickly and cost effectively to meet their expectations.
- Always put the student at the centre of your choice. What will make their lives and your employees lives easier and how will that drive your digital agenda?
Would you like to understand how myday can help to deliver a college merger?