FastWeb Helps College With Recruitment

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FastWeb, an online resource tool for high school and college students, generated nearly 1,400 recruitment leads for a Michigan university via e-mail and direct mail campaigns, the company announced recently. The multichannel drive, which began in July, has produced 27 applications to date.


FastWeb, Skokie, IL, which claims to have a database of 7 million students, launched the campaign by sending e-mails to 2,800 students who met pre-set qualifiers for Kettering University, Flint, MI. Upon registering with FastWeb, students are required to fill out a profile form that contains about 50 points of contact information.


Kettering University followed up with students who responded to the e-mails by mailing them university brochures. Response rates for either campaign were unavailable, Kettering representatives said.


The recruitment campaign is the third of its kind for the university. In 1999, according to Kettering, the university received 2,500 inquiries and enrolled 200 students, one-third of its incoming class that year, using FastWeb. In the recruitment campaign for the 2000 incoming class, FastWeb produced 4,100 leads that turned into 150 applications for Kettering. About 30 of those applicants matriculated.


"Using a tool that sometimes can appear very cold, which is e-mail," said Julie Ulseth, Kettering's director of marketing, "FastWeb has worked with us on relationship building and getting to these students in a timely fashion."


Ulseth said FastWeb -- www.fastweb.com -- also generated leads for Kettering through other Web marketing vehicles. FastWeb, for example, flashes a Kettering banner ad to new registrants who match the university's qualifiers. FastWeb also helps Kettering drive traffic to its Web site, www.kettering.edu, by providing a hyperlink in the e-mails that go to students, she said.


Using a pricing model that charges per lead, FastWeb charged Kettering $20,000 for the first 1,200 leads it used for its 2001 recruitment drive. The university recently signed up for another 1,200 leads, Ulseth said.


"My goal was to get 1,200 leads by December, but I got them by the second week in September," Ulseth said. "And that wasn't even during the heavy recruiting time."


In its recruitment campaigns, FastWeb targets high school guidance counselors and college admission administrators as well as students. The company has targeted more than 20,000 high schools and 3,600 colleges or universities nationwide, FastWeb representatives said. About 12,000 high schools and 3,000 higher-education programs have responded, the representatives said.


Working from lists of national education groups it rented from various sources, FastWeb ran direct mail campaigns this year in hopes of increasing its membership among educators and parents, said FastWeb President Tom Lubin.


"We give them some of the tools necessary for them to communicate with the students for getting free money for school," Lubin said.


FastWeb has a database of 500,000 financial awards that represent more than $1 billion in scholarship opportunities, Lubin said.


Kettering University promotes FastWeb to its own database of parents and high school counselors through its Web site and e-mail newsletter, Ulseth said. The university provides a hyperlink in its e-mails to drive parents, counselors and students to the FastWeb site, she said.


"We want to promote FastWeb for financial aid opportunities," Ulseth said. "We want our kids to come with more than just our scholarships."


From its partnership with FastWeb, Kettering potentially stands to gain major return on investment, Ulseth said. Kettering's tuition in 1999 was $14,112, including room and board. Without the 200 students who enrolled that year via FastWeb's service, Kettering would have lost nearly $14 million in revenue over that four-year span, Ulseth said.


And Ulseth expects the numbers to increase.


"Because the Web has grown tremendously and the sophistication of the student using the Web is changing hand over fist every single year," she said, "those conversion rates are making excellent strides in exceeding the number of leads we've had over the last couple of years."
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