What did we learn about students, donors, parents, and campuses in 2021?

Home2021 Enrollment and Fundraising Research from RNL

2021 marked a major transition for higher education: stepping out of the lockdowns of 2020 toward the “new normal” of the post-pandemic world. This year’s research from RNL reflected that transition, as we conducted research into prospective and current students, young alumni, parents, and higher ed strategies and practices.

We invite you to dive into the findings in the following reports, free for you to download. You can also find insights from our experts in our higher ed blog. And if you want to discuss how you can reach your goals, reach out and we’ll set up a time to talk.

Undergraduate and graduate student expectations during the search process

2021 Graduate Student Report

RNL published two key reports on how students search for colleges and programs. The 2021 E-Expectations Report looks at how college-bound high school students are searching for colleges the year after the pandemic. And our new series on Graduate Student Recruitment polled more than 5,000 graduate students on how they look for programs of study.


Graduate student marketing and recruitment practices

2021 Graduate Marketing Practices

Which graduate student recruitment practices are used the most and rated the most effective by enrollment managers? RNL polled campus professionals and analyzed 26 findings on key topics in graduate recruitment and marketing, including findings on admissions practices, communications, online/in-person/hybrid offerings, and more.


Engaging young alumni

Young Alumni Engagement

What motivates young alumni to give back to their institutions? What can colleges and universities do to better engage their recent graduates and excite them about philanthropy? This survey of 7,000 young alumni conducted by RNL and the Schuler Education Foundation offers key insights for fundraising professionals.

New financial aid benchmarks

2021 Discounting Report

The 2021 Discounting Report for Four-Year Institutions contains 16 sets of financial aid benchmarks on discount rate, net revenue, and more. These metrics allow you to compare your results to peer institutions and identify opportunities to optimize your financial aid awarding.


The latest research on student retention and success

2021 Student Retention Practices

Every year RNL publishes reports on student motivations and satisfaction, with data pulled from hundreds of thousands of student surveys. We also polled campus professionals on the student retention practices they find most effective.


Research on family motivations, behaviors, and concerns

2021 Prospective Family Survey

Nearly all parents are involved in the college search process at some level. When properly engaged, they can become enrollment champions for your institution. But what are the best ways to engage them, and what are the issues and concerns that are most pressing? These three research reports tackled these issues at different stages of enrollment.