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RNL Higher Education Conference Achieves Record Attendance

The 2019 RNL National Conference sets record for highest attendance in its 33-year history

August 2, 2019—RNL®, leading provider of higher education enrollment management, student success, and fundraising solutions, set a record attendance for its 2019 RNL National Conference with more than 1,660 registrants. The event took place July 24-26 in Nashville, Tennessee.

The RNL National Conference is the most comprehensive higher education conference, with session tracks that span the complete student lifecycle: student marketing and recruitment, student success and completion, and alumni engagement and philanthropy. This year’s event featured 150 sessions spanning all three areas, with presenters including campus professionals, industry experts, and RNL consultants who average more than a decade of higher education experience each.

One recurring theme across many sessions was how the growing expectation of personalization has greatly changed enrollment and fundraising. As institutions build relationships with prospective students and cultivate the philanthropic impulses of donors, they have found that their constituents expect a level of 1:1 personalized communication that institutions must now deliver at scale.

“Personalization at scale is both the great opportunity and the daunting challenge for higher education,” said RNL President and CEO Dr. Sumit Nijhawan. “Our experiences with retailers like Amazon, content providers such as Netflix, social media, and many other organizations have set a high expectation for personalization with students and alumni. Campuses are turning to us to ask, how can we create these interactions among tens or even hundreds of thousands of constituents with our limited resources?”

The answer suggested by Dr. Nijhawan during his opening presentation and by many other presenters at the conference was automation, artificial intelligence, and digital channels. Solutions such as AI chatbots, marketing automation, and advanced behavioral learning allow colleges and universities to deliver personalized experiences 24/7 to vast audiences, such as personalized financial aid videos detailing a student’s award. RNL put this into practice with conference attendees by sending each one a personalized welcome video customized to their area of interest—enrollment, student success, or fundraising—using the same technology they offer for college recruitment.

“Judging by what we saw at the RNL National Conference and what we’re experiencing with our campus clients, they are clamoring for these advances,” said Robert Heil, chief business development officer and a former campus enrollment manager. “Campus leaders across the board realize the enormous potential of this type of 1:1 engagement to move students closer to enrolling, completing their educations, and giving back to their alma maters. We anticipate significant growth at RNL as we continue to make automation, AI, and digital engagement integral to our enrollment and fundraising solutions.”

Next year’s RNL National Conference will be held July 8-10, 2020, in Chicago, Illinois.

About RNL

RNL is the leading provider of higher education enrollment, student success, and fundraising solutions. The firm serves more than 1,900 colleges and universities through data-driven solutions focused on the entire lifecycle of enrollment and fundraising, assuring students find the right program, graduate on time, secure their first job in their chosen field, and give back to support the next generation. With a deep knowledge of the industry, RNL provides institutions the ability to scale their efforts by tapping into a community of support and resources.