Aurora University (Illinois)

Aurora University has enjoyed a long and successful partnership with Ruffalo Noel Levitz dating back over 17 years.

A long history of enrollment success


Aurora University (Aurora), a four-year, private university in Chicago’s western suburbs has enjoyed a long and successful partnership with Ruffalo Noel Levitz (RNL) and the RNL Class Optimizer dating back over 17 years. Ruffalo Noel Levitz first arrived on campus in 1999 to assess the university’s enrollment center, which was overcoming years where financial aid was seen as a budgeted expense rather than employing financial aid leveraging and effectively using discounting to increase net revenue. What began as “Admissions 101” for the enrollment team has grown into a long, trusting, and successful partnership, and now Aurora University has one of the most vibrant and flourishing student bodies among similar institutions.

Continuing to use RNL Class Optimizer's modeling and enrollment tools without increasing the university’s recruitment expense budget is a testament to strategic use of data but also to the buy-in of new and emerging strategies and immediate adoption amongst university officials. RNL data and expertise provide the roadmap for the university to follow, but the university’s trust in RNL and willingness to accept and implement the strategies provide the foundation for success.


  • 19 percent growth in new student enrollment, from 852 to 1,022, over the last 5 years.
  • 233 percent growth in new student enrollment over the last 17 years, from 300 to more than 1,000 students.
  • $3.2 million increase in net revenue (33 percent) over the last five years.
  • $11.2 million increase in net revenue, from $1.5 million to $12.7 million over the last 17 years.
  • Doubled Hispanic student enrollment in the last five years (currently 35 percent).
  • Doubled minority student enrollment in the last five years (currently 51 percent).
  • 10 percent improvement in new student retention rates from 64 percent to 74 percent.
  • Increased net revenue through effective management of their discount rate.


“After working with the Advanced FinAid Solutions tool for 17 years, it’s the one thing we couldn’t do without. It allows us to leverage our limited dollars to bring in the class that we want.”

James Lancaster
Assistant Vice President for Enrollment

“We appreciate the speed by which our consultants get back to us. [They] never seem to be bothered by our questions and almost always have a strategy that we can implement right away.”

Donna DeSpain
Vice President for Enrollment

Case study used with the permission of Aurora University.

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