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Dramatic gains in enrollment by investing resources where they count

Texas State University Texas State University Case Study


Texas State University’s enrollment revolution started small with an effort to grow the inquiry pool. Previous student search efforts had resulted in a disappointing response rate, so the campus team sought an analytical, data-driven solution that would meet enrollment needs in a big way.

The university’s partnership with Ruffalo Noel Levitz began with boosting student search efforts using RNL Demand Builder. The university got rid of their ineffective mail search piece and started fresh with email communication to a smaller, more targeted population identified through analytics. RNL provided the enrollment team with lists of qualified inquiries, which allowed admissions staff to focus on follow-up.

Buying names young helped grow the pool of prospective students who see Texas State as their first-choice school. Students in 8ththrough 10th grade were included in an email campaign. After 10th grade, they were rolled into a junior campaign before entering the heavier recruitment stage in 11th grade and beyond. A transfer application generation campaign combined with a push for transfer inquiries from Phi Theta Kappa and other relevant sources was crucial, as well as conducting a search for international students. The application campaign used RNL Applicant Cultivator.

Building a first-of-its-kind joint call center with Advancement to help meet both enrollment and fundraising goals created synergy between enrollment efforts and fundraising efforts, allowing callers to be more sophisticated and strategic in their approach.


These strategies brought quick success, jumping the response rate and doubling that rate again when newly crafted mailings were added back to the communications flow. Over the course of their long-standing relationship with RNL, Texas State achieved a:

  • 45.8 percent growth in freshman enrollment over five years, from 3,930 to 5,730 freshmen.
  • Quality of the class was maintained, as 52 percent of freshmen rank in the top quarter of their high school class, and nearly 95 percent rank in the top half of their class.
  • Freshman diversity has steadily increased to 55 percent non-Anglo enrollment, including new highs for Hispanic and African American students. Additionally, the out-of-state market has increased with relatively little travel, allowing admissions counselors to conserve resources.

Texas State has embraced future-focused thinking to harness the power of their data in ways they hadn’t previously considered.


“I’m impressed with the data I get from Ruffalo Noel Levitz. It helps drive our decision making. One thing I like about them, in particular, is they have the breadth of knowledge that comes from working with other schools, so you know if you are on the right track. If you are doing this alone, you don’t know – is this good or isn’t it? I’m also impressed that Ruffalo Noel Levitz wants to work with us to try new things. They are willing to try things that stretch their comfort level as well as ours.”

Stephanie Anderson
Assistant Vice President of Enrollment Management

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Case study used with the permission of Texas State University.