A Look into the Status and Impact of the Higher Education Act

The Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) is one of the many bills that has gone through myriad rounds of reauthorization and political discussion over the years and is currently in a politically interesting state of deconstruction and reform. Unlike some other bills, the HEA is supposed to be examined and renewed every five years according to what has been agreed upon by Congress at the time of the signing. This is to ensure alignment with current university standards and structures as well as current technology, political climate and anti-discrimination efforts.

The last reauthorization of the HEA, however, was in 2008 and it officially expired in 2013. Since this expiration, the 2008 HEA has been extended while Congress works through amendments and changes to the Act. To date, there has not been consensus on the reauthorization. Why is that and what is the current status of the HEA?

Currently, there are two HEA bills that are being considered by the House. On the Republican side there is the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity Through Education Reform Act (PROSPER), while the Democrats have introduced the Aim Higher Act. These bills were proposed in 2017 and 2018 respectively. As the majority in 2017, the Republican bill, PROSPER, was contended over and approved by the Republican party, however, it was unable to advance to a vote on the floor. As the current majority, the Democrats Aim Higher Act is currently the forerunner working through approval and towards the floor.

While both parties definitively agree that a major overhaul of the HEA is in order, PROSPER and Aim Higher would like to ratify different portions of the HEA.

A quick rundown summary on these bills:


  • Seeks to simplify loans and grants into one of each – The Pell Grant and the proposed Federal ONE loan
  • Would award an additional $300 Pell Grant for higher academic workload
  • Would maximize lifetime loans at $60,250 for undergraduates and $150,000 for graduates. These would not go into deferment while a student is attending university and would continue to accrue interest.
  • Simplifies FAFSA
  • Seeks to eliminate the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program

Aim Higher

  • Simplifies FAFSA and implements lowest income groups receiving a Pell Grant w/o answering additional questions
  • Would expand Pell Grants for lowest income students
  • Seeks to prohibit for-profit universities spending less than 50% of tuition revenue on education/teaching from using federal funding on marketing, lobbying or advertising
  • Seeks to add completion rates and workforce participation rates to accreditation factors
  • Would allow DREAMers and prisoners to be granted federal financial aid for post-secondary education

As you can see, each bill has a dramatically different impact on both students seeking higher education as well as on the institutions providing education and doling out loans.

Because each bill is so radically different in its approach, there are staunch supporters and opposers of each bill and that divide is deeply impacting each bills’ ability to come to the floor for a vote. Interestingly enough, the support around both bills centers on how each individual bill will stimulate the workforce and effectively promote the ability for students to receive post-secondary education.

The opposition, however, is more nuanced. Opponents of PROPSER believe that it puts corporate and for-profit interests above the interest of the students, makes it more difficult for low- and middle-income students to pay for college and repay loans, lessens accountability standards on institutions, cuts about $15 billion (14.6 to be exact) from federal student aid and generally promotes taking financial advantage of students. On the other side, opponents of Aim Higher believe that the bill does nothing to actually lower costs to students, does not address an underlying problem in post-secondary education costs nor why post-secondary education is so costly to begin with and instead simply gives out more financial aid while being skewed towards special interest groups.

In the current political climate, the HEA reauthorization has been stalled out for years. However, there has been speculation that a renewed effort to reauthorize HEA will be taking place this year as the chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), will not be seeking reelection in 2020. As the chair, Alexander has been a leading voice for higher education since 2003 and seen each attempt to reauthorize the HEA since its expiration. He has also called for bi-partisan input from the community for HEA reauthorization. Hopefully, his announcement will spur action and we will see a reauthorization to the HEA and the debates can be put to rest.










CallMiner: Aspects of Improvement Within Call Center Regulations

By CallMiner

Call center regulations are complex. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), for instance, requires debt collectors to disclose the purpose of their written or oral communications at the start of every contact (the mini-Miranda). Additionally, the FDCPA has strict requirements that stipulate when, where, and with whom a debt collector may communicate with consumers. All of these requirements aim to protect consumers from unfair debt collection practices. As the debt collection industry continues to grow, more debt collection agencies turn to interaction analytics to improve agent performance while also mitigating compliance risks.

There are myriad other regulations that apply to call centers as well, from the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) to HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) to myriad state-specific regulations. Still, call center regulations aren’t perfect, and there’s plenty of room for improvement. To find out what today’s consumers, businesses, and call centers would improve about call center regulations, we reached out to a panel of call center pros and business leaders and asked them to answer this question:

“If you could wave a magic wand to improve one aspect of call center regulations, what would it be?”

Joe Laskowski was one of the 19 featured business leaders and experts asked to answer CallMiner’s question:

joe laskowski

Joe Laskowski is the Managing Partner and Chief Marketing Officer at Higher Ed Growth and LeadsCouncil board member. Higher Ed Growth (HEG) is a full-service marketing agency specializing in post-secondary education.

“Adhering to regulations is an integral part of all call center activities…”

And the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) certainly outlines some of the most important requirements. From reassigned number liability to revocation of consent, the TCPA continues to be re-examined in the courts. The present-day rulings shape the environment in which call centers can engage with leads, and it is important for call centers to stay on top of changes.

One pain point for call centers in particular? The variability in TCPA consents. Many clients require specific TCPA statements for their brand, which is hard to scale and automate. It would be more effective for centers to have one client-approved TCPA that can dynamically integrate brand names. It is a much more seamless process for agents and reduces the risk of TCPA statements being missed or misread.

Read all of the responses to call center improvement on CallMiner.com: https://callminer.com/blog/19-experts-reveal-the-one-aspect-of-call-center-regulations-theyd-improve/

LeadsCon 2019: The Top 5 Trends

By Joe Laskowski

March is always an exciting time at Higher Ed Growth (HEG), as it means the team is heading to Las Vegas for LeadsCon. We always look forward to the opportunity of LeadsCon to connect with other leaders in our industry and learn from one another, gauging where the future of lead generation is heading. Last year, there was a feeling of renewed belief in lead generation coming out of LeadsCon. This year, it is clear that growth and expansion is the common theme in the future of lead generation.

From the Higher Ed Growth Team, these were the five biggest trends and takeaways from LeadsCon 2019.


At the conference, many organizations were discussing expansion into new verticals in the upcoming year. These companies are realizing that their processes and technologies can be utilized across multiple verticals, and are now looking to diversify their offerings to encompass previously unexplored verticals. This growth within organizations can be, in part, attributed to the changes in several industries, and the reactionary decisions that these companies are embracing in order to maintain their edge.

Marketing to Millennials and Generation Z

Much like the new advances that we noted last year in lead generation, the marketing towards Millennials and Generation Z is continuing to evolve. Social media is beginning to play a much larger role in winning over the younger generations and marketers are learning how to utilize mobile to generate and follow through on leads. We can expect to see continued growth in marketing within platforms like Snapchat, SMS, Instagram, and other mobile applications going forward. 

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is also becoming more widespread among the lead generation industry. More and more companies are producing and utilizing this technology to focus on customer engagement through conversational interactions with potential leads. These interactions are not necessarily limited to one application or device, and are being applied to leads on websites, SMS, email, chat, voice calls etc. AI technology is increasingly being used to grow contact rates in call centers and create actionable insights in data.


Unsurprisingly, with the changes and developments to technology that are appearing, automation is also becoming more widespread across the industry. Automation includes uploading recordings, collecting and analyzing data, updating and optimizing campaigns and using IVRs. By using automation, organizations are better able to work through leads and send them in the right directions downstream, streamlining the process within the company and promoting growth within the industry.


Underlying each of the major themes we’ve previously noted is data. Data is now and will continue to remain king. Data is an ever-growing need and want for the successful operation of any organization within the industry. The successful utilization of data within a company allows for the overall success and optimization of their digital marketing efforts, their call centers, and just about any other aspect of their business. Because data is so vital at every stage of the lead lifecycle, companies that utilize and share their data with partners will continue to thrive, while others will fall short.

LeadsCon 2019: Growth and Modernization Lead the Way

In every industry, growth has always been key, and lead generation is no different. LeadsCon 2019 has shown that the industry is going strong. We are taking strides to develop and utilize new technologies and strategies to better the industry overall, exploring new verticals and expanding the ways in which we advertise to potential leads. Maintaining relevancy and evolving with our potential leads is exciting stuff and gives us a thrilling look at the direction that lead generation and marketing is heading. 

Higher Ed Growth Receives LeadsCouncil Award in Excellence

Higher Ed Growth Receives LeadsCouncil Award in Excellence

Recognized for Excellence in Marketing Services

TEMPE, Ariz. — March 13, 2019 — Higher Ed Growth, a full-service marketing agency, announced today that it received the 2018 Excellence in Marketing Services Award, presented by LeadsCouncil.

The LeadsCouncil presented their annual Awards in Excellence during LeadsCon 2019 in Las Vegas. These awards are presented every year to the top lead generators, aggregators and lead technology companies across categories such as customer service, lead generation and marketing. Each year, the LeadsCouncil fields nominations for hundreds of companies for the Awards in Excellence and selects the best organizations for each category presented. The purpose of these awards is to distinguish the superior work of these companies in an officially recognized capacity.

The recipients of the Awards in Excellence are voted on by members of the LeadsCouncil and other companies within the industry, ensuring that the “best” organization in each category is selected. The LeadsCouncil Awards in Excellence make it easier for organizations that utilize lead generation services to discover and understand which companies may best fit their lead generation or marketing needs.

This year there were six categories for the Awards in Excellence:

  • Excellence in Lead Generation Services
  • Excellence in Marketing Services
  • Excellence in Innovation
  • Excellence in Compliance Services
  • Excellence in Call Center Services
  • Excellence in Customer Service (B2B or B2C)

Higher Ed Growth was nominated for four of the six categories this year. Their nominations included Excellence in Lead Generation Services, Excellence in Marketing Services (received), Excellence in Call Center Services and Excellence in Customer Service.

“We are so thrilled to receive this recognition amongst so many well-known and respected nominees,” said Joe Laskowski, Managing Partner and CMO of Higher Ed Growth. “The timing of this award is perfect as we expand into other industries with our new multi-vertical brand, Inquir. I’m extremely proud of our team and their enthusiasm to carry that reputation to new heights.”

Higher Ed Growth was also nominated in 2017 for Excellence in Customer Service and Excellence in Lead Generation.

About Higher Ed Growth

Higher Ed Growth (HEG) is a full-service marketing agency where innovation, experience and technology are merged together to deliver targeted prospects to clients. As a company, Higher Ed Growth endeavors to surmount market challenges through the application of intelligent technology solutions. Higher Ed Growth strives to observe the principles of the LeadsCouncil by adhering to industry best practices, upholding their belief in maintaining a strong association with vendors, buyers and sellers, sharing information across the industry and maintaining and delivering high ethical standards and self-regulation of compliance. For more information, visit www.higheredgrowth.com

Higher Ed Growth Acquires CalmCircle

Higher ed growth_calmcircle

Higher Ed Growth Announces Acquisition, Expands Higher Education Marketing Services

Equity interest acquisition of CalmCircle stress and sleep management platform for education

TEMPE, Ariz. — January 9, 2019 — Higher Ed Growth (HEG), a full-service marketing agency specializing in post-secondary education, announced today that it has acquired an equity interest in CalmCircle, an online stress and sleep management platform. CalmCircle’s research-based curriculum for postsecondary students will enhance Higher Ed Growth’s services and solutions for colleges, universities and education partners. Additionally, CalmCircle’s application in other high-stress environments – such as corporate workplaces and healthcare institutions – will allow HEG to expand as a global service provider across industries.

Expanded Services

Founded in 2007, Higher Ed Growth’s focus has been to help education partners overcome challenges in EDU marketing, streamlining compliance and driving quality student-to-school matches. The CalmCircle acquisition allows the EDU marketing firm to provide partners with greater support throughout the student education journey, including retention, to further drive graduation rates and better student outcomes.

“We’re excited to help our partners find success beyond enrollments,” said Joe Laskowski, Managing Partner and Chief Marketing Officer at Higher Ed Growth. “Countless studies show how closely related student well-being is to academic performance, retention and outcomes. We weren’t seeing anything in the marketplace that addressed this connection in a simple and comprehensive way, and we’re excited to offer the solution in 2019. This solution also has widespread use beyond students – corporate employees and healthcare workers can benefit immensely from the stress management practices CalmCircle offers.”

Stress & Sleep Management

The CalmCircle platform was developed in response to high stress levels and poor sleep quality commonly found in student and employee demographics. The guided practice features research-driven methods for reducing the psychological and physiological impacts of stress and developing healthy sleep habits. The program is customizable and includes breathing exercises, mindfulness, meditation, and relaxation techniques. Most sessions are five minutes or less to accommodate busy schedules.

“Higher Ed Growth has been a long-standing advisor for our company and helped drive technology innovation and strategic direction,” said Patricia Kinney, founder of CalmCircle. “This new alignment will allow us to provide mental rest and sleep support to students and those in high-stress environments on a much larger scale. Together, we can help schools and workplaces realize the many benefits that balanced and healthy environments can offer — from engagement and retention to the bottom line. Joining HEG, we look forward to making an even greater impact in education and to also head in some exciting new directions.”

CalmCircle Studies

A CalmCircle pilot program with Arizona State University showed that 84 percent of participating students experienced reduced stress and 41 percent noted better sleep quality. The program has similarly been integrated into primary and secondary schools with promising results – at one middle school, students saw a 32 percent improvement in sleep and 14 percent decrease in stress levels. In both programs, participants also noted a stronger sense of self-compassion, mindfulness, and ability to stay on task.

New Verticals: Corporate & Healthcare

CalmCircle has also proven successful for stress management and mental rest in the workplace. At one global company, 62 percent of participating employees stated that CalmCircle helped them manage stress. CalmCircle users also saw a 26 percent increase in efficiency compared to non-users. In addition to education and corporate services, CalmCircle will begin offering its product to healthcare institutions this year.

“We’re looking forward to bringing CalmCircle to a wide range of organizations that could benefit from stress relief,” said Eric Flottmann, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer at Higher Ed Growth. “The technology has been carefully developed to be easily accessible and feature minimal time requirements. Pilot programs have shown the benefits are clear and far-reaching. This product will also help propel Higher Ed Growth’s current technology and services to new territories in 2019.”

To read more about CalmCircle pilot programs or to set up a demo, visit www.calmcircle.com.

About CalmCircle

CalmCircle is an online platform offering a research-driven stress and sleep management program. The curriculum centers on mental rest, stress management and sleep support. CalmCircle was initially developed to teach healthy habits to today’s heavily taxed college student and was a featured partner in the Huffington Post Sleep Revolution College Tour in Spring 2016. The company’s mission is to help users develop lifelong skills and maintain mental balance in everyday life, high-stress environments and other events – from the classroom to the workplace. The company has expanded to bring mental rest and stress relief to the education industry, corporate workplaces and healthcare institutions. To learn more, please visit www.calmcircle.com.

About Higher Ed Growth

Higher Ed Growth (HEG) is a full-service marketing agency specializing in post-secondary education. HEG merges innovation and experience to develop technology and marketing programs that support client enrollment goals and meet changing regulatory needs. In addition to lead generation, it offers fully managed Master Vendor Services, compliance monitoring, white label software solutions, inquiry management, and analytics – with the ultimate goal of boosting enrollment and retention numbers for clients. HEG was named one of the Best Places to Work in 2015, 2016 and 2017 by Phoenix Business Journal. The company was also featured as an Inc. magazine Best Workplace 2017 and on its list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in 2014, 2015 and 2016. For more information, visit www.higheredgrowth.com.

Speech Technology Magazine Feat: Quality Assurance

Higher Education Growth: Improving Quality Assurance with Call Recordings

By Theresa Cramer, Editor of Speech Technology Magazine


Company: Higher Ed Growth

Higher Ed Growth (HEG) develops services and solutions that help the right students be matched with the right colleges and universities. This means better student outcomes and success.


Business Challenge

Agents often have phone conversations with students. These calls play an important role in enrollments, but agents must adhere to strict Telephone Compliance Protection Act (TCPA) compliance guidelines and processes for efficiency. There are many opportunities for errors and compliance missteps throughout the EDU lead lifecycle — particularly during phone calls. The company needed a more efficient way of dealing with this challenge.


Vendor of Choice: CallMiner

CallMiner is a Massachusetts-based software company that develops speech analytics software. It was founded in 2002 and headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, with offices in Florida and the United Kingdom.


Quality Assurance: The Problem in Depth

Higher Ed Growth (HEG) develops services and solutions that help the right students be matched with the right colleges and universities. The company says this leads to better student outcomes and success.

“HEG is always looking to increase the quality of EDU leads and so much of the process hinges on the agent phone call and agent-student interactions,” says Eric Flottmann, chief operating officer at Higher Ed Growth. “In 2013, we were lacking the ability to analyze and derive actionable insights from call recordings. At this time, our call recordings were reviewed manually, which placed a considerable strain on our time and internal resources. Automated systems and better Business Intelligence around our calls would give us the opportunity to develop better, more efficient processes and drive higher quality leads for our education partners.”

Later, the company’s needs changed a bit. Flottmann says, “In 2018, HEG sought to further improve its average Quality Assurance (QA) score across the thousands of EDU agent representatives nationwide.” *


Quality Assurance: The Solution

For both challenges, the answer for HEG was CallMiner.

“We initially chose CallMiner for its ability to capture dialog and sentiment of agent-student interactions and automate agent scoring based on findings,” says Flottmann. “Equally important, its Eureka product would also automatically store all call recordings and provide resources for agent training purposes, which would strengthen compliance for our education partners.”

Implementing sophisticated software is never a small task, but it can be made easier with the help of  experienced professionals. “The CallMiner implementation process had a number of stages that allowed our team to work alongside their team and then also take more and more of the reins over time,” says Doug Peterson, quality assurance associate at Higher Ed Growth. “We were completely supported throughout the entire process. For instance, after the initial build-out in early stages, we weren’t seeing the desired results just yet; their team tackled listening to numerous call recordings after transcription with us to ensure the tweaks made to categories were working and increasing correct category hits. We learned a great deal over this process, and all tweaks and changes eventually brought us to an impressive 80-90% accuracy range of transcription.”


Quality Assurance: The Outcome

So what does success look like for HEG? “HEG uploads about 100 hours of call recordings daily to CallMiner in order to get a robust audit of our calls,” says Peterson. “We now utilize dynamic categories within CallMiner to flag a variety of quality points — from recording disclosures and approved language to contact verification.”

Prior to CallMiner, HEG was unable to track compliance by individual agents. Now, it can not only track compliance and other performance metrics to the agent level, it also had the data to set reasonable performance targets and better coach agents to achieve them.

Now that call recording was automated, Flottmann says, “The early results of this effort were overwhelmingly positive. Automating our QA Process streamlined our efforts and improved our throughput for manual review by 10x right away. There was also plenty of room for growth.” This allows HEG to more accurately and fairly reflected individual agent performance, improve quality and prevent future issues.

HEG says the analytics team was able to apply lessons from one client to another. For example, if a compliance violation occurred on one account, Higher Ed Growth was able to build safeguards against similar violations into the monitoring program for all accounts.

“The cost savings from pushing back non-compliant leads more than offset the additional cost of the third-party monitoring company,” says Flottmann.

Like all quality assurance programs, HEG’s is on-going. Peterson says, ”It’s been five years since initial implementation with CallMiner, and we’ve made a lot of improvements during this time. We implemented a few new strategies with CallMiner this year that improved the average QA score across all agents by 8.5 percentage points. Considering there are thousands and thousands of agents in our system nationwide, this was a significant improvement.” *


*Note from Higher Ed Growth: This is in reference to EDU leads processed via our systems and all agent representatives from our education partners. 


Click here to read the full article on Speech Technology Magazine.

Infographic: Top Online Degrees & Certificates in 2018

Infographic: Top Online Degrees, Certifications & Today’s Distance Learner

Workforce trends are changing at lightning speed as technology advances. Postsecondary students and current employees must keep pace, and higher education can help propel them forward in new ways.

This progression, however, may not look like the traditional degree path of the past. EDU institutions are rethinking programs and building upon (or in many ways, breaking) the traditional four-year mold to meet quickly changing student and employer needs.

Online degrees are proving to be one of the most successful alternative pathways, and this phenomenon is reflected in data. Higher Ed Growth’s SIMPLE solutions and technologies have captured enrollment data from hundreds of its postsecondary institution clients nationwide for the 2017-2018 school year. Here are the top online degrees and trends, as well as a look at how distance learning addresses the nontraditional student of today and the workforce of the future. Click the infographic below to enlarge. 


online degrees 2018 HEG Infographic

Infographic: The State of Trade School Enrollments

Enrollments in trade schools and apprenticeships have had a positive outlook in recent years. Trade schools (also recognized as vocational colleges) give students the skills and education required to succeed in a specific career. Apprenticeships, on the other hand, combine on-the-job training with schooling.  These forms of education are important since there are currently millions of jobs vacant that require technical and vocational training.

Higher Ed Growth has analyzed trade school enrollments for the Fall 2017 – Spring 2018 school year from its postsecondary education partners. We’ve identified some of the top programs for enrollment, along with their career outlook.

Read our latest infographic on The State of Trade School Enrollments. Click the infographic below to enlarge.

The State of Trade School Enrollments

CECU 2018: Student Success Takes Center Stage

CECU 2018_ Joe Laskowski Next Gen of EDU Marketing


This op-ed is written by Joe Laskowski, Managing Partner and Chief Marketing Officer of Higher Ed Growth, a full-service agency that specializes in the post-secondary education industry and CECU member. Laskowski was a CECU 2018 speaker.

The 2018 CECU Convention & Exposition was held in Orlando in early June, encapsulating everything that the organization does best: bringing together top Higher Education institutions and sector leaders in a thoughtful forum to exchange expert insights and best practices. As a longstanding sponsor, Higher Ed Growth helped lead conversations around the next generation of EDU marketing, attended inspiring keynotes and connected with colleagues. Based on these important talks, here our top takeaways from CECU 2018.

There is renewed focus on vocational schools and technical programs. The conference saw a groundswell of support for trade schools as one of the most effective solutions to the growing skills gap.

Keynote Speaker Seth Mattison, a renowned expert on workforce trends and generational dynamics, spoke to the connection between the future of work and this next generation of students. Institutions hold a valuable piece of the puzzle. It’s important for the industry to have a willingness to rethink degree programs — even education as a whole — to meet quickly changing student and employer needs. Vocational programs, in particular, are uniquely positioned to rectify a shortage of skilled trade and specialized workers and reshape entire industries. Mattison underscored that the time to act is now.

Offering vocational insight from a military perspective, Congressman Brian Mast gave another inspiring CECU 2018 Keynote. Mast spoke to his 12 years of duty in the United States Army and a life-changing event in Afghanistan. He also covered what came next after his decorated military career, and that was education.

Mast is a modern-day student success story and shining example of what can happen when institutions offer alternative pathways and tailor programs toward adult learners, veterans and those with other “non-traditional” qualities. Mast earned his bachelor’s degree at Harvard Extension School while volunteering with the Israel Defense Forces, declaring candidacy for US Congress in Florida’s Eighteenth District, and raising a family. Harvard Extension School is a fully accredited Harvard institution that focuses on affordability and flexibility; it offers open enrollment and a wide range of self-paced programs from four-year online degrees to skill-specific certificates. Such options are invaluable to vets — as are other flexible trade and technical programs. In his CECU 2018 speech, Mast thanked the vocational school sector for providing so many relevant job opportunities to military veterans through training and education.

Innovative industry partnerships have the opportunity to amplify student success rates — especially in such vocational programs.

There were many discussions with leaders of marketing, service companies and CECU member institutions on how to best leverage resources to create mutually beneficial partnerships. From apprenticeships to coding boot camps, there are myriad career education models gaining traction.

Apprenticeships are one model taking the spotlight and may soon evolve beyond traditional trades and take a foothold into industries like law and health care. With the current administration calling for the expansion of apprenticeships over the next five years, this important conversation is sure to continue and develop. The specifics around new federal initiatives and potential legislative reforms set forth by the Department of Labor Apprenticeship Task Force have yet to be unveiled; the EDU industry and private sector can begin to take the lead on shaping the structure of such partnerships and strategies. Identify business goals and align programs to drive the development of a next generation, highly skilled workforce.

Success in new EDU models all starts with enrollment marketing. Schools must develop the right student base for successful outcomes, especially in new degree programs and postsecondary learning models.

With ever-changing lead generation tools and enrollment marketing best practices, these topic sessions were certainly well-attended at CECU 2018.

More than 46 million new workers are needed by 2025; the ever-present question is how to reach and market the right programs to the students who will become the future workforce. Social media, for one, was highlighted a great deal as it continues to be a strong platform for driving awareness and reaching target audiences. In fact, there was an overall increase in social media lead volume and conversions in 2017. However, the channels and rules of engagement continue to change year after year. Social marketing strategies, as a result, must be nimble and data-driven.

Data-based decision-making was a common thread in all marketing discussions — from determining student intent to conversion metrics. It’s clear that third-party partners will continue to play an important role, filling gaps in marketing needs with new technology and analytics products.

Rounding out the marketing conversation was a review on student success from a marketing compliance perspective in the EDU Lead Gen — The Next Gen CECU session. Interpreting the regulatory environment can be difficult and is an important step in developing strong marketing programs. The last few years have been filled with change, speculation and consolidation for both education and lead generation.

From the regulatory landscape to emerging new trends, there’s a great deal that can happen between now and CECU 2019 in New Orleans. More importantly, there’s a great deal that industry leadership can do to shape the future of postsecondary career education when we all come together.


Gamification in EDU Contact Centers: Agent Leaderboards

Games have been an integral part of life throughout history as a way to pass the time in an entertaining, engaging and rewarding way. So, what if we took those same game elements and placed a similar structure around tasks to drive desired behavior? Could work become “fun”? Engaging? Drive results?

That’s the idea behind “gamification” in the EDU contact center. And this is why it works.

Driving Behavior to Drive Better Outcomes

In order to drive better outcomes, one must look first at what drives behavior. Contrary to popular belief, humans are not solely motivated by financial means. In fact, gamification experts point to three main drivers of behavior as the most reliable predictors of engagement.

Mastery: The act of mastering a new skill or becoming an expert in a given field. In the EDU contact center, this may include earning an award or new certification, leading a project on a given topic or reaching a higher rank within the company.

Autonomy: Motivation can come from working within a structure that offers “meaningful” choice, ample opportunity to reach goals on one’s own volition and participation in activities that are somehow tangible in a real-life context. In the workplace, it’s important to clearly communication the game “rules,” or the many steps one can take to reach the top of the leaderboard, for example. These actions should then have a direct result on the ability to earn an extrinsic reward, like a raise or a contest.

Relatedness: There’s an intrinsic need to “matter” to others and have purpose. In work environments, employees are driven to be a part of a team, strive to earn respect from colleagues and be highlighted by leadership for their efforts. For EDU contact center agents, in particular, a sense of purpose may also come from making an impact in the lives of students.

Further supporting intrinsic motivation, the sheer act of participating in “gameplay” in and of itself is enough to activate the brain’s reward center, according to neurological studies.

Developing a Gamification Structure within the Contact Center

Taking into account the three intrinsic motivators, it’s important to create a well-designed structure to properly engage employees. At its core, a game has challenges, feedback and levels. In the contact center, challenges may look like internal contests. Feedback may take the form of agent scoring and one-on-one meetings with leadership. Levels may be determined by rank on agent leaderboards and providing agents with expanded capabilities, accordingly.

Agent Leaderboards Drive Outcomes in the EDU Contact Center

From a leaderboard on the wall to quick-hit sales SPIFFS to drive momentum, there are many familiar game mechanics at play in sales and marketing environments. Gamification in the EDU contact center is especially effective when placed around repetitive tasks and important KPIs, such as:

  • Conversions and/or transfers
  • Customer-reported satisfaction
  • Number of calls per hour
  • Average call handling time (AHT)

Agent leaderboards are one of the most effective and time-tested models. One study showed leaderboards successfully motivated employees “when performing tedious and cumbersome tasks at work.” In addition to feedback that activities became more enjoyable, leaderboard results pointed to enhanced productivity. Another business case study showed similar results with increased performance. Leaderboard standings centered on KPIs, such as the number of deals signed and contracts closed. Based on early leaderboard results, the company projected an overall 2%-3% increase in profits, adding another $1.5 million to their bottom line.

Leaderboards become even more effective when integrated as part of an agent dashboard or online platform. Providing instant feedback and a visual representation of individual progress, agents are able to see results in near real-time and are empowered to change behavior quickly to better compete with peers and climb to the top of the leaderboard. Gamified agent platforms amplify those key motivators: mastery, autonomy and relatedness.

Benefits of Gamification in EDU Contact Centers

The benefits are vast. EDU contact center gamification elements, like leaderboards, are an opportunity to give agents a greater sense of accomplishment and provide positive reinforcement on a daily or more regular basis than that of more traditional work structure. In a broader sense, they can also act as a marker to identify low-performing agents. In addition to performance and profits, gamification in EDU contact centers also brings cultural benefits, like increased agent satisfaction and retention. It’s an easy way to make enrollment experiences more meaningful and effective for EDU agents and prospective students.

Read the Full Article: http://www.leadscon.com/blog/gamification-in-edu-contact-centers-why-agent-leaderboards-work/

A Look into the Status and Impact of the Higher Education Act

Despite needing to be updated every five years, the HEA expired in 2008. Since this expiration, the 2008 HEA has been extended while Congress works through amendments and changes to the Act. To date, there has not been consensus on the reauthorization. Why is that and what is the current status of the HEA?

CallMiner: Aspects of Improvement Within Call Center Regulations

By CallMiner Call center regulations are complex. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), for instance, requires debt collectors to disclose the purpose of their written or oral communications at the start of every contact (the mini-Miranda). Additionally, the FDCPA has strict requirements that stipulate when, where, and with whom a debt collector may communicate […]

LeadsCon 2019: The Top 5 Trends

By Joe Laskowski March is always an exciting time at Higher Ed Growth (HEG), as it means the team is heading to Las Vegas for LeadsCon. We always look forward to the opportunity of LeadsCon to connect with other leaders in our industry and learn from one another, gauging where the future of lead generation […]