How Innovative Thinking Led to Extraordinary Enrollment Success 

The only thing better than having a plan come together is watching it far exceed its initial expectations. Such was the case with Bellarmine University. 
Having experienced volatility in its entering class size since 2019, Bellarmine’s Vice President for Enrollment Marketing and Communication, Dr. Michael Marshall, knew it was time to alter course. This fact was further driven home after MARKETview shared projections for the impending demographic shift.

Projected Bellarmine Entering Class Sizes 2024-2029

The work MARKETview did to describe the demographic shift in terms of socioeconomic status and students of color was so helpful for our leadership team.

Dr. Michael Marshall, Vice President for Enrollment Marketing and Communication at Bellarmine University

The Bellarmine team partnered with MARKETview to gain real-time market intelligence on the students they most desired and used that knowledge to guide their decision making in achieving three primary objectives for EC 2023: 


Goal #1

Grow freshman enrollment to
at least 600

Goal #2

Increase diversity with emphasis
on Pell-eligible students

Goal #3

Build a high-affinity inquiry pool

Instead of following the standard “cast-a-wider-net” approach that vendors usually prescribed, Bellarmine and MARKETview determined that each of these goals could be accomplished by accurately identifying and more deeply engaging high-affinity, right-fit students — as opposed to simply purchasing additional names and/or expanding to more distant, less productive markets. 

In addition to partnering with MARKETview, Bellarmine made several other savvy moves, which included having their own talented enrollment team take Search and Financial Aid responsibilities in house.

The Dramatic Results of Their Efforts

As mentioned earlier, a key to growing enrollment was paying greater attention to the right-fit students that MARKETview and Bellarmine collaboratively identified. Part of this process involved accessing proprietary data from MARKETview, including a likely Catholic model as well as customized queries within Slate. The Bellarmine enrollment team then used their talents and expertise to craft and deploy segmented communication streams, featuring targeted messaging to address the needs of specific audiences. 

By sending pre-identified students differentiated communications built around creating generational change and affordability, Bellarmine realized significant gains among the Pell-eligible audience as well as a 46% increase in students of color (a school record) and a 47.4% increase in first-generation students compared to the previous year. Plus, Bellarmine ranked first among MARKETview’s Catholic partners in terms of greatest percentage increase in enrollment of the Pell population. 

Emphasizing quality over volume and becoming more efficient with their inquiries helped Bellarmine increase their overall 2022-2023 application rate from 11.6% to 14.5% and grow their in-state application rate from 25.7% to 31.6%. They also finished in the top 5% of MARKETview partners in terms of yield improvement. 

Good News Keeps Coming

After emphatically surpassing its three stated goals (and generating their largest entering class since 2018), Bellarmine was able to increase net tuition revenue an impressive 9.0% in just one enrollment cycle!  

Combining strategic recruitment outreach designed by Bellarmine’s exceptional enrollment team with MARKETview’s data-informed audience insights proved to be a winning formula. As a result, Bellarmine is now well-positioned to maintain their momentum into the years ahead.  

Want the full story? Download the Bellarmine Case Study. 

Case Study

Why It Pays To Be an Enrollment Innovator

A case study on how one institution achieved multiple entering class goals in a single recruitment cycle.

Read the Full Case Study

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