Implications of the coming DOE Regulation

As you know, the new federal DOE regs are coming into effect on July 1, 2011. We’ve been working hard to make sense of the them and make sure we are compliant in our work for you.

Through this, three things are coming clear that bear some thought, that I feel compelled to share:

  1. Incentive compensation rule is likely to produce an exodus of quality admissions staff from the industry
  2. Lead flow is likely to contract as a result of the new rules governing misrepresentation
  3. Schools without admissions compliance strategies are at greater risk for Accreditation consequences

1. Incentive Compensation

As far as we can tell, the DOE has effectively removed “sales” from admissions. Schools legally cannot reward admissions staff on their ability to enroll students, and the past Safe Harbour provision allowing “some” part of staff performance to be based on enrollment success, is gone. The DOE wants “customer service” not “sales” in admissions.

As a result of this, and after speaking with a number of trusted admissions leaders in the industry, we are speculating that there will a huge turnover of admission staff starting when the regs come into effect, with new recruits largely being more service-oriented people, than sales-oriented. The consequence to you will be lower conversion rates and more back to basic’s training.

When we first started mystery shopping schools in 2004, the common mistakes were basic things – reps not asking for names and numbers, reps skimming leads, etc. Over the past 7 years, a lot of these areas have improved. Look for this to regress.

2. Lead flow contraction

A big part of the new regs is “misrepresentation” and specifically that schools are legally responsible for the claims made by anyone advertising your programs. Right now, a huge part of the lead generation community is hidden by way of affiliates and aggregators. You simply don’t know who is advertising the programs for leads that come through portals. Once the new regs come into effect, it will reduce leads because schools won’t be willing to buy leads where they can’t verify the source. With tighter scrutiny, lead generators are bound leave the industry and portals will have less leads to sell.

Expect lead flow to contract, also expect the cost of leads to rise.

3. Compliance scrutiny

No doubt you’ve seen the recent news stories about “unethical/evil/profiteer” career schools where admissions reps promise jobs and career outcomes. Anecdotally, we’ve seen our clients experiencing increased scrutiny from regulators.

You do NOT want to be on the wrong end of a DOE or Accreditor mystery shop.

As a result, we believe schools need to be rigorous with compliance — not only in BEING compliant, but in their ability to PROVE to regulators that they have an Admissions compliance process in place.

Which leads me to the reason for this video….

ER Mystery Shopping…

In light of the above trends, we’ve updated our Mystery Shopping service. We now offer for you a “new to North America”, comprehensive Admissions Research program. This program was designed by my partner and Enrollment Resources co-founder Gregg Meiklejohn, a marketing research veteran of 25 years.

Our program has four distinct surveys that act as compliance filters, flagging undesirable behaviors while isolating performance improvement opportunities along the way.

The ER Admissions Research process will assist you in identifying revenue opportunities by tightening your admissions process, flag compliance violations and provide an audit trail for regulators demonstrating pre-emptive commitment to the new DOE regulations.

Mystery shopping is a key strategy for Admissions success in 2011. To discuss how we can help, please call  250-391-9494.