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Rize Math: Realizing the ROI of Program Sharing

Megan McCorkle
February 27, 2024
5 mins

We’ve written extensively about what to know when comparing your options for online program development, including the pros and cons of using an OPM, course sharing, and program sharing. But when it comes to program sharing, not all solutions are created equally. That’s because the bundle of shared services layered on top of program sharing varies based on provider. The differences in services also lead to differences in the value you and your students realize from your shared programs. Depending on your goals, the support services you need may be different. Below we compare the immediate, ongoing, and long term value of program sharing based on your goals, as well as the support services that are needed to achieve them.

What is Program Sharing?

Before diving into specifics, let’s level-set with defining program sharing if you are unfamiliar with the term. Program sharing is more than a bundle of shared courses. Program sharing is when a number of online courses in one specific field are shared between multiple institutions and paired with services to create hybrid degree programs for maximal enrollment and revenue impact. It is based on the concept that marketable degree programs can generate more enrollment and retention for a college, as well as expand educational opportunities for students beyond what an institution can offer alone on-campus. Rize Education pioneered program sharing and has helped colleges and universities launch nearly 500 high quality majors, minors, and certificates.


The Short Term Value of Program Sharing

One of the biggest challenges facing higher education today is declining enrollment and increased competition for students. According to research from organizations like Lumina Foundation, majors offered is one of the most important decision factors for students choosing which college to attend. Program sharing enables colleges and universities to quickly add additional majors to attract students and boost enrollment. Knowing which programs to offer is one of the first ways program sharing providers can help set you up for success. Based on student and labor market demand, market competition, and trend forecasting, program sharing providers can help you determine which programs are best for your institution using data tools like Gray Decision Intelligence and Lightcast. 

But offering an expanded number of academic programs is not enough to translate into enrollment. Making prospective students aware of new programs can require significant investment from your internal teams across marketing, admissions, and advisors. That’s why according to Lightcast data, only 28% of programs are successful in growing enrollment after a year. If your goal with program sharing is to grow enrollment, you’ll need to have an enrollment marketing plan in place to help ensure your new programs are successful. 

At Rize, we have a dedicated in house enrollment marketing team that partners with you from day one to help ensure your programs translate into enrollment. Our enrollment marketing services are included with every Rize subscription at no additional cost to maximize the enrollment impact of new programs. We supply partners with ready-to-use content marketing kits for each major to help get the word out to prospective students as quickly as possible with messaging based on proven best-practices from LCMC partners across the country. You’ll have access to templates for emails, SMS text messages, social media posts, graphics that can be easily customized to your brand, and more. You’ll also have access to free ongoing consulting services with our enrollment marketing experts who will do the heavy lifting to ensure maximum success with minimal workload added to your team. Teams that engage with the Rize enrollment team generate nearly 2x the number of new students compared to their peers who do not.


The Ongoing Value of Program Sharing

Taking a comprehensive approach to strategic enrollment management is not limited to new student enrollments. With the rate of student attrition and transfers on the rise, retention is equally important. Retention is another key value of program sharing when deployed correctly. By expanding the number of degree pathways for students who change their minds about their major or who need the flexibility of online courses paired with the on campus experience, program sharing can help students persist and reduce transfer out rates.

But again, offering new programs is not enough to deliver on retention goals. That’s why we offer both student and partner support services. We actively monitor student performance through regular student success reports, surveys, and tech tools that track student engagement with course content, then leverage the data to proactively identify students who need additional support. Our instructors and support team collaborate closely with on-campus advisors on an ongoing basis to ensure that every student thrives. This yields positive feedback from students with 80% of students rating their courses powered by Rize as good or better than their on-campus courses

In addition, you’ll have a dedicated Partner Success Lead who will ensure successful onboarding, lay the strategy to achieve your admissions and academic goals, and provide operational support to your team as needed. You’ll have access to courses, instructor transcripts, and learning outcomes for ongoing assessment in a centralized platform. Just like your students, you’re more than a number to us and we’re your partners in success from day one. You’ll get to know our team of experts by name

Better Student Outcomes

The Long Term Value of Program Sharing

If you’re looking to program sharing to create better student outcomes, this is where Rize stands out most. Rize was founded and incubated at a small liberal arts college in Michigan as a way to help small colleges launch more flexible, affordable academic programs that prepare students to thrive in the fastest-growing fields. We operate a rigorous course development and course update process that is centralized across all consortium programs. It includes a talented instructional design team leading the development process alongside academic subject matter experts and industry leaders to create the best possible courses that are applicable to what students will need to know in the field. It’s one of the reasons why we’re the number one program sharing provider.

Our high quality programs include embedded certificates and real world projects that prepare students for success from their very first internship and job. After extensive research, we also developed program-specific career navigation courses that help students explore career and salary outcomes, learn the skills they need to navigate the job market, and build confidence in their ability to secure an exceptional career after graduation. We also give students insight into what a career or job in this field would actually look like day-to-day. Research from the Burning Glass Institute and the Strada Education Foundation shows that the first job out of college is critical to the long term earning potential of graduates. Better student educational experiences, paired with better graduate outcomes, yields higher earning alumni that become lifelong learners who continue investing in their campus communities. 

Calculating the ROI of using Rize

Colleges that partner with Rize have access to all of these bundled services for one flat subscription price and experience the difference high quality program sharing makes in delivering high value across enrollment, retention, and student outcomes. The ongoing and long term impact of Rize can be hard to think about when you’re staring at a budget spreadsheet. Long term partners like Adrian College have generated millions of dollars in new revenue, which they’ve been able to reinvest into their institution. 

For an easy calculation of the return on investment (ROI) you can expect to gain by partnering with Rize, we’ve developed an ROI calculator tool looking at new enrollments only. You'll see that for most colleges, it only takes one new student enrollment to cover the cost of using Rize. The long term ROI as outlined above isn’t reflected in the calculator to make the math simple for budget calculations, but it’s the financial value you and your students will benefit from in perpetuity. 

Realizing the ROI of program sharing takes more than launching new programs. It’s a coordinated partnership between your institution, a bundle of support services, and a team dedicated to your success. Don’t take our word for it. Hear from some of the colleges who have leveraged Rize to power nearly 500 majors, minors, and certificates.

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