Cincinnati State Technical and Community College in Cincinnati, OH, is struggling with declining enrollment and a state-mandated tuition freeze. Pearson Education has signed on to find a solution.
In an agreement signed last fall, Pearson will take over marketing, recruiting, and student services for the institution, which saw its enrollment fall to fewer than 10,000 students over the last six years. The 10-year contract provides Pearson with service fees of up to 20% of tuition revenue based on a tiered system that depends on retention and new students, according to a report in Inside Higher Ed.
“We have a tremendous amount of expertise in marketing, digital and traditional marketing,” said Todd Hitchcock, chief operating officer of the Pearson subsidiary Pearson Embanet. “We’re able to leverage everything we know about student acquisition on the front end from years of experience. If you think about the traditional community college, they may have a couple of people in marketing, where we have hundreds. So on the marketing side, we’ve developed a comprehensive plan that really focused on their brand: redesigning, redeveloping it, and defining what it means to go to Cincinnati State.”
Faculty members are cautiously optimistic about the partnership with Pearson, which has been a content provider at the school for years. Pam Ecker, president of the Cincinnati State chapter of the American Association of University Professors, said instructors have been informed throughout the contract process.
“There were a lot of people with concerns about a public college partnering with a for-profit organization, but we’ve been appropriately included,” she said. “We’re carefully watching all the steps, and we never hesitate to have our voice heard.”