Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | February 26th, 2022

Lincoln University “knocked the socks” off their enrollment goals


Lincoln University is the nation’s first degree-granting Historically Black College and University (HBCU). Despite this unique distinction, Lincoln faced challenges with enrollment at the undergraduate and graduate level. The COVID-19 pandemic compounded an already tough situation for a small university trying to survive and remain relevant to today’s college student.


Lincoln hired GPRS to be its Agency of Record (AOR) – to assist its leadership in developing and implementing advanced enrollment marketing processes for the university, as well as increasing its brand recognition and enrollment numbers at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Through this comprehensive relationship, we were engaged to deliver our full portfolio of marketing and enrollment support services, as well as technological solutions, to aid Lincoln in maintaining healthy and steady enrollment.

We started by performing an Enrollment Growth Assessment to define their ideal students and determine the key drivers in selecting Lincoln over other competitive institutions. We also examined why admitted students decided to enroll in other institutions, especially those that were not HBCUs. Our comprehensive report and recommendations became our action plan and the foundation of our partnership.

Among a lengthy series of initiatives we completed over just the first year of our multi-year partnership, these are a few that stand out:

  • Working in conjunction with the Lincoln I.T. team, we developed a roadmap to optimize to improve its ranking in search engine results. Performing SEO was an important and necessary step in ensuring that Lincoln was positioned to outrank their competitors, increase the volume of organic leads, and improve the Cost Per Click (CPC) of the digital marketing campaigns – by improving quality scores.
  • We launched a coordinated series of branding and enrollment marketing campaigns, focused on attracting African-American, college-bound students from Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware. In addition to digital tactics like Email, SEM, Social, Display, and advanced forms of retargeting and CRM remarketing, we also launched radio spots, billboards, bus shelter/interior ads, and direct mail campaigns.
  • In order to help prospective students along their student journey, and get a higher percentage of the inquiries to apply (and ultimately enroll), we designed a sophisticated Communications Lifecycle, integrated into their CRM, to nurture prospective undergrad and grad students through their decision-making journey.
  • To help improve undergraduate enrollment yield, our creative team launched a “Missing Something?” campaign where admitted students received a single branded Lincoln University sock via direct mail. They were informed that they would receive the other sock when they arrived on campus for registration. The campaign was a viral hit, and created excitement and anticipation for the new Lincoln recruits.
  • Our Contact Center (Call Center) was also deployed to help build relationships with high school counselors, to schedule campus visits, dramatically increase Open House attendance, and keep Lincoln’s value proposition top-of-mind in a very competitive market.
Lincoln University pennant