5 Tips To Prepare For An Acquisition
To prepare for a school acquisition, for-profit schools must first shore up internal processes with improved data management and reporting.
Growth and acquisition mode is an exciting time for career education institutions. You successfully sent students out into their desired careers, and now you’re ready to take it to the next level.
Acquiring a school, or multiple schools, was already a complex process. Now, the Department of Education is reevaluating changes in ownership regulations to add another layer of complexity to the process. In face of increasing scrutiny around for-profit schools and to make sure the transition goes as smooth as possible, your organization must shore up operations and reporting in advance of making an acquisition.
Here are five things to do at your current organization BEFORE you make an acquisition.
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Identify pain points and areas of improvement
Have an open conversation with your current staff about processes and policies to identify pain points and areas of improvement. Many staff members at vocational schools are struggling with manual processes and drowning under data. They spend so much time managing data that they don’t have time to act on it. Perhaps they’ve been making it work at a set number of campuses, but manual processes aren’t scalable during periods of big change.
Have a conversation with your staff about their processes and pain points. Oftentimes, staff won’t raise concerns because they don’t want to sound like they’re complaining. But leaders can’t fix a problem that they don’t know exists. Having an open forum to discuss their processes and pain points will ensure you have compliant and scalable processes in place before your acquisition.
Standardize your data and processes
Your departments focus on different stages of the student lifecycle, each with its own unique metrics, but data collection and management processes should remain standard. At some schools, different campuses or programs may even track and manage student data in different ways. For example, at many schools, only the admissions team has access to the CRM. The student success team only has insight into the data and conversations that the admissions team enters into the SIS. If the admissions team does not have a consistent process for entering data into the SIS, the student success team could miss out on critical information that impacts the student journey.
Standardize processes at your current institution, then implement those same processes at your acquisition to ensure consistency and reliability.
In theory, reporting should be standard. In practice, many schools face inconsistencies in their reporting. Typically, it’s due to reasons as small as human error, personnel changes, or an unstandardized process.
Implementing a system that automates reporting ensures accuracy and consistency, even during periods of change. Plus, your staff spends less time managing and compiling data and more time on higher-value tasks that can’t be done through automation.
Combined with data and process standardization, reporting automation ensures that you have timely, accurate data for your entire organization the moment you need it.
Implement a campus management tool
Having timely, accurate, and standardized data as an institution is the first step, but you should be able to compare that data campus-to-campus and program-to-program. For example, if a program at one campus has great outcomes, but the same program at a different campus has mediocre outcomes, a campus management tool helps you compare the program to identify discrepancies.
You can also use your tool to….
Identify compliance risks
Because ED is discussing new regulations around changes in ownership, acquisitions could face more scrutiny than before. Use your data to identify compliance risks early in the acquisition process and implement solutions ahead of time.
For example, according to Ena Hull, COO of Legacy Education, one commonly missed compliance risk is whether classes are starting and ending on time. Do the instructors at your potential acquisition understand the importance of ensuring students get every minute that they’re promised? Or are they time-shaving and leaving you open to BDR claims?
CourseKey helps large organizations in growth and acquisition mode scale their processes and improve data management and reporting. Request a demo to get started.