Media Expenditures Budgeting Among Higher Education Providers

Times Square

Marketing department media expenditures have been an important topic in student recruitment operations for more than 20 years. During the past decade, higher education providers have experienced a dramatic shift from print to electronic media as the main driver of their marketing operations. The resulting increase in electronic media expenditures has added a layer of complexity to the overall operations of marketing departments. To plan and budget strategically, and to compete in this emerging digital landscape, these departments must arm themselves with solid enrollment data and marketing metrics. To understand the current landscape of the marketing operations of higher education institutions, University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) commissioned a survey of members and partnered with Helix Education for a study examining media expenditures and budgeting strategies of various providers of higher education marketing departments.

Snapshot of Key Findings

  • Electronic media spending has shifted from 4% of media budget in 1999 to 41% of media budget in 2014.
  • Marketing departments spend an average of $1,037,651 on marketing expenses, nearly half of which is dedicated towards media expenditures.
  • Eighty-three percent of respondents did not know the cost-per-inquiry of their most effective undergraduate marketing channel, and fifty-six percent did not know the cost-per-inquiry of their most effective graduate marketing channel.
  • Almost 70% of respondents did not know their overall conversion rate from point of inquiry to first-day start, and nearly half did not know their cost per enrollment.


UPCEA Members: Click here to login to CORe to download the complete PDF of the report.

Not an UPCEA Member?: Call 202-659-3130 for more information.

Interested in more from the Center for Research and Strategy?

See more studies.

Get consulting services.