Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid
Located in the rolling hills of Amherst, Massachusetts, Hampshire College offers students a unique and unconventional liberal arts education. Founded in 1965 with a strong focus on diversity, students are encouraged to create their own academic paths through self-designed programs and innovative study. In 2019 the former administration and board at the college decided to not enroll a first-year class as part of a stopgap plan to strengthen an unsustainable financial position. As a result, Hampshire immediately lost a lot of staff members as well as students, and “a lot of the usable data that was stored in institutional memory.”
"I knew I just needed our data contained, organized, and accessible, without expensive extras and I felt that Othot would accelerate our work at a really effective price point during this very fragile time in our history," noted Fumio Sugihara, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid.
As Liaison’s data-science division, Othot’s predictive modeling transforms data into helpful insights that colleges and universities use to drive enrollment strategies. These capabilities provided the solid foundation upon which Hampshire College started to rebuild — quickly and effectively. Sugihara stated, “We were trying to rebuild our finances and become sustainable in the long term and I was confident that Othot could help us identify and enroll best-fit students.”
"After our first year with Othot in 2020, our enrollment jumped by 61% and the second year, by another 67%. We also saw 60% correlative growth in our application pool in those two years.”
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid.
Sugihara was right. Working with Othot, he and his Director of Financial Aid, Kristin Hmieleski, started using predictively-fueled outreach with dramatic results. The return of enrollment normalcy has enabled Hampshire to focus on future-proofing its operations. This has included building the college’s endowment to loosen the reliance on tuition while prioritizing DEI and best-class goals.
One of the things Hampshire College’s Admissions team did “as a reasonable action in the face of a traumatic decision,” Sugihara said, was to grow its search pool by purchasing a very large list — but mailing only to Othot-identified names within it.
This year, Hampshire was able to generate its financial aid modeling in-house. They looked at the Othot sensitivities to identify groups of students to:
Today Hampshire College’s enrollment is stable and poised for further growth, thanks to the insights that have become a fundamental part of their annual decision-making process. Sugihara said he relies on Othot daily for peace of mind. “Choosing Othot has helped us make better decisions and tell our highly unique story better. Now, we’re looking forward to the future,” notes Sugihara.
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