Best CRM for Higher Education Institutions in 2023 Compared

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a crucial tool for higher education institutions.

It helps them to manage their student data, build relationships with prospects and alumni, and increase engagement across all channels.

With CRM software solutions, educational institutions can streamline processes like admissions, recruitment, fundraising campaigns, and alumni management.

In this article, we will take a look at the main features of CRM for Higher Education Institutions as well as the benefits they offer to universities and colleges alike.

We will also compare some of the best CRMs available to help you find the right one for your institution’s needs.

Table of Contents

What Customer Relationship Management Means for Higher Education Institutions

In higher education institutions, customer relationship management (CRM) is a holistic approach to managing student lifecycles and activities.

Through CRM technology, colleges and universities are able to capture valuable data insights about their students and leverage it to improve the overall student experience.

This includes developing custom-tailored marketing campaigns based on this data as well as providing personalized communications for students throughout their entire journey.

CRM software also helps schools better understand their prospective and current students by getting an idea of who they are, what interests them, what kind of information they’re looking for from the school website or other online resources as well as what services they need while attending the college or university.

By having this insight into students’ needs and behaviors before they even arrive on campus, education institutions can more effectively plan programs that meet those needs and preferences—ultimately resulting in better student retention rates.

In addition, CRM technology provides educational institutions with automated workflows that simplifies administrative tasks such as record keeping on attendance records, applicant tracking systems (ATS), email marketing campaigns, surveys, online event registration systems, and much more.

Main Features of Higher Education CRM Software Solutions

Higher education CRM software solutions offer a range of features to help universities and colleges manage their customer relationships. These features include event management, marketing automation, contact management tools, student data, and admission management.

Event Management

Event management tools provide universities with a platform to organize and track events such as conferences, webinars, meetings, and more. This allows institutions to easily communicate the details to attendees as well as analyze the success of each event.

Marketing Automation

With marketing automation tools, universities can create personalized campaigns for prospects or alumni. This helps them target specific segments based on their interests or needs while tracking performance in real time.

Universities can also automate tasks such as email reminders or notifications which saves them time and money.

Contact Management Tools

Contact management tools allow universities to store contacts from multiple sources in one platform such as alumni databases, school administration software, or student information systems (SIS).

This allows them to quickly access contact information when needed while keeping track of interactions with prospects and alumni.

Student Data

Student data is critical for higher ed institutions when it comes to making decisions about admissions, recruitment efforts, retention rates, and more.

CRM’s offer powerful data collection capabilities which enable universities to collect demographic information of students, analyze trends over time, and gain insights into student behavior and student lifecycle.

Admission Management

Admission processes require a lot of manual effort from university staff members which is why CRM provides automated admission management tools that streamline the process significantly.

These solutions enable universities to track applications from start to finish without having to manually enter data every step of the way.

Moreover, they provide powerful reporting capabilities so that admission officers can quickly identify weak areas in the process and take corrective measures accordingly.

11 Best CRM for Higher Education. Our Top Picks!

Anthology Reach

Anthology Reach is a comprehensive CRM tool designed for the education sector. It offers features such as marketing automation, enrollment management, student engagement, and analytics.

Pros: This platform provides a unified solution for student lifecycle management, from prospective students to alumni. It’s also known for its robust analytics capabilities, allowing institutions to make data-driven decisions.

Cons: Some users have reported that the system can be complicated to set up and maintain, and the user interface may not be as intuitive as other options.

When to Choose: Anthology Reach is best suited for large institutions that require a comprehensive solution for managing various aspects of student life cycles.

Zoho Bookings for Education

Zoho Bookings for Education is an online appointment scheduling software specifically designed for educational institutions. It offers features such as class scheduling, resource management, and integrations with other Zoho products.

Pros: This platform is easy to use, highly customizable, and integrates seamlessly with other Zoho products, providing a unified solution for schools and universities.

Cons: Zoho CRM focuses primarily on appointment scheduling and may not offer as many CRM-specific features as other tools on this list.

When to Choose: This tool is best suited for institutions that already use Zoho products and need an efficient appointment scheduling system.

Full Fabric

Full Fabric is a cloud-based higher education CRM system. It offers features such as student recruitment, admissions management, and alumni relations.

Pros: Full Fabric is known for its ease of use, excellent customer support, and seamless integration with other systems. It also offers a wide range of customization options.

Cons: The pricing model can be a bit more expensive compared to other tools, and some users have reported that the platform lacks certain advanced features.

When to Choose: Full Fabric is ideal for medium-sized institutions that require a user-friendly CRM solution with excellent support and customization options.


Jenzabar is an ERP and CRM solution designed specifically for higher education. It offers features such as student information management, financial aid management, and enrollment services.

Pros: Jenzabar provides a comprehensive suite of tools for managing various aspects of higher education, making it a one-stop shop for institutions. It also offers strong analytics capabilities.

Cons: Some users have reported that the system can be complex and difficult to learn, and customer support may not be as responsive as desired.

When to Choose: Jenzabar is best suited for large institutions that require a full suite of tools to manage their operations.

Maestro SIS

Maestro SIS is a cloud-based student information system that offers features such as enrollment management, academic tracking, and communication tools.

Pros: This platform is user-friendly, highly customizable, and offers excellent customer support. It also integrates well with other systems.

Cons: Maestro SIS primarily focuses on student information management and may not provide as many CRM-specific features as other tools on this list.

When to Choose: Maestro SIS is ideal for institutions that primarily require a comprehensive student information system with CRM capabilities.


Schoolmint is a K-12 school management software that offers features such as enrollment management, communications, and student success tracking.

Pros: Schoolmint is easy to use, offers excellent customer support, and provides a wide range of features for K-12 schools.

Cons: This platform is specifically designed for K-12 schools and may not be as suitable for higher education institutions.

When to Choose: Schoolmint is best suited for K-12 schools looking for a comprehensive management solution.

Salesforce Education Cloud

Salesforce Education Cloud is a CRM platform built on the Salesforce platform, offering features such as student success management, recruitment, and alumni engagement.

Pros: This platform leverages the powerful Salesforce ecosystem, providing a highly customizable and scalable solution for higher education institutions.

Cons: Salesforce Education Cloud can be complex and may require a steeper learning curve compared to other tools. It can also be more expensive due to its extensive features and customizations.

When to Choose: Salesforce Education Cloud is ideal for institutions that require a highly customizable and scalable CRM solution and are willing to invest in the necessary resources to fully leverage the platform.

Embark Campus

Embark Campus is an online admissions software designed for higher education institutions. It offers features such as application management, document tracking, and reporting.

Pros: Embark Campus is user-friendly, easy to set up, and offers excellent customer support.

Cons: This platform primarily focuses on admissions management and may not provide as many CRM-specific features as other tools on this list.

When to Choose: Embark Campus is best suited for institutions that require a dedicated admissions management solution with CRM capabilities.


Leadsquared is a CRM and marketing automation platform that offers features such as lead capture, nurturing, and analytics.

Pros: Leadsquared is known for its ease of use, seamless integration with other systems, and robust marketing automation capabilities.

Cons: This platform is not specifically designed for higher education institutions, so it may lack some industry-specific features.

When to Choose: Leadsquared is ideal for institutions that require a CRM solution with strong marketing automation capabilities and are willing to adapt it to their specific needs.

Creatrix Campus

Creatrix Campus is a cloud-based education management software that offers key features such as admissions, student information management, and learning management.

Pros: This platform is user-friendly, highly customizable, and offers excellent customer support.

Cons: Creatrix Campus primarily focuses on education management and may not provide as many CRM-specific features as other tools on this list.

When to Choose: Creatrix Campus is best suited for institutions that require a comprehensive education management solution with CRM capabilities.

HubSpot CRM

HubSpot is a widely popular CRM and inbound marketing platform that offers features such as lead generation, marketing automation, and analytics.

Pros: HubSpot is known for its user-friendly interface, extensive features, and excellent customer support. It also offers a free version with basic CRM functionality.

Cons: HubSpot is not specifically designed for the education sector, so it may lack some industry-specific features. Additionally, the pricing can become expensive as you add more advanced features.

When to Choose: Hubspot is ideal for institutions that require a robust CRM and marketing automation solution and are willing to adapt it to their specific needs.

In conclusion, each of these CRM solutions offers unique features and benefits, catering to different institutional needs and budgets. When choosing a CRM for your higher education institution, carefully consider your specific requirements, size, and budget to find the best fit.

How to Choose the “Right” CRM Solution?

When choosing the right CRM for a higher education institution, there are several steps and factors to consider. To ensure that the chosen solution is the best fit for an institution’s needs, it is important to carefully assess features, integrations, capabilities, and budget.

The first step in selecting a CRM for higher education institutions is understanding their needs.

It is important to identify what features are required to support student recruitment and engagement initiatives, as well as any additional services or operations that need to be managed.

For example, some institutions may require comprehensive student information systems with CRM capabilities while others may prioritize marketing automation features. Identifying these requirements can help narrow down the list of potential solutions.

The next step is researching available options based on those requirements. It is important to read user reviews and research industry trends to gain an understanding of each platform’s strengths and weaknesses.

This can provide valuable insights into which tools offer the best value for money and customer service experience.

Additionally, if possible, it is recommended to explore free trial versions of potential solutions before making a final decision.

Finally, it is essential to evaluate pricing plans for each platform and determine which one provides the most cost-effective solution for an institution’s needs.

This includes looking at both upfront costs as well as ongoing fees such as maintenance or subscription costs to ensure that all costs associated with the chosen solution are within budget.

Overall, selecting the right CRM for higher education institutions requires careful assessment of features, capabilities, pricing plans, user feedback, industry trends, etc., to ensure that it meets all of an institution’s needs while also offering good value for money.

By taking these steps into account before making a decision about which platform to choose, institutions can ensure they have selected the best fit CRM solution for their particular needs.

FAQs in Relation to Best CRM for Higher Education Institutions Compared

What is a CRM in higher education?

In higher education, a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system is a powerful tool designed to streamline and enhance the communication and engagement process with prospective and current students, alumni, and even donors.

By consolidating valuable data and insights in one centralized platform, a CRM enables educational institutions to deliver personalized experiences, track interactions, and nurture relationships with their key stakeholders.

This ultimately leads to improved student recruitment, increased retention rates, and stronger connections with alumni and supporters.

With a comprehensive CRM solution, higher education institutions can make data-driven decisions and stay ahead of the competition by fostering meaningful relationships with their most important audiences.

What CRM do colleges use?

There is a variety of college CRM software on the market. Some popular CRM platforms used by colleges include:

  1. Zoho Bookings for Education: Zoho offers a comprehensive set of tools for managing student recruitment, admissions, and alumni relations. It supports lead management, email marketing, analytics, and more, making it an attractive option for colleges.
  2. Anthology: Formerly known as Campus Management, Anthology provides a suite of higher education solutions, including a CRM specifically designed for colleges and universities.Anthology CRM assists institutions in managing the entire student lifecycle, from recruitment to alumni engagement.
  3. Full Fabric: Full Fabric is a CRM platform tailored for higher education institutions. It helps colleges manage the entire student journey, including recruitment, admissions, and alumni relations.Full Fabric also offers features like event management and data analytics.
  4. Salesforce Education Cloud: Salesforce offers a specialized CRM solution for education called Education Cloud. This platform provides a suite of tools to help colleges manage student recruitment, admissions, and alumni engagement.Salesforce Education Cloud integrates with other Salesforce products, allowing institutions to build a customized CRM solution to fit their needs.

These are just a few examples of CRM systems used by colleges and universities. The choice of a CRM depends on the institution’s specific requirements, budget, and desired features.

How can CRM help a university?

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software can play a crucial role in addressing challenges like attracting and retaining students, fostering strong relationships, and optimizing their resources, by streamlining processes, enhancing communication, and providing valuable insights.

A CRM system offers a centralized platform that enables universities to manage all aspects of their interactions with prospective, current, and former students. By implementing a CRM solution, a university can expect the following benefits:

  1. Improved Recruitment and Admissions: A CRM system allows universities to track and analyze the entire recruitment process, from initial inquiries to applications and enrollment. This helps in identifying potential students, targeting marketing efforts, and streamlining the entire admissions process.
  2. Enhanced Student Engagement: CRM software enables universities to create personalized communication plans for individual students, ensuring that they receive relevant information and support throughout their academic journey. This leads to increased satisfaction, loyalty, and retention.
  3. Effective Alumni Relations: Universities can leverage CRM data to maintain strong relationships with alumni, keeping them informed about university news, events, and fundraising campaigns. This results in increased alumni engagement and support for the institution.
  4. Streamlined Internal Processes: CRM systems help universities automate and optimize various administrative tasks, such as managing student records, tracking financial aid, and scheduling appointments. This leads to increased efficiency, reduced costs, and better resource allocation.
  5. Data-Driven Decision Making: CRM software provides universities with valuable insights into student behavior, preferences, and needs. This data can inform strategic planning and decision-making processes, ensuring that universities remain competitive and responsive to the changing needs of their students.

In conclusion, CRM systems offer a comprehensive solution for universities looking to improve their overall performance and stay ahead in a competitive market.

By adopting a CRM solution, institutions can enhance the student experience, strengthen alumni relationships, and make data-driven decisions to ensure success.

What is a CRM system used for?

A CRM system is used for managing and improving a business’s interactions with its customers and potential clients.

It helps streamline sales and marketing processes, fundraising efforts, and customer support by organizing crucial information such as contact details, purchase history, and communication records.

By providing a centralized platform to track and analyze customer data, a CRM system enables businesses to build stronger relationships, enhance customer satisfaction, and ultimately drive sales growth and profitability

Do colleges use CRM systems?

Absolutely, many colleges and universities utilize CRM systems to streamline their communication and interactions with prospective students, current students, alumni, and other stakeholders.

By implementing a CRM system, institutions can effectively manage inquiries, track engagement, enhance student recruitment, improve retention rates, and foster lasting relationships with alumni.

Furthermore, CRM systems enable colleges to make data-driven decisions and personalize their approach to better serve their community. If you’re considering a CRM for your educational institution, it’s essential to research the available options and choose one that aligns with your specific needs and goals.