15 Best Higher Education CRM 2024

Last Updated:Sunday, February 11, 2024

Quick Summary:

Discover the power of CRM in higher education! This article explains why it’s a game-changer. We’ll explore how the right CRM system can streamline admissions, boost conversions, and keep students hooked.

Join us as we review and compare the best CRMs tailored for the academic world, making student and alumni connections smoother than ever.

According to the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University, up to 40% of prospective students drop out before school starts because of difficulties with the admissions process.

On a similar note, two-thirds of high school students report that social media communications impact their decision on where to enroll in college. In other words, if an institution is not actively leveraging social media for admissions, it’s missing out on a pool of potential recruits.

Apart from potential students, alumni are another powerful tool that every institution must keep in its court. They are crucial for fundraising opportunities, marketing, and brand awareness. 


Luckily, there's a tool that can help institutions improve their recruitment, enrolment, admission, and retention efforts. 

Four words: Higher education CRM software.



In summary, higher education Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems aim to create more valuable customer relationships. The best CRM systems help institutions maintain relationships with their current students and create valuable relationships with their future students.

Whether your institution is large or small, private or public, arts-focused or research-driven, this article covers everything you need to know to choose the best CRM solution for your needs. 

Let’s go!

crm for higher education


Benefits of Using CRM for Higher Education

Let's take a school administration software that many institutions rely on. This type of software operates in a relatively black-and-white context where it tracks activities such as:

  • Is a student enrolled or not?

  • Is a bill paid or not?

  • Are classes attended or not? 

On the other hand, a CRM system for higher education operates in a broader context and helps schools in the following areas:

  • Attracting new students.

  • Improving alumni relations.

  • Improving the student experience. 

  • Automating the admissions process.

  • Insight on organizational processes.

  • Security and data protection.

Engagement with Prospects 

Prospects seek valuable information, and first impressions are important. By using a CRM, you'll be able to capture a prospect's name, email, geographic location, previous education, and more. This type of information is highly valuable as it can be then used to tailor future promotions and campaigns to their interest. 

Marketing Through Automation 

Marketing automation can immensely benefit colleges and universities. The best higher education CRM systems will help you streamline your student lead management and follow-up processes and ultimately improve your operations' efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Gain Insights on Organizational Processes 

Once upon a time, higher education institutions gained insights into their organizational processes by keeping pen-and-paper records or complicated spreadsheets, all filled with redundant or outdated data. Today, thanks to CMS platforms, gathering data is quite simple. These CMSs have built-in reporting and analytics features that let users add, manage, and access information. Thanks to powerful features like these, higher-ed institutions can arrive at better decisions and develop more effective growth strategies. 

Manage Budget & Resource Allocation 

CRM systems come equipped with tools that collect all kinds of valuable, granular data on your audience. That data is nicely structured into detailed reports that can enable smarter budget and resource allocation management.

Security & Data Protection 

Your CRM will contain sensitive personal information such as applicants' and students' names, dates of birth, email addresses, phone numbers, and more. Safeguarding this highly personal and sensitive data is essential. Luckily, the best CRM systems come with a range of security features, including user authentication, authorization, encryption, data security filters, and more. 


Key Features of Higher Education CRM

higher education crm features


Manage Institution Events

Event planning is a significant aspect of fundraising, recruitment, and student engagement. With a CRM, you can manage all of your event-related tasks and keep track of relevant data, all from one central system. Most CRMs come with powerful event management tools that you can use to inform your event planning strategy. 

You can use your CRM's event management tools to:

  • Create a strategic guest list.

  • Design intuitive registration forms.

  • Set personalized ticket prices.

  • Set up recurring event registration.

  • Send pre- and post-event surveys.

  • Create custom event reports.

Manage Inquiries

Back in the day, the only way to receive an inquiry was through phone; today, it's a slightly different story. Inquiries can come from multiple channels, such as phone, email, social media, and website chat, to name a few. To ensure no inquiries fall through the cracks, you need to capture and keep them all in one central place. In addition, you need to reach out fast. According to statistics, the odds of converting a lead to a customer decrease by a dramatic 80% after 5 minutes! As luck would have it, most CRM systems offer all the tools you would need to act upon new inquiries rapidly and maintain communication. Even better, with some more advanced features, you can make sure the leads go to the relevant admission officer based on zip code, city, course choice, and more. 

Streamline Admission and Evaluation Process

Higher education CRMs let you streamline the entire admissions process from lead, applicant, student, enrollment, and payment. You can track your leads' status and pinpoint which processes need more investment based on detailed reports. In addition, many of these CRM systems have a built-in document management system for uploading, viewing, and printing student documentation as part of the admissions process.

Manage Accounting and invoicing Systems 

If there's something every higher education institution needs, it's a practical accounting and invoicing system to run finance operations smoothly. The best CRM platforms let you securely process payments, track payment history, and create financial reports. Moreover, CRMs can integrate with external payment gateways to allow online payments for tuition and other school fees.

Integrate with the Institution's Website and Social Media Channels

Your website is the powerhouse of your recruitment efforts. Prospects go there to find relevant information, ask questions, and see pictures of life at your Campus. By integrating your website with a CRM system, you can quickly manage your leads and convert them into students. Information will go from your website to your CRM instantly, updating in real-time. 

The same applies to your social media channels. These are your most crucial communications channels. Your social media channels are heavy with information that your team must process and manage. Integrating your social media channels into your CRM can save your team hours of going through data and responding to prospects' inquiries. You'll have the right strategy, tools, and support in place so your team can use social media to its full potential.

Best Higher Education CRM Comparison (Top 10 Highest Ranked)


Best for

Pricing Starts at


Maestro SIS

Scaling, customizable, responsive

Contact Maestro SIS

Visit site

Radius by Campus Management

Streamlined admissions, cloud efficiency

Contact Radius by Campus Management

Visit site

HubSpot CRM

User-friendly lead generation


Visit site


Secure document collection


Visit site


Secure document collection

Contact SchoolMint 

Visit site

NetSuite CRM

Customizable application management

Contact NetSuite CRM

Visit site


Midsize real-time views

Contact Ellucian

Visit site

Embark Campus

Personalized communication, automation

Contact Embark Campus

Visit site

FreeAgent CRM

Adaptable communication, customization


Visit site


Instant insights, user-friendly


Visit site



1. Maestro SIS

maestro sis

Why We Chose It:

Maestro SIS offers great customer support. Need help? They’ve got your back. It’s highly customizable and super responsive, making it a breeze to use on any device. However, fair warning, there’s a bit of a learning curve, and the interface might feel a tad dated. Luckily, the features outweigh the drawbacks.

Features / Benefits 

  • Outstanding customer support. 

  • Highly-responsive customizable solution.

  • Ease of use.

  • Accessible from any device (phone, tablet, computer).

  • Suitable for scaling organizations. 


  • It's a bit of a learning curve.

  • Dated interface.    


Although the vendor does not provide the starting price point, you can schedule a demo and get a free trial. 

Visit Site
Go to Maestro SIS’s official website


2. Radius by Campus Management

radius by campus management

Why We Chose It:

Radius is your go-to for top-notch workflow automation, especially for admissions management. The cloud-based system is a winner, requiring minimal IT setup. Just be ready for a bit of a learning curve and an interface that could use a facelift. But for what it offers, it’s worth considering.

Features / Benefits 

  • Top-grade workflow automation.

  • Best for admissions management.

  • Entirely cloud-based.

  • Minimal IT setup is required.

  • Two-way web chat feature to deal with student inquiries quickly.


  • Steep learning curve.

  • Not the best option for CRM beginners.

  • An outdated interface. 


The vendor doesn't provide any info on pricing plans. Get in touch for more. 

Visit Site
Go to Radius’s official website


3. HubSpot CRM

hubspot crm

Why We Chose It:

HubSpot CRM is a gem with a free version and user-friendly interface. It syncs like a charm with other HubSpot hubs and is perfect for CRM newbies. However, the costs can add up if you dive into the paid features. Still, the free plan is a steal.

Features / Benefits

  • It's a good free CRM version.

  • Intuitive user interface and flawless user experience. 

  • Automatically syncs with other HubSpot hubs.

  • A great pick for first-time CRM users.

  • Powerful lead generation tools.


  • It can get pricey once you start adding paid features.

  • Limited customization options.

  • Lacks advanced functionalities. 


HubSpot's core CRM platform is entirely free to use for as long as you want without breaking the bank. There's no end date for the free plan. You can add up to 1,000,000 contacts and unlimited users, as well as experiment with tools like email scheduling, live chat, tasks and activities, ad management, and email templates. 

Visit Site
Go to HubSpot CRM’s official website


4. FileInvite


Why We Chose It:

FileInvite wins hearts with excellent customer service and an easy setup. If document collection is your game, it’s got you covered with solid security features. Just brace yourself for potentially longer upload times and a limited pool of integrations.

Features / Benefits

  • Excellent customer service.

  • The software is easy to use and set up.

  • A great solution for document collection.

  • Solid security features. 

  • Helpful videos for an easy onboarding process.


  • It can take a little while to upload files.

  • Lack of integrations. 


You can choose between four paid plans, including:

  • Lite (from $12 per month)

  • Pro (POA)

  • Multi (POA)

  • Enterprise (POA)

There's also a 14-day free trial with unlimited functionality.

Visit Site
Go to FileInvite’s official website


5. SchoolMint


Why We Chose It:

SchoolMint offers a customizable journey with a user-friendly dashboard. It’s great for communication and tracking, even though creating reports might feel like a chore. The mystery of pricing adds an element of suspense, but a custom plan ensures you pay for what you need.

Features / Benefits

  • Customizable software that provides end-to-end functionality.

  • User-friendly dashboard.

  • Easy to track and verify data.

  • Ease of communication via email and text.

  • It is a great way to keep track of applications, important documents, dates, and contacts. 


  • Creating reports can be tedious and unintuitive.

  • The system glitches too frequently, leading to problems with data management.


The company doesn't provide a transparent pricing system. You will need to contact them for a custom quote. 

Visit Site
Go to SchoolMint’s official website


6. NetSuite CRM

netsuite crm

Why We Chose It:

NetSuite CRM caters to small to midsize institutions with its real-time view and customization options. While it might be a bit much for non-tech users, the price tag is justified by its extensive functionalities. Just be ready for a bit of a learning curve.

Features / Benefits 

  • Ideal for small to midsize educational institutions.

  • Unlocks a real-time, 360-degree view of your customers.

  • Seamlessly integrates with other applications to support your entire sales process and customer life cycle. 

  • Fully customizable to fit your needs. 

  • Simple, interactive, and responsive user interface. 


  • They could use better documentation of certain processes and modules.

  • It can be particularly complex for users who aren't tech-savvy. 

  • It can be very challenging to create advanced reports or searches.


The vendor doesn't provide info about its pricing plans. However, according to customer reviews, it's a very expensive solution with elaborate pro services and flexible usage. The costly add-on modules to gain functionality add up to the price. 

Visit Site
Go to NetSuite CRM’s official website


7. Ellucian


Why We Chose It:

Ellucian offers personalized communication and automation. There are options aplenty, from SaaS to on-premise. However, the limited reporting and user-friendly challenges might make you work for it. Custom pricing ensures you get what you need within your budget.

Features / Benefits

  • Personalized communications and automated workflows.

  • Choose from SaaS, private cloud, and on-premise options.

  • Quick and easy integration with a wide range of solutions.  

  • Configurable search, reporting, and data-sharing capabilities.

  • Track and manage fundraising from alumni and donors.


  • Reporting capabilities are limited.

  • Navigation is not very user-friendly.

  • Steep initial learning curve. 


The company doesn't provide a transparent pricing system. You will need to contact them for a custom quote. 

Visit Site
Go to Ellucian’s official website


8. Embark Campus

embark campus

Why We Chose It:

Embark Campus lets you easily manage individual or automated emails. It’s adaptable to devices and offers customization options. However, uploading materials might be a small hiccup. For a tailored solution, get ready to request a custom quote.

Features / Benefits

  • Send individual emails or scheduled automated emails.

  • Compatible with both smartphones and tablets.

  • Customize your application site with your colors and branding.

  • Adapt the logic of your application form.

  • Group applications and assign reviewers.


  • Issues with uploading materials. 

  • It is not as intuitive to use as users would like. 


You will have to request a custom quote.

Visit Site
Go to Embark Campus’s official website


9. FreeAgent CRM

freeagent crm

Why We Chose It:

FreeAgent CRM provides instant insights and marketing automation. It’s user-friendly, even for the tech-challenged. However, refining searches might be a bit tricky. The tiered pricing model ensures you get the features you need without breaking the bank.

Features / Benefits

  • Gain instant context into all of your customer relationships.

  • They are constantly updating features.

  • Marketing automation workflows to save time.

  • Super intuitive and easy to navigate.

  • There is no steep learning curve, and anyone with limited technical ability can use it.


  • Difficulty refining search parameters.

  • No bulk email functions.


There are four paid plans to choose from depending on your needs, including:

  • Essentials ($25 per user per month) 

  • Professional ($75 per user per month)

  • Enterprise ($135 per user per month)

  • Unlimited ($250 per user per month)

The Essentials paid plan comes with a free trial, while the Professional offers a demo. 

Visit Site
Go to FreeAgent CRM's official website


10. Admitek


Why We Chose It:

Admitek’s integrated payment gateway and customized solutions make it a contender. But brace yourself for limited integration options. The transparent pricing with technical support is a plus.

Features / Benefits

  • Integrated payment gateway to collect payments in a secure environment.

  • Customized solutions to fit your needs.

  • Admissions management. 

  • Counseling and interview management.

  • Customized reports by specifying parameters.


  • There are no integration options.

  • Lack of online reviews. 


Pricing starts at 42,500 INR ($576) per year, with full technical support included. Contact the company for discounts. Software customization is possible and is billed separately.

Visit Site
Go to Admitek’s official website


11. Creatix Campus

creatix campus

Why We Chose It:

Creatix Campus offers a plethora of features and integrations. It’s your one-stop solution for recruitment, assessment, and curriculum management. But fair warning: the complexity might make it a bit challenging for simple tasks. For a solution tailored to your needs, request a customized quote.

Features / Benefits

  • Recruitment and alumni management. 

  • Online evaluation and assessment.

  • Manage and maintain attendance. 

  • Automated scheduling and curriculum management. 

  • Integration with more than 500+ applications, software, and tools.


  • Users complain about customer service. 

  • The software is so complex that it can be difficult to perform simple tasks.

  • No financial module.


The vendor does not provide pricing. You need to request a customized quote.

Visit Site
Go to Creatix Campus’s official website


12. Slate


Why We Chose It:

Slate offers multiple communication channels and dynamic marketing automation. It’s feature-packed with event management and embedded analytics. However, be patient with feature releases, and navigating the different areas might take a while. To get the full scoop, reach out to them for a demo.

Features / Benefits

  • Multiple channels of communication.

  • Dynamic marketing automation.

  • Unlimited drag-and-drop forms.

  • Embedded statistics and analytics. 

  • Event management.


  • A delayed release of requested features.

  • It can take a while to learn the different areas of the platform.

  • Could have some better reporting options.


The vendor does not provide pricing. Get in touch to request a demo. 

Visit Site
Go to Slate’s official website


13. Copper


Why We Chose It:

Copper seamlessly integrates with all your G Suite apps, making it a smooth operator. Automation takes care of the nitty-gritty, even on mobile. However, reaching support might be a bit tricky, and advanced features come with a price tag. Dive in with a 14-day free trial to see if it’s your match.

Features / Benefits

  • Seamless integration with every G Suite app.

  • Automation takes care of tasks like logging calls, meetings, tasks, and activities.

  • The mobile version lets you do everything you need to do, even when you're on the go. 

  • Automatically suggests recent contacts you’ve been emailing to be added to your list.

  • It lets you know where every lead is in your sales process. 


  • Support seems to be hard to reach.

  • There's a steep learning curve for those who don't grasp basic coding principles.

  • You have to pay a lot more for the better features that complete the CRM.


Although Copper CRM doesn't come with a free plan, it does offer a 14-day free trial. There are three separate paid plans to choose from, including: 

  • Basic ($19 per month)

  • Professional ($49 per month)

  • Business ($119 per month)

Visit Site
Go to Copper’s official website


14. Stars Campus Solutions

stars campus solutions

Why We Chose It:

Stars Campus Solutions is your go-to for academic progress tracking and automated admissions. Mass communication is a breeze. Just be prepared for potential hiccups in customer service and system navigation. Check out the free demo to see if it aligns with your needs.

Features / Benefits

  • Keep track of your students’ academic progress with features like attendance alerts. 

  • A Student Portal where students can view their class schedules, each class’s start date, the instructor, the location of the class, etc.

  • Send out a mass text or email to the appropriate recipients.

  • Tools for an automated admissions process.


  • Poor customer service. 

  • It can sometimes be difficult to find a report or function in the system.

  • Not very user-friendly. 


Pricing starts at $139 per school per month. There's a free demo available upon request. 

Visit Site
Go to Stars Campus Solutions’ official website


15. Finalsite


Why We Chose It:

Finalsite isn’t just a platform; it’s your entire digital hub for website, marketing, and communications. If you’re aiming for enrollment growth and seamless integration, this might be your solution. However, customization might be a bit limited, and the price tag could be steep. If it fits your budget, go ahead and explore the possibilities.

Features / Benefits

  • A full website, marketing, and communications platform.  

  • Increase enrollment with powerful inbound marketing software.

  • Integrate your admissions platform and student information system with Finalsite.

  • Support for various payment gateways.

  • A digital platform where parents, students, and faculty staff can access information that’s just for them.


  • Lack of customization.

  • Too expensive for smaller businesses. 


Setup fees start at $15,000, and the annual subscription generally starts at $7,500 per year. 

Visit Site
Go to Finalsite’s official website



Let’s recap!

Higher education CRM solutions have revolutionized the educational realm and have brought a level of change that institutions haven't seen since the advent of the internet. From streamlining admissions and managing events to nurturing relationships with alumni, using a higher education CRM is the foundation of running a competitive business. 

When it comes to choosing the right CRM for your organization, the choice will depend on the specific features your institution needs. 

Are you looking for a highly responsive, customizable solution ideal for scaling organizations? Consider Maestro SIS. SchoolMint is a great way to keep track of applications, important documents, dates, and contacts, while Ellucian is best for tracking and managing fundraising from alumni and donors.

However, if seamless integration with every G Suite app is most important to you, then you should look no further than Copper. 

If all the above is merely irrelevant and you want a platform that has an intuitive user interface and flawless user experience, pick HubSpot.

Each of these 15 vendors has a powerful set of features, so the choice is yours. Hopefully, we have helped you narrow down your choices, and one of these solutions has appealed to you while reading this roundup. 

Now it's time to take full advantage of the CRM and start managing your higher-ed institution like an expert!

CRM for Higher Education FAQs

What is CRM for Higher Education?

CRM for Higher Education refers to systems tailored to the needs of educational institutions, colleges, and universities. These systems help manage interactions with prospective students, current students, alumni, and other stakeholders. The goals include improving communication, enhancing the student experience, and fostering relationships throughout the entire academic lifecycle.

Features include recruitment management, admissions tracking, student engagement tools, alumni relationship management, and analytics to provide insights into the student journey.

Which CRM is Best for EdTech?

For EdTech, consider Salesforce for Education Cloud for comprehensive tools, HubSpot for various user-friendly features, Zoho CRM for versatility, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Education for a range of applications, and Pipedrive for streamlined sales management. Choose based on scalability, integration capabilities, and specific EdTech needs.

Is CRM Effective in Educational Marketing?

Certainly! CRM is highly effective in educational marketing because it streamlines lead management, enables personalized communication, tracks interactions, offers valuable analytics, supports retention efforts, and enhances alumni relations. In other words, it’s a great tool for optimizing communication and strategies throughout the whole student lifecycle.

What is the Importance of CRM in University?

In universities, the right CRM helps customize how we bring in new students, keeps them engaged with personalized messages, and uses data to make sure they stay on track. It’s also great at keeping in touch with alumni, making administrative tasks smoother, and giving extra support to students who might need it.