Regarding the College Board’s Recent Changes

Month: April 2023

Steve KergeBy Steve Kerge|April 5, 2023

Westbury, NY — On Wednesday, March 29, the College Board held a webinar regarding substantial changes they are making to the student search names availability this coming Fall 2023. Spark451 would like to share some thoughts with you on the topic.

First and foremost, as a leader in higher education enrollment marketing, Spark451 is an advocate of student data privacy. We practice the highest levels of data security while remaining committed to multi-tactical approaches to data acquisition, augmentation, and creative development. We have never guided our partner schools to be reliant on a single source for names, and continue to create a balanced approach to developing a qualified pool of students and their families to whom you can market. We have strong relationships with multiple names sources and will continue to monitor and work with the College Board as they evolve.

Our team was well represented at the College Board Connections webinar, and we have already asked questions seeking clarification on a number of factors regarding the new Connections platform. In short, we will continue to be your voice as we help you navigate through this new platform and collaborate with you in support of your institutional goals. As you might expect, some of the details for the College Board Connections plans are still being developed, and we will keep you updated as we keep our finger on the pulse.

Beyond the core student search activities, Spark451 continues to lead the industry with innovative digital marketing strategies that undergird each school’s unique goals. Our teams of strategists and digital media professionals have released thought-leadership pieces on our Spark blogs and vlogs, regarding topics such as:

This is a moment to pause and consider if your institution has a cohesive digital approach to engaging high school students and their parents. If you work with Spark451, you likely do – if you don’t, let’s get to work together.

Furthermore, our science of collaborating to meet the enrollment goals of your institution each year is not focused solely on creating a wide dragnet at the top of the funnel. Spark451 has always preached focusing on quality, as opposed to quantity, and marketing all the way from the suspect stage through enrollment. Our strategies remain solid and are nimble enough to evolve with shifts in the landscape.

Finally, as we digest the announcement from yesterday, we feel the need to share our position that shifts like this from the College Board are detrimental to both small and mid-size institutions, and more so, high school students and their respective access to information about college. When you combine this news with other shifts they have made, such as forcing institutions to purchase through plans that favor larger budgets, along with market announcements where they were attempting to purchase a marketing services company, the message is clear: the College Board is consolidating its power (under the flag of data privacy) through its quasi-monopoly on access to college-bound student data.

We’ve all experienced the countless examples of students saying, “I never heard of X small college until they reached out to me, and now, I am headed there this fall.” Moments like these will disappear under the new College Board Connections plan.

Spark451 remains committed to our mission of fueling the futures of colleges and students to be their masterpiece. That includes students of all walks of life, and institutions of all sizes and types.

About Spark451

Spark451, a Jenzabar company, is a higher education enrollment strategy, technology, and marketing firm that combines creativity with powerful technology to achieve measurable results. With a mission to help colleges and students fuel their future, the firm integrates a multitude of communication channels and platforms for effective enrollment marketing, student search, creative services, and digital media. Since 2011, Spark451 has worked with over 200 colleges and universities nationwide. For more information, please visit