About Us

Human Capital Research Corporation (HCRC) was established in 1991 to provide strategic and tactical information to college and university leaders, administrators, and policy makers. Our mission is to advance opportunity, productivity, and value in higher education by providing insight based on rigorous quantitative analysis and collaborative examination of the structures, strategies, practices, outcomes, and environments of our institutional clients.

While we are a for-profit corporation, we maintain a deep and abiding interest in the public purpose of higher education. Through our engagements over three decades of service and success, the firm has remained committed to advancing the social contribution and the long-run sustainability of colleges and universities. We take pride in our proven capacity to help colleges and universities become better attuned and responsive to external market realities that shape their future. We offer services designed to assist institutions in gaining greater insights across multiple dimensions to better serve their core purposes: setting integrated enrollment, academic and financial goals, assessing and improving internal performance and practices, and successfully fulfilling their institutional missions.

What We Do

Who We Serve

HCRC offers a wide range of quantitatively-based research services that fall under the general purview of enrollment management in conjunction with an institution’s academic, finance, advancement and executive leadership.

​With 30 professional staff – including both research analysts and an IT development team - we bring proven research capabilities to helping colleges and universities areas such as the following:

 

Strategic market analysis and competitive benchmarking

  • Detailed regional demographic projections to gauge enrollment demand;

  • Economic trend analysis to frame pricing policy and institutional financial planning;

  • National and regional trends in college enrollment patterns;

  • Competitor analysis, peer comparisons and benchmarking studies;

  • Systematic analysis of comparative institutional market position;

Leveraging financial aid to achieve enrollment and net revenue goals

  • Financial Aid and Matriculation Analysis –a robust and statistically rigorous approach to yield prediction, segmentation and net revenue projection

  • Evaluation of impact of alternative approaches to merit scholarship and need-based aid;

  • Models to assess trade-offs in strategies to improve quality, diversity, and net enrollment-based revenue;

  • Evaluating approaches to differentiated net pricing for graduate and professional programs;

 

Tuition pricing and financial aid policies, strategies and innovations

  • Assessment of pricing competitiveness and price benchmarking

  • Analysis of affordability through segmented analysis of student need, unmet need gaps, family self-help, debt burden and long-term financial obligation;

  • Evaluation of impact of pricing innovations such as tuition resets, price guarantees, differential pricing, enriched work alternatives, etc.;

  • Family Finance survey to explore how families actually pay for college;

  • Price Perception studies to gauge impact of net price on college choice;

  • Customized Net Price Calculators; 

Market development for prospective student recruitment

 

  • Proprietary High School Quality index for every high school in the U.S.;

  • Market Scorecard to identify, prioritize and target promising markets for student recruitment; 

  • Student Search Specification and Inquiry Scorings to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of recruitment efforts;

 

Admissions policy and practice

  • Academic Ranking – an approach to guiding admission decisions with evidence of likelihood of student success;

  • Admitted Student Survey -  a market-tested approach to assessing factors affecting college choice;

  • Assessments of outcomes of innovations, such as test-optional admissions.   

 

Student retention, degree completion and the undergraduate experience

  • Cohort Performance and Persistence Tracking - comprehensive, longitudinal analysis to focus retention strategies for optimal impact on academic success, persistence and completion patterns 

  • Enrollment Flow Models to integrate new student, aid and retention data to project long-term enrollment and net tuition revenue consequences of compositional changes in freshman classes and alternative pricing/discounting strategies; 

  • Attrition Prediction models – for early identification of students at risk of not performing academically or persisting toward degree;  

  • Connections Survey – to assess student engagement and the student experience and its impact on student retention

 

Curriculum assessment

  • Regional occupational and labor market trends shaping curricular opportunities and enrollment demand;

  • Comparative and competitive evaluation of an institution’s current academic program portfolio;

  • Identifying market opportunities and competitive positioning for new undergraduate and graduate program development;

 

Advancing diversity, affordability, access and opportunity

  • Analysis of the impact of parental educational attainment on enrollment demand, affordability, college choice, academic performance and retention;

  • Projections of enrollment demand and yield prediction across targeted subgroups;

  • Empirical analysis of the trade-offs, costs and opportunities for improving diversity and access.   


Working with Boards, Executive Leadership and Faculty to Develop New Insight

The firm meets with institutional leaders in a variety of settings--meetings, presentations, retreats and workshops--that offer unique data visualizations, original data metrics, market projections and simulations to collaboratively explore core dimensions of market position and sustainability critical to institutional strategy. These dimensions include:  

  • demographic, economic, market, and financial trends shaping higher education

  • detailed measurement of an institution’s market position and competitive performance

  • forecasts and trajectories of future institutional outcomes in light of enrollment demand, affordability, demographic shifts, competitive and market position

  • challenges and opportunities for strategic and sustainable enrollment development

 

Assisting Institutions to Understand and Develop Robust Data Resources

The firm also assists institutions to understand and enhance their capacity to track, collect, organize and utilize their own data. These data resources provide fundamental pillars of support for the evaluation of an institution’s strategies, performance and institutional planning. This assistance includes:  

  • Extensive use of survey research as input to institutional decision-making;

  • Comprehensive mining of secondary data resources for institutional benchmarking and comparative peer assessment;

  • Recommendations of protocols for storing, reporting and analyzing institutional data.

HCRC works with an active client portfolio of more than 90 colleges and universities representing a robust cross-section of the higher education landscape. Our clients include both private and public colleges and universities.  HCRC also works with a small number of education consortia, units of government, and foundations on issues concerning public finance, social impact assessment, labor market and industry analysis, long-term planning, and strategic information.

How We Do It

We stand apart from other enrollment research consultancies in a number of important respects including:​

  • The scope, depth and customization of our client data warehouses, high standards for accuracy,  and attention to detail;

  • The rigor and variety of our research and statistical methods with robust analytic approaches reflecting multiple disciplines,;

  • Our exceptional secondary and primary research skills;

  • Our capacity and willingness to adapt our practices to meet the specific needs and exacting specifications of our clients;

  • Our insatiable intellectual curiosity and eagerness to experiment and innovate; and

  • Our open architecture and commitment to advance our clients' own in-house information and analytic capabilities.

We offer no gimmicks, quick fixes, magic bullets or boiler-plate solutions.  In fact, clients who work with HCRC often find that our collaborative approach and rigor requires greater effort on their part to capture and organize their own data, as well as analyze, interpret and apply research findings. Typically our engagements stimulate more intensive endeavors to try new innovations to advance an institution’s market position and institutional success. 

​Our greatest strengths stem from our capacity to listen and learn, to intelligently contextualize the needs and objectives of our clients, and to help frame issues through the lens of rigorous quantitative analysis and creative data visualization. With a high long-term client retention rate, the vast majority of HCRC’s clients embrace our work together as an ongoing real collaboration with an appreciation for shared responsibilities and joint product.

​Human Capital embraces this same ethos as an employer and sees the professional development of its staff as central to its mission. From our vantage point, professional advancement stems from an organizational culture that embraces team approaches, open architecture, and continuous improvement.
 

About Brian Zucker

Brian, the founder and president of HCRC, is a recognized national expert on the financing of college education, enrollment strategy, financial aid, and higher education reform. He has designed and developed some of the profession’s most robust analytical tools and approaches for understanding the higher education market, promoting access and opportunity, achieving enrollment and revenue goals, assessing educational outcomes, and improving institutional performance, productivity and profitability.  His experience, perspective and insights have led hundreds of college and university presidents, trustees, provosts, CFOs and chief enrollment officers to engage his services, seek his support and trust his counsel.   

Brian has previously served as Vice President for Research and Policy Development at the Minnesota Private College Council, Research Foundation and Fund; Senior Economist, Minnesota Department of Trade and Economic Development; Special Projects Coordinator for the South Bronx Development Corporation; and Research Fellow for the University of Pennsylvania under contract with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.