Naropa University modernises student experience with Ellucian ERP

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Higher education providers must provide students with an efficient and transformative learning experience.

By U2B Staff 

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Out with the old, in with the new. Like it or lump it, this has to be the thinking adopted by campus administrators across the world.

With the pace of change in technology only accelerating by day, keeping up with the Joneses means this mindset is the only way universities can survive growing competition. Today’s student cohort is a more discerning, and less forgiving, one – bad service, even from a university, could easily find its way into the annals of internet history. 

As such, universities would do well to remember that “CX” or “customer experience” is not a metric of concern only to commercial businesses.

Fee-paying students are, essentially, customers and in the current market, these “customers” are buying more than paper qualifications – they are buying the entire “education experience”. Institutions able to provide a learning environment that is seamless, blended and transformative from enrolment through to graduation are the only ones that stand a fighting chance.

To do that, those controlling the budget purse strings must loosen it a little when it comes to investing in technology that could improve the student experience.

This week, Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, made that leap.

The private liberal arts university confirmed it has inked an agreement with Ellucian, a provider of software and services built specifically to power higher education administration.

Under the deal, Naropa University will implement the Ellucian Colleague suite of cloud solutions, creating a unified technology framework that supports the complete student journey from prospect through graduation.

Ellucian will provide full technology management services to Naropa in the form of on-site end-to-end IT services staff, including strategic direction and hands-on management. The firm’s experts will ensure the systems are optimised and adopted, allowing university leadership to focus on other areas of concern such as increasing enrolment rates and ensuring student success.

Naropa will also use Ellucian’s grants services to help secure and manage grants, and its academic support services to develop and execute on a roadmap for academic technology.

“Because our approach to learning incorporates Eastern wisdom studies into traditional Western scholarship, we must attract, enroll and engage students that are inspired by our unique education to remain competitive,” said Naropa University VP Operations, Tyler Kelsch.

“This means implementing solutions and services that support a modern and personalised experience for students and prospects has become absolutely crucial to our success.”


Naropa University is a leader in contemplative education, offering undergraduate and graduate programs that emphasise professional and personal growth, intellectual development, and contemplative practice.

naropa university
Naropa University is a Buddhist-inspired, student-centered liberal arts university in Boulder, Colorado. Source Naropa University

The Ellucian Colleague is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution for higher education providers designed to enhance the student experience and help them achieve better organisational alignment through data integration across departments.

On top of facilitating the student recruitment process, the system guides students to a successful outcome. Additionally, with the Ellucian Ethos, Workflow and Analytics platforms, universities using the system would be able to glean valuable insight from institutional data to enhance operational efficiency and help them make better administrative decisions.

This drives overall faculty and student engagement and productivity, whilst also helping students gain better visibility into their academic standing and putting them in control of their own progress from enrolment through to graduation.

According to the announcement, Naropa is now one of over 35 institutions that are already a part of the Ellucian Colleague cloud community.

“We are thrilled to partner with Naropa to implement unified cloud solutions and services that will help the university modernize existing processes, attract new students, transform the student experience, and continue to thrive in today’s higher education market,” said Ellucian President and CEO, Laura Ipsen.

“It is exciting to see institutions join our growing Colleague cloud community to take advantage of the efficiencies and foundation for innovation cloud provides.”