Wilifred Banner Case Study
Case Study

Wilfrid Laurier University


Student enrollments have exceeded targets by more than 70%

Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario (Laurier) believes the future of its success depends on its online programs. Online program offerings are not as prolific in Canada as they are in other parts of the world, so it was a leap of faith for Laurier to take its well-respected Policing program online independently.

The university quickly discovered it did not have the budget or the knowledge to grow and scale to meet the demand of the online market for the degree. After extensive due diligence, the university chose to partner with Keypath Education to help them become a national leader in online education.

About the Partner

Wilfrid Laurier University offers a full range of undergraduate and graduate programs at its campuses in Waterloo, Brantford and Kitchener, Ontario. For more than a century, the university has been known for academic excellence, and Laurier Online is another way for it to bring that excellence to students across Canada. The university has been ranked number one in Student Satisfaction by Maclean’s magazine.

The Strategy and Execution

In early 2016, Laurier came to Keypath with an online Bachelor of Arts in Policing program. The university needed a partner to help grow its online student population, launch new online degrees with OPM support, and provide broader access to the market that could benefit from its new online programs.

Keypath knew Laurier’s online Policing program specifically was uniquely positioned for success. The university had consulted extensively with the policing community before launching the program and built it around the needs of that community. It was intentionally designed to meet the needs of officers, and to improve policing across the country, both in terms of academic content and the flexibility to fit officers’ shifting schedules. As the only degree of its kind in the country, and the only one opens exclusively to serving and retired police officers, the program was something special. The demand was there – Laurier just needed to tap into it.

Enter Keypath. A data-driven approach was taken through the KeypathEDGE platform, identifying and recruiting high-quality students for Laurier's online Policing program in addition to assisting Laurier with the management and retention of existing students by monitoring student outcomes and experiences. In particular, Keypath led a B2B outreach campaign that opened doors the university would not otherwise have had access to. The partners convene weekly to discuss progress, student experience, and the direction of the partnership. Keypath has also supported Laurier in the successful launch of an online Bachelor of Arts in Criminology & Policing program. Most recently, the success of these two programs has led to Laurier and Keypath partnering to launch an additional suite of postgraduate programs in Public Safety, Social Work and Applied Computing.

The Results

  • Wilfrid Laurier University is quickly establishing itself as a national leader in Canadian online education
  • All programs were launched on time
  • Marketing efforts have exceeded expectations by 27%
  • Since launch, student enrollments have exceeded the target by more than 70%
  • Greatly expanded Laurier’s reach outside of Ontario, with enrolled students from Alberta, British Columbia, Quebec, other provinces, and some international students
  • Term-over-term retention rates of up to 88%
  • Current online programs have been so successful that the university is launching a suite of others

The Takeaways 

  • No risk, no reward – Laurier took a leap into online education and it paid off
  • Keypath can unearth resources a university wouldn’t otherwise have access to
  • Universities must shift the way they support their online efforts
  • As online student populations grow and scale, increased resources will be necessary
Programs Launched
BA in Policing
Honors BA in Criminology and Policing
Next Case Study

“Our partnership with Keypath has been a revelation. We are very new to the online degree world, and we simply didn’t know what the possibilities were, or how we needed to work in this space to be successful. We needed an OPM partner with significant experience in online degrees to guide us toward best practices, and to work closely and carefully with us as we adapted our internal systems and culture to pursue this strategic initiative.”

Bruce Arai, Assistant Provost: Strategy and Dean, Faculty of Human and Social Sciences