Andrew Drinkwater

“I’ve got a PhD in robotics engineering, and you’re telling me I have to get you to run the enrollment forecast?” – Associate Dean. Why we built Plaid Forecast:

As expatriate institutional analysts, policy directors, project managers, and software engineers, we understand the challenges facing enrollment forecasters.

This year, we launched Plaid Forecast, our web-based enrolment forecasting platform built exclusively for higher education. Plaid Forecast is a cloud-based platform utilizing supervised machine learning that enables collaborative, easy-to-use, accurate enrolment forecasting by many different stakeholders within an institution in seconds rather than hours.

We built Plaid Forecast to empower all stakeholders in Strategic Enrollment Management & Planning (SEM) to be active and engaged partners in the SEM process by giving them a tool that could empower them to run their own scenarios in real time and see the impacts.

Small and Large Programs

We wanted to build a tool that could handle small programs as well as large programs. Small programs are tricky in the prediction world – think of something like Child Nuclear Medicine that admits 1 resident every two years, as opposed to a Bachelor of Arts that admits 1,000 students per year. Our simulation methods are working well – both for those really small programs and the really large.

All Kinds of Programs

One of our earliest goals was to build Plaid Forecast for a wide variety of programs and institution types – trades and apprenticeship, undergraduate, graduate, professional, and many others.

The Enrollment Forecast is Broader Than Institutional Research

For too long, the enrollment forecast has been run by an Institutional Research office with generally positive but minimal interactions with other stakeholders. These offices, often stretched thin in terms of resources and time, become unwitting gatekeepers of enrollment forecasting data, causing stress for both analysts and their directors. Plaid Forecast aims to change this dynamic by empowering institutional research professionals to focus on their core strengths: extracting meaning from data and collaborating with decision-makers to develop actionable insights.

Code-Free Forecasting Scenarios

Traditionally, enrollment forecasting has been perceived as a technical job, accessible primarily to data-savvy individuals. Plaid Forecast challenges this notion by providing a user-friendly interface that eliminates the need for coding expertise. We believe that stakeholders from diverse backgrounds should be able to engage in the enrollment planning process without facing unnecessary technical barriers. With Plaid Forecast, creating and running enrollment forecast scenarios becomes an intuitive and painless experience.

A Clean, Modern, and Mobile-Friendly Interface

We set out to develop an interface that goes beyond functionality, consciously incorporating modern design principles and even an element of fun. Plaid Forecast presents data in a clean and visually appealing manner, departing from the overwhelming wall of numbers typically associated with scenario planning (but yes, spreadsheet lovers – we’re supporting you too – watch for our upcoming feature release).

We wanted to make something that could work on a mobile phone. And we did it! (thank you Plaid team). Our method of user inputs is simple to use and works nicely on both mobile and desktop.

Active Planning Partnerships with Faculties

Perhaps you work in a Faculty of Management – let’s make it possible for you to edit your targets quickly and easily, without sifting through everyone else’s programs.

Our platform enables coordination among programs – for example, if Engineering is projecting an over-enrollment, Math can adjust earlier by adding more Calculus classes.

No More Manual Reconciliation

When you do your planning by email, inevitably someone falls a version behind, and you end up with two or more competing versions of the truth.

Plaid Forecast maintains a comprehensive history of every scenario and tracks all changes, empowering you to compare different iterations and versions with ease. Whether it's comparing “Senate Approved 2023” to “Faculty of Food Science 5% Growth, Iteration 4” or any other scenario, Plaid Forecast ensures data integrity and saves you from the headaches of manual reconciliation.

It’s going to be a lifesaver for when the budget director asks you to explain why the data is different today than when they last looked.

Automated Updates

Updating enrollment forecasts on a monthly or annual basis can be a daunting task. Plaid Forecast relieves this burden by automating the data update process and running scenarios seamlessly. With our platform, you always have access to the latest and most accurate projections, enabling informed decision-making and eliminating the anxiety associated with manual updates.

Planning for Efficiency, Transparency, and Accountability

We developed Plaid Forecast with a keen understanding of the mounting pressure on institutions to optimize budget allocation, ensure transparency, and enhance accountability. Our platform seamlessly integrates with your SEM planning efforts, helping you attract and retain the right cohorts while enabling their success within your institution.

Partnering with You for Optimal Forecasting

At Plaid Forecast, we consider ourselves partners in your enrollment forecasting journey. We encourage you to share your challenges and pain points in enrollment forecasting, as we are committed to continuously improving and refining our platform to meet your needs. Your insights and feedback are invaluable to us.

Take the Next Step

Ready to experience the power of Plaid Forecast firsthand? Book a demo with our team today and discover how our platform can transform your enrollment forecasting process. Whether you're an VP, Dean, institutional research professional, a strategic enrollment management in higher education, we invite you to see how Plaid Forecast can empower you and your institution to make data-driven decisions with confidence. You can book your free demo online at or by clicking the Contact button above.