Student Data in SDFC

If you currently work in the marketing, enrollments or registration departments of a University and have just began using Salesforce, one of the challenges you may face is deciding the best way to store student information and track prospective and registered students. Here are some options to help you decide the best approach:

1. Decision on where to store Student data in Salesforce

Salesforce is a valuable solution for B2B businesses however, it does not work well if  storing individuals, such as students, from an out of the box capability. If you have students and alumni working for an organization, you have 3 choices to store students:

1. Using Accounts and Contacts.

2. Use person accounts

3. Use Non profit starter pack

2. Using Accounts and contacts out of the box

If you use Accounts and Contacts to store students, you can use the student’s name as the account name. All of the contact information goes into Contacts, or, using the bucket model where you would group all individual students into one account and have all contact information under that same account.


1. This is a good solution to store registered students from organizations, or alumni who work for a company using accounts for their company and contacts.


1. There is significant amount of time spent in customizing accounts to work for individual students who do not have an organization. An account name has to be created with a student name manually or using custom code.

2. Can become a night mare if you are doing mass conversion of students, or have a lot of duplicates in your student data, which means you have to clean up accounts and contacts separately.

3. Using one account and multiple contacts (Bucket model)


1. Great solution to store individual students if you have limited number of students (less than 50,000).


1. You have to create separate reports for each category of students for marketing campaigns if your student count exceeds more than 50,000.

2. Does not scale well if you have more than 50,000 students.

3. Waste of time managing accounts for individuals

4. Person Account Option


a. Person accounts are a great solution to store individual accounts and contacts and can leverage out of the box features well.

b. Flexibility to create separate business process for individual students and alumni or corporate students.


a. It would consume more space compared to the regular accounts and contacts which means you should be ready to spend $1200/ ear for every 40,000 students.

b. Most of the apps may not work with person accounts and need to be considered when you install apps from the app exchange.

5. Non profit starter pack 1-to-1 model.

The non profit starter pack with a 1-to-1 account model setting is an ideal solution to capture individual and registered students. If you install the non profit starter pack and choose the 1 to 1 model as house hold setting, it helps store individuals and registered students easily and allows you to still differentiate them.


1. It removes the required rules on account name when you enter an individual student. It still creates an account with the student name thus reducing your time on customizing the account feature.

2. It helps track your alumni job history by using the affiliation feature which tracks past employments by relating the contact to multiple accounts and keeping the current account active.

3. It easily differentiates between an individual and an organization by keeping separate record types and business processes for each.

4. Relationship viewer feature can help Universities market to households which have multiple alumni at the same university and increase donations.


a. If you use existing accounts or contacts, there is some time involved converting them to the non profit model.

Tracking prospective and registered students

Once you decide which option is best for storing students, using record types or separate fields, registered students and prospective students can now be tracked . Using the unique ID from your student information system (banner or ancor), you can automatically set a field on the contact to identify prospective and registered student easily.

Using the above options allows you to easily store students. If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Buyan at

Buyan Thyagarajan
Sr. Salesforce Consultant
Chief Subject Matter Expert
Salesforce Architect