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Articles: Enrollment & Retention

Female graduates receive fewer solicitations for donations, and they give at a lower rate than do their male counterparts, according to the “Alumni Engagement and Giving” survey by Alumni Monitor, a higher education consulting service.

Just hours before it was scheduled to be administered in June, the ACT college admission test was canceled in South Korea and Hong Kong. Approximately 5,500 international students were turned away from testing centers after ACT Inc. announced that it had received credible evidence that test materials in these regions had been leaked in advance, thus compromising the integrity of the exams.

John L. Gann, Jr., consults, trains, and writes on marketing. He is author of "The Third Lifetime Place: A New Economic Opportunity for College Towns."

Although their leaders might claim otherwise, ratings by U.S. News, Princeton Review and others are of outsized importance to universities today. But what about the many colleges that didn’t rank high with these reviewers? How can they compete with the list-toppers?

Need-based financial aid was supposed to give everyone an opportunity to get into college and better their lives and career prospects. Nearly half of the public, four-year colleges studied in a new report leave the most financially needy students on the hook for more than $10,000 of debt per school year.

Remember the “Flutie Effect”? That’s the claim that Boston College applications increased as a result of Doug Flutie’s last-second Hail Mary pass that won a football game against the defending champs from the University of Miami. Now we may be seeing the opposite—let’s call it the Scandal Side Effect—where a school’s bad publicity can drive applicants away.

Jeffrey R. Docking is the president of Adrian College in Michigan and the author of "Crisis in Higher Education: A Plan To Save Small Liberal Arts Colleges in America."

Sometimes, well-known propositions lead to predictable conclusions. But not always. Occasionally, they lead to surprises—and even busted myths. Here’s one: Wealthy, private institutions willing to invest large endowments in financial aid for poorer students do the best job of expanding access to higher education.

Out in front with OER: Tidewater Community College created the first degree program—in business administration—to use only open-educational resources.

A few dozen community colleges will get financial backing to design degree programs based wholly on free, open educational resources (OER) in a sweeping effort to make higher ed more affordable. Full-time community college students spend about $1,300 a year on textbooks, ultimately representing about a third of the cost of their associate degrees.

Campus contributors: UT seniors David McDonald and Christle Nwora stand with Gregory J. Vincent, VP for diversity and community engagement. McDonald and Nwora were honored for their efforts in civil rights and social justice with the university’s Heman Sweatt Student Legacy Award in May 2016. (Photo: Shelton Lewis)

Many people see the Supreme Court's decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin as a substantial victory in the continuing effort to level the playing field of higher ed admissions.

University of Maine has been strategic in offering discounted tuition to students in certain states. (Gettyimages.com: Crossroadscreative)

Students from six nearby states can now attend the University of Maine at the same in-state tuition rate offered by the flagship institutions in their home states.

The university launched its Flagship Match program this spring to boost not just its enrollment, but also prestige.

As completion rates of full-time students in Maine flounder and high school graduation numbers fall in the Northeast (by a predicted 5 percent in the next five years), university leaders look outside the state to fill classrooms.

At schools such as Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, therapy dogs are brought in during finals week to help manage student stress. It’s an example of “universal design” because those diagnosed with anxiety aren’t the only ones to benefit.

Common oversights can occur even on campuses where leaders believe they have complied with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. To avoid running afoul of the law, constant vigilance and ongoing review are essential because there are so many factors to consider.

Although some professors prohibit the use of laptops during class because of the distraction factor, laptop use for note-taking is one accommodation colleges may offer students, such as those with a mobility impairment. (Photo: Marist College)
  1. ADA awareness training should be mandatory and ongoing across all departments. If students come to a staff member requesting an accommodation, they should be referred to the disabilities services office, which will help ensure consistency and fairness. 
  2. Campuses see a range of disabilities that must be covered, from mental and emotional (anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, PTSD, ADHD, learning disabilities, autism, etc.) to physical (asthma, cystic fibrosis, cancer, Type 1 diabetes, allergies, celiac disease, traumatic brain injury, etc.).

The Venture Development Center has all the hallmarks of a typical startup: Computers running equations, whiteboards covered with revenue projections and caffeine-fueled meetings about venture capital in glass-walled rooms. But it's more than that: the center is also a University of Massachusetts, Boston incubator that houses dozens of fledgling bioscience and computer science firms.

The numbers should unsettle enrollment professionals: College and university enrollment rates have decreased for each of the last four years and nothing indicates a reversal anytime soon.

Some are skeptical about the ability for any school to be need-blind, because anyone viewing an application can surmise financial need without reading a student’s FAFSA form.

The answers to common questions about need-blind policies sheds light on why they’ve been adopted whether they work and whether other enrollment diversity initiatives can be just as effective.

Elizabeth Riddle is the director of OnCampus Research, a division of The National Association of College Stores.

Conventional wisdom tells us students aren’t buying course materials because they are too expensive. They are forced to drop or not take classes or go without needed materials. But research tells a different story.

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