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Articles: Enrollment Management

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.

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.

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.

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 low-income high school students in Adams State University’s service area, the rural valleys of southern Colorado, live up to 50 or 60 miles from campus. Thanks to a new federal pilot program, these students there and 43 other institutions can now use Pell Grants to take dual-enrollment courses.

Robert Miller is vice president for enrollment management of Centenary University.

Ubiquitous in the business world, big data is being adopted by higher education, particularly in the area of recruitment. With stagnant or declining recruitment budgets and increased competition for students, leveraging the data most colleges capture is a cost-effective approach that can yield significant results.

It has been demonstrated amply that financial aid leveraging can, under the right circumstances, increase enrollment and net tuition revenue. For some, however, that isn’t the case.

Enrollment leaders must therefore assess other aspects of recruitment to determine how effectively they are working to build larger, more committed applicant and admit pools, especially when increases in aid are not conducive or possible.

In the 2014-15 academic year, the number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities grew at the highest rate in 35 years, increasing by 10 percent to more than 970,000 students. (Image: Thinkstock.com/Rawpixel Ltd)

Because students from other countries, or simply from areas far from their desired college, can’t attend in-person interviews, admissions professionals are turning to virtual interviews as a way to evaluate candidates—helping ensure the selection of those who will make the most valuable contributions on campus.

Virtual interview platforms. (Click to enlarge)

Determining the return on investment for virtual admissions interviews involves understanding the resources and when the technology will be used.

At the University of Rochester, the commitment is bigger than most. One full-time employee and eight senior students have been hired and trained just to conduct Skype interviews during this admissions cycle, says Jonathan Burdick, dean of college admission and vice provost for enrollment initiatives.

Jon McGee, vice president for planning and public affairs at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, says many colleges and universities are too focused on the present to prepare for the changes ahead.

In his book, Breakpoint: The Changing Marketplace for Higher Education, Jon McGee says higher education is in the midst of an extraordinary transitional period that has significant implications for how colleges understand their mission, their market and their management.

Fans pack the University of Kentucky arena for every basketball game, keeping ticket revenues high. (Photo: UK Athletics)

As one would expect, successful athletic programs benefit their college or university in a number of ways—particularly in the admissions arena. They raise public awareness of the school, reaching prospective students who may not otherwise have heard of or looked at the university, says Scott Verzyl, associate vice president for enrollment management and dean of undergraduate admissions for the University of South Carolina.

The traditional MBA, the flagship of graduate business education for more than a century, is losing ground as applicants increasingly turn to online degrees and specialized master’s programs in business-related fields.

James Scannell is president and Jennifer Wick is vice president of Scannell & Kurz, a higher education enrollment consulting division of Ruffalo Noel Levitz.

Student retention, persistence, success and graduation remain top-of-mind issues for higher ed leaders amidst the advent of the College Scorecard, the push toward 60 percent of high school graduates earning college degrees by 2020, and families’ familiar concerns about return on investment.

Carine Feyten, the chancellor and president of Texas Woman's University, says security will become a recruitment issue for students and their families.

Carine Feyten

Chancellor and president, Texas Woman's University

Topic: Safety and security

Most colleges and universities will continue to face financial hurdles, and although there is much crossover, certain issues will be more or less of a concern based on the size of the university and its student population. One thing is true across the board: Student expectations are changing.

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