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Articles: Enrollment Management

New financial literacy programs aim to reduce student default rate. (Getty Images.com/MCT Graphics via Getty Images)

A spooky cloud of crimson smoke dramatizes the dread of overwhelming student debt in “The Red,” a short movie thriller created for SALT, the American Student Assistance financial literacy program for students and alumni.

Less dramatic but noteworthy still, college students logging onto the National Endowment for Financial Education’s CashCourse can take a “Financial Realities” quiz to test their knowledge. In the opening question, they’re asked what will have the worst impact on their finances: gourmet coffee drinks, borrowing money, or spending without a plan.

Rhe concept of leveraging MOOCs as a data-rich marketing vehicle is new but gaining a foothold

The exploding popularity of MOOCs is beginning to open up a mother lode of data about prospective students that colleges and universities can use for marketing and recruitment purposes.

MOOCs are still in their infancy stages, and the concept of leveraging their reach as a data-rich marketing vehicle for the institution is even newer. But it’s beginning to gain a foothold.

(Getty Images.com/P. Roy Scott) The best approaches to social media outreach involve more than reacting to students who broadcast the negative.

When a student starts tweeting expletives about your institution for the whole world to potentially see, it’s probably time to find out the reason for the lash out and do some damage control.

Beverly Low, dean of first-year students at Colgate University in New York, reached out to one such student and ended up having three meetings with her. “They were meaningful conversations, too,” Low says, adding that the student was more likely to come and talk in person than vent on social media in the future.

1. “It’s not just building the network. You need the support as well. It’s a campuswide effort.” —Eric Maguire, Ithaca College

2. “You can’t use sarcasm or be funny in a text. You have to think about who is reading it. Inside jokes don’t work publicly.” —Beverly Low, Colgate University

3. “Allow room for spontaneous posts to happen each week, since the essence of social media is fluidity.” —Molly Israel, Ithaca College

While much has changed in enrollment management in recent years, one fact remains constant: the right kind of leadership is critical in achieving enrollment success. Several characteristics define leaders who are able to succeed within the realities of the profession today.

More higher ed leaders are concerned about maintaining enrollment levels at the same time Census numbers have revealed that colleges and universities lost half a million students in 2012. A drop-off had been anticipated for some time, but now institutions must scramble to manage.

College enrollment plummeted by half a million students in fall 2012 after several years of strong growth, the U.S. Census Bureau says.

The number of graduate and undergraduate students fell last year after increasing by 3.2 million between 2006 and 2011. The decline was led by a drop of 419,000 in students 25 and older. The number of young students fell by only 48,000.

Students at Savannah College of Art and Design have a variety of dining styles and locations to choose from across campus.

Only one-third of 3,400 U.S. college students say they’re satisfied with their meal plans, found a survey by food industry research firm Technomic. But schools are finding that to address the problem, they need to go beyond simply improving what winds up on diners’ plates.

Most institutions have at their disposal a wealth of tools to track recruitment-related metrics throughout the year. If you checked with your admissions office in the fall it would, most likely, be able to share information about the number of prospects, inquiries, applicants, completed applicants, and admits compared to the prior year.

A handful of California community colleges have already experimented with priority registration for freshmen, but by fall 2014, every community college in the state will be offering it in some way.

Priority registration allows freshmen at Rio Hondo College to enroll in the courses they need right from the get-go.

Many community college students take much longer than the intended two years to complete their studies, or don’t ever wind up graduating at all. Traditionally, administrators focused on accommodating those who may have credits but little direction.

Now, at some schools, greater attention is being placed on helping incoming freshmen not just enroll but also start off their college careers on a positive note. The idea is that they will stay and finish within two years.

As emerging technologies continue to influence the way institutions are managed, effective partnerships on campus become imperative for success. Enrollment management and technology teams must work together to overcome the growing challenges facing higher education by using technology to champion their university’s mission. By doing so, institutions are equipped to optimize operations, streamline efficiencies, and shape student outcomes. Yet, the bottom line is we have the technology but we have historically neglected to enable and promote successful partnerships institution-wide.

It’s become fashionable to prize innovation in higher education, not only because university research produces new knowledge that enriches our lives and changes our understanding of the world, but also because new campus programs are themselves markers of institutional vitality. It is less fashionable to celebrate colleges and universities as custodians of the world’s cumulative knowledge and conveyors of it to the next generation.

It used to be that when a student left high school and entered college, he or she could expect to graduate four years later. But the pressures of jobs (to support rising education costs) and the demands of family have increased time spent in school so much that a Time magazine article earlier this year focused on “The Myth of the Four-Year College Degree.”

Could the growing popularity of MOOCs cause retention troubles? Yes, if companies and schools come up with a way to offer credit for the courses, experts say.

Jennifer Beyer, a solutions consultant at Hobsons, expects the issue to start appearing if credit is offered, and also if access is no longer free.

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