Enrollment Matters

Coping with college-ratings uncertainty

Institutions can prepare to prosper under administration’s proposed ranking system

Fueled by government agendas, national press and public opinion, higher education has in recent years come under increased scrutiny in the form of calls for heightened transparency and accountability.

Some of the U.S. Department of Education’s initiatives in response include:

Preparing your campus for prior-prior year

Making a confusing process easier for first generation students

For many, Jan. 1 signifies a day of great college football bowl games, highly caloric leftover holiday food, and time with family and friends ringing in the New Year. However, for those working in financial aid offices at colleges or universities across the country, the start of the new year signals the beginning of financial aid season.

The Goldilocks principle: Ensuring your capacity to meet demand is just right

It takes time to change operations—before you get that train moving, make sure it’s on the right track

The often-used businesses term “right-sizing” has in recent years become common in higher education. Though sometimes used as a euphemism for “downsizing,” it more rightly refers to an effort to optimize enrollment, human resources, programs and facilities—in other words, fixed costs.

There are a host of factors that should go into the analysis when an institution is attempting to match demand with its capacity to meet that demand.

Does college sticker price still matter?

Some schools have lowered their cost to attend, sometimes with mixed results

Have net price calculators, merit scholarships and tuition discounts rendered sticker price meaningless? Not according to numerous surveys on the topic.

The findings of three separate surveys over the past two years on the topic of cost and decision to apply suggest that students and parents give strong consideration to advertised price. A 2012 studentPOLL survey, a joint venture between the College Board and Art & Science Group, reported that more than one-half of families ruled out colleges based on sticker price alone.

New admissions metrics for today’s climate

Predicting the increasingly unpredictable

Although managing enrollment efforts has never been easy, it was not that long ago when the traditional funnel was somewhat predictable.

As an admissions counselor in my early days, I could easily work backward to set goals for my territory, starting with my goal for the number of enrolled students. I then used historical data and three-year trends to forecast the number of admits, applicants and inquiries needed from my territory to achieve the goal.

Managing the financial aid gap

Strategies to help students attend that go beyond increasing institutional grants or reducing price

Fewer and fewer institutions are meeting students’ financial need. Per The College Board’s “Trends in College Pricing 2013,” the average net tuition and fee price for students attending four-year public institutions increased by an estimated $1,180 (in 2013 dollars) between 2009-10 and 2013-14.

10 ways students search colleges today—and how to adapt

Understand how students choose a school, and recalibrate your approach for recruitment success

These days, institutions can’t say they fully “control” their recruitment and enrollment process—but they can adjust to how prospective students and their families are navigating it.

Keys to a more effective enrollment strategy

Predictive modeling, demographic data, and some common sense can fine-tune planning

It is a given these days for enrollment managers to be well aware of the national, regional, and state high school graduation demographic trends that shape the U.S. higher education landscape.

The eighth edition of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education’s “Knocking at the College Door,” for example, paints a clear picture of projections in aggregate numbers and race/ethnicity patterns. If you have studied the maps developed by WICHE, you know that:

Seven ways enrollment managers can thrive today

Good enrollment leaders collaborate with campus colleagues who can help them meet objectives

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.

Broadening the view of enrollment tracking reports

Critical recruitment data elements you may be missing.

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.

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