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Student Life Cycle Management

Spring means warmer temperatures and longer days, offers of admission flying to mailboxes and inboxes across the land, and acceptances coming back. We peeked behind the admissions curtain and connected with four top administrators at a range of institutions—small and large, public and private, West Coast to East Coast, and in between—to learn more about what is changing in their world.

Despite recent conversations that have been stirring about the value and return on investment of American higher education, there is still a strong public opinion in favor of it, according to a new Gallup/Lumina Foundation poll. The issue, the poll found, lies in how people feel about attainment and the current model of higher ed.

Feedback from private student loan borrowers reveals they hold a host of common misconceptions about their loans. In comments and complaints submitted to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), borrowers demonstrate a lack of knowledge about the difference between private and federal student loans, how bankruptcy can impact their loans, who holds and services their loans, what repayment options they have, and more. The consequences of these misunderstandings include unexpected default, forbearance fees, and ineligibility for repayment incentives.

California State University, Fresno, takes pride in its reputation as one of the leading public universities in the state, but last year the business staff discovered that Fresno State was lagging in one noteworthy area: the percentage of students electing to receive financial aid refunds electronically.

In the heart of Boulder, Colorado, sits a college where the whole student is greater than the sum of his or her parts. It is a place called Naropa University, where contemplative education encourages students to transform themselves and the world.

While community colleges are supposed to be two-year institutions, many students take longer than that to graduate. Some four-year institutions, meanwhile, allow ambitious students to earn a bachelor’s degree in three years. Pima Community College (Ariz.) has come up with a new twist to the accelerated degree trend, giving East Campus students enrolling in the Sprint Schedule pilot program the chance to be done in just one. 

California Gov. Jerry Brown, with students and teachers behind him, gestures during a news conference after voting Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012 in Oakland, Calif. The governor talked about his support for Proposition 30  that will increase funding for schools and public safety.

While voters across the nation were glued to their screens on election night counting electoral votes, the higher education community was holding its collective breath awaiting the answers on a number of important ballot initiatives, proving this year’s election was truly about more than blue and red for higher ed.

The vast majority of independent, private sector, higher education institutions are more than 80 percent dependent on tuition and student fees—the exception of course being that small cadre of elite, well-endowed institutions that comprise a small portion (less than 10 percent) of private schools. Even most of the nation’s public colleges and universities are increasingly dependent on tuition revenues and often student headcount affects the allocation of state support.

It’s really no surprise that today’s technology-savvy generation is challenging elements of the traditional college recruitment process. The conventional approaches of marketing, recruitment and admissions are all being called into question, in part, due to two driving factors—external influences and the changing needs of today’s student. This article explores these factors and offers ideas on what can be done to reach, and connect, with more students.

Millennials, the generation born between the late 1970s and early 2000s, speak a language all their own. A digital camera is a camera; a cell phone is a phone. They’ve grown up with the internet and are wholly immersed in technology with websites like Amazon and Zappos customized to their individual interests.
The question for higher education enrollment managers is this: Is the viewbook, the crown jewel of the admissions process, ready for a leap into the online world? The answer: A resounding maybe.