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Articles: Enrollment & Retention

Marc C. Whitt is director of philanthropy communications at the University of Kentucky, and a former tourism commissioner.

College towns across the country may be sitting on an economic and tourism marketing gold mine in the form of their local institution’s “tourist attractions.”

Consider the thousands of people who go to a school’s concerts, theatrical performances, athletic events, museums, planetarium shows, camps and conferences—not to mention those visiting for homecoming, family weekends and daily admissions visits.

A majority of campus leaders surveyed by UB expected graduation and retention rates to increase.

Higher ed leaders continue to seek ways to prove their institution’s value to a shrinking pool of college candidates. In addition, a huge financial aid cloud hangs over everyone’s heads: the one with that odd moniker of “prior-prior.”

Student success is the top priority for 84 percent of the campus leaders who responded to a UB survey.

Across higher education, institutions are blending instruction and extracurricular lives. Living/learning communities, data-driven advising and academic pathways, among other progressive initiatives, should continue to produce results at enterprising two- and four-year institutions—and will therefore see more widespread adoption.

Students can color, practice golf shots on a putting green, build with Legos and play video games at the Niagara University library’s “stress-busting station.”

It gets heavy use during finals week, but is set up year round to encourage students to gather with classmates for activities other than cramming for exams, says Debra Colley, the New York university’s executive vice president.

Faculty, students and staff gather on Guilford College’s quad to express their support for refugees who have been invited to live on the North Carolina campus. (Photo: Kat Miller)

As the national debate over sheltering Syrian refugees on American soil heats up, a North Carolina college with a Quaker heritage is providing sanctuary to one family and encouraging others to do the same.

Guilford College in Greensboro has launched the Every Campus a Refuge initiative, designed to ease the transition of Syrian families into the United States by housing them for 90 days after arrival.

With nearly 975,000 international students enrolled in higher education institutions in 2014-2015, the United States remains the leading destination. However, by looking deeper into the numbers, it becomes apparent that not all institutions have been successful in attracting international students. For example, 1 out of 5 international students is enrolled in just 25 institutions.

A new book by Melinda Lewis and William Elliott shows how current aid models contribute to inequality, and discusses a number of promising alternatives.

Higher education is supposed to be a critical first step on the ladder that leads to economic mobility. But William Elliott and Melinda Lewis say that students often leave school with debilitating debt that delays or even prevents any upward climb on that ladder.

Effective student success initiatives begin long before that first day of classes and often continue beyond graduation. The colleges and universities highlighted in the third round of UB’s national Models of Excellence awards program demonstrate a commitment to that holistic experience.

Mary Piccioli is an enrollment management consultant at Scannell & Kurz.

With freshman discount rates once again on the rise, it will be more important than ever for institutions to review whether their methodologies for developing a budget for financial aid are sufficiently robust.

Using a cohort-based budget approach is critical for understanding the implications of replacing a “cheaper” senior class with a more heavily discounted freshman class.

Adult students engage with their instructor at Lipscomb’s behavioral assessment center, which uses tactics traditionally used in the corporate world to identify and to award credit for incoming students’ life experiences.

A series of initiatives championed by Gov. Bill Haslam in Tennessee—home of the Tennessee Promise free community college initiative—promotes higher education to learners of all ages.

The Reconnect + Complete initiative for degree completion aims for an elusive demographic: non-traditional students, many with families and careers, whose college experiences were cut short by illness, financial troubles or other issues.

Texas A&M University’s campaign to raise $4 billion for research, facilities and scholarships represents the largest-ever fundraising effort in a state known for going big. It’s also the second largest effort announced by a higher education institution.

Columbia University students concerned with hunger on campus launched two initiatives this fall—one involving a mobile app—that help provide struggling classmates with meals.

The Emergency Meal Fund allows students on Columbia’s meal plan to donate up to six unused meals per semester. Any Columbia undergraduate or graduate student can register to receive a donated meal, no questions asked.

Students can request a maximum of six per term, and meal passes can be used at one of three residential dining halls.

The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success aims to make the college application process more relevant.

Over the years, college applications have become increasingly similar, with seemingly generic questions and check-boxes that often leave prospective students to wonder, “What does this have to do with me?” That’s part of what the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success aims to change.

J. Jeffrey Campbell is the director of the San Diego State University’s L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management School’s Master’s Program.

The online education world is becoming accepted by more institutions than ever, and for good reason. It has the attributes desired to grow an organization’s influence and positive impact without the historical linear rise in costs.

This business model is reserved not just for the for-profit, office park-type campus operations, but also for long-standing renowned educational institutions. I will champion this movement as director of the San Diego State University’s L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management School’s Master’s Program.

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