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Articles: Enrollment & Retention

Karine Joly is the web editor behind www.collegewebeditor.com, a blog about higher ed web marketing, public relations and technologies. She is also the founder of www.higheredexperts.com.

Higher ed marketing leaders have to master the art of blending powerful and personalized customer experiences with the science of measuring and optimizing the impact of their initiatives. 

Yet many chief marketing officers haven’t embraced their “inner data-lover self.”

Measurement is an afterthought at best, often checked off a busy to-do list via mindless reporting on cookie-cutter metrics selected by automated digital platforms.

INSPIRING ACTIVITIES—Students get to begin bonding with future classmates on Instant Admissions Day at Unity College in Maine. They also get some certainty about their higher ed futures.

Instant Admissions Day at Unity College in Maine provides benefits beyond the immediate acceptance of students’ applications. This accelerated enrollment approach provides a clearer picture of the 700-student private college’s incoming class.

Taking advantage of southern California’s generally inviting climate, a sun-drenched open-air courtyard gives students a break from climate-controlled classrooms. (Photo: Tom Bonner Photography)

The recently opened Ernest H. Moreno Language Arts and Humanities Building at East Los Angeles College provides a welcoming front door for the institution’s more than 30,000 students.

Fashion Forward—Kent State University students can take a semester-long break from life on the Ohio campus to immerse themselves in fashion design, merchandising or journalism in New York City’s Garment District.

Exotic branch campuses across the globe give American institutions an extra shine when recruiting students and establishing an internationally recognized brand. Now, several universities are finding similar success with satellites in other parts of the U.S.

Jim Scannell is senior consultant for enrollment management for Ruffalo Noel Levitz. He is the former president of Scannell & Kurz.

As demographic, economic and market volatility continue to challenge higher ed’s ability to enroll a sufficient number of students able to take advantage of the educational opportunities available, understanding and advancing your institution’s value proposition should be at the top of the to-do agenda.

Recent regulations from the Department of Education improve protection for student borrowers targeted by misleading or predatory practices, and establish a clear path for loan forgiveness in instances of institutional fraud or misconduct—an issue financial aid experts say will impact both for-profits and nonprofits.

More than 40 years after it was established, Title IX continues to pose compliance challenges for higher education institutions struggling with sexual assault investigations. Some say the federal government doesn’t provide enough guidance.

Shani Lenore-Jenkins is associate vice president of enrollment at Maryville University.

While its primary focus is to educate students, a university is still a business with customers. Traditional marketing methods such as mailings, phone calls and old-fashioned boots-on-the-ground visits are no longer the best ways to reach today’s tech-savvy students, who find the information they need online.

John Meagle is the chief marketing officer at Centenary University in New Jersey.

When Centenary College was granted university status in May, the news was celebrated by students, faculty, alumni and staff. For the marketing and student recruitment team, it was an opportunity to build awareness of the experience the institution offers career-oriented students.

A student loan that goes into default costs 250 percent more than a loan paid back on schedule. (Gettyimages.com: wildpixel)

Some advocacy groups see student loan debt as not just a financial problem, but a growing social justice concern, as well. Now, some 40 civil rights, legal aid and public interest are urging the Department of Education to determine whether debt disproportionately impacts minorities.

When Teri McIntyre was a University of Wisconsin undergrad in the early ‘90s, she volunteered to call alumni to ask for college fund donations and—believe it or not—she liked making those calls. A university development officer noticed and offered McIntyre a job after graduation.

Bill Berg is an enrollment management consultant at Ruffalo Noel Levitz.

By 2015, the number of law school applicants declined by 46 percent from a 2004 peak, a result of a shrinking job market and “offshoring” of some legal work. Most law schools were forced to change the way they recruited, admitted, awarded and enrolled students to respond to the drop.

Skill-building—Former coal industry workers may find them-selves at the University of Wyoming researching how to use water byproducts from oil and gas wells.

Universities are creating scholarships and entrepreneurial opportunities to help the unemployed and underemployed gain footing in an ever-greening economy.

A bipartisan bill intended to improve college access and graduation rates would impose college-loan program penalties on institutions that perform poorly in these areas. In turn, schools that do enroll a significant number of low-income students would be eligible for up to $8 million over five years.

Many colleges and universities are investing millions of dollars to repurpose or even expand libraries to make room for collaborative learning, technology centers, dining areas, research support and other academic services.

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