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Articles: Enrollment Management

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.

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.

Asian and Pacific Islander Family Night at Des Moines Area Community College.

Des Moines is becoming more diverse, with a growing population of Latinos, Asians and Africans. The events are aimed at creating a college-going culture in local communities, and give families direction on career choice, applying to college, and paying for college.

Aaron Mahl is a vice president and consultant at Ruffalo Noel Levitz.

Large public universities and smaller liberal arts colleges, on the other hand, are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain their male enrollments. The National Center for Education Statistics projects that, by 2020, men will represent only 41 percent of college enrollees.

Almost all U.S. colleges and universities now award certificates, digital badges and other forms of microcredentials. Driving this fast-growing trend are workforce millennials who want to learn, for instance, how to operate an Amazon delivery drone or repair a self-driving car without having to earn another degree.

Need-based financial aid was supposed to give everyone an opportunity to get into college and better their lives and career prospects. Nearly half of the public, four-year colleges studied in a new report leave the most financially needy students on the hook for more than $10,000 of debt per school year.

Remember the “Flutie Effect”? That’s the claim that Boston College applications increased as a result of Doug Flutie’s last-second Hail Mary pass that won a football game against the defending champs from the University of Miami. Now we may be seeing the opposite—let’s call it the Scandal Side Effect—where a school’s bad publicity can drive applicants away.

Out in front with OER: Tidewater Community College created the first degree program—in business administration—to use only open-educational resources.

A few dozen community colleges will get financial backing to design degree programs based wholly on free, open educational resources (OER) in a sweeping effort to make higher ed more affordable. Full-time community college students spend about $1,300 a year on textbooks, ultimately representing about a third of the cost of their associate degrees.

University of Maine has been strategic in offering discounted tuition to students in certain states. ( Crossroadscreative)

Students from six nearby states can now attend the University of Maine at the same in-state tuition rate offered by the flagship institutions in their home states.

The university launched its Flagship Match program this spring to boost not just its enrollment, but also prestige.

As completion rates of full-time students in Maine flounder and high school graduation numbers fall in the Northeast (by a predicted 5 percent in the next five years), university leaders look outside the state to fill classrooms.

The numbers should unsettle enrollment professionals: College and university enrollment rates have decreased for each of the last four years and nothing indicates a reversal anytime soon.

Some low-income high school students in Adams State University’s service area, the rural valleys of southern Colorado, live up to 50 or 60 miles from campus. Thanks to a new federal pilot program, these students there and 43 other institutions can now use Pell Grants to take dual-enrollment courses.

Robert Miller is vice president for enrollment management of Centenary University.

Ubiquitous in the business world, big data is being adopted by higher education, particularly in the area of recruitment. With stagnant or declining recruitment budgets and increased competition for students, leveraging the data most colleges capture is a cost-effective approach that can yield significant results.

It has been demonstrated amply that financial aid leveraging can, under the right circumstances, increase enrollment and net tuition revenue. For some, however, that isn’t the case.

Enrollment leaders must therefore assess other aspects of recruitment to determine how effectively they are working to build larger, more committed applicant and admit pools, especially when increases in aid are not conducive or possible.

In the 2014-15 academic year, the number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities grew at the highest rate in 35 years, increasing by 10 percent to more than 970,000 students. (Image: Ltd)

Because students from other countries, or simply from areas far from their desired college, can’t attend in-person interviews, admissions professionals are turning to virtual interviews as a way to evaluate candidates—helping ensure the selection of those who will make the most valuable contributions on campus.

Virtual interview platforms. (Click to enlarge)

Determining the return on investment for virtual admissions interviews involves understanding the resources and when the technology will be used.

At the University of Rochester, the commitment is bigger than most. One full-time employee and eight senior students have been hired and trained just to conduct Skype interviews during this admissions cycle, says Jonathan Burdick, dean of college admission and vice provost for enrollment initiatives.