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Articles: Enrollment Management

Seniors line up by Sweet Briar’s library prior to commencement. (Photo: Photo by Andrew Locascio/Sweet Briar College)

While higher ed leaders acknowledge a range of challenges, many say the shutting down of the 532-student Virginia women’s college does not signal doom for small institutions, including those that are single-sex, rural or religiously affiliated.

Special delivery, 18th Century style: A student dressed as George Washington delivers acceptance letters to Washington College applicants in the region—proving that innovative doesn’t have to mean high-tech when it comes to admissions tactics.

There was a time when colleges and universities could put their best marketing message out to the masses, and wait for students to respond and express interest. Today, it’s about being aggressive without being pushy, being more student-focused without being intrusive, and being more open to digital communication without sacrificing authenticity.

Jennifer Wick is vice president of Scannell & Kurz higher education enrollment consultants, a Ruffalo Cody company.

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:

Successful firsts: MIT’s First Generation Program website includes personal snapshots from first-gen students, alumni and faculty.

Along with issues of retention and completion, many first-generation students face day-to-day challenges as they navigate social, academic, financial and administrative challenges. Here are 24 ways colleges can support first-generation students in every aspect and stage of student life.

Aaron Mahl is a consultant with Scannell & Kurz.

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.

Higher ed leaders expect modest enrollment increases in the coming year. (Click to enlarge graphic)

From declining numbers of traditional-age high school graduates and changing student demographics, to the overall concern among consumers about the value of a higher education, anxiety will haunt enrollment administrators moving forward.

Colleges and universities expect to add students in 2015, though no institutions anticipate significant growth or decline in any enrollment sectors, according to a UB survey of higher ed administrators

Fifty-six percent of respondents say overall enrollment will grow modestly in 2015, while only 11 percent are bracing for modest decreases. No respondents anticipate significant decreases.

Higher ed thought leaders and reader surveys provide insights into what's ahead for colleges and universities in 2015.

To help our readers navigate the coming year in higher education, University Business proudly presents Outlook 2015. In-depth stories cover the major trends impacting administration and management, enrollment and retention, finance, facilities, technology, and teaching and learning. We interviewed administrators and other experts in each of these topics to capture their predictions about what 's on the horizon for colleges and universities.

Beginning in 2016, when prospective students to the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Ind.) submit their SAT scores and transcripts, they’ll be asked to take a personality quiz to help the school determine who has the right stuff to succeed.

“I’ve always felt there’s something missing in admissions, something that we can do better,” says Jim Goecker, vice president of enrollment management and strategic communication.

Bill Berg is an enrollment management consultant at Scannell & Kurz, a RuffaloCODY company.

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.

The number of Americans age 18 to 21, the traditional college age, has decreased by nearly 700,000 since 2011—from 18.1 to 17.4 million—according to research from the University of Virginia. With this decline, many colleges could turn to older non-first-time students to maintain enrollment numbers and financial goals.

At the end of the 2014 Little League World Series star pitcher Mo’ne Davis got the call of her life. Mo’ne is only in 8th grade but already she has new learning and earning options. Head Coach of the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team Geno Auriemma acknowledged the 13 year old’s athletic prowess with a congratulatory phone call. A few days later Auriemma was hit with a recruiting violation – go figure. “That’s the world that we live in” said Geno Auriemma in response to the NCAA ruling. It is indeed.

At Northern Arizona University, a convocation is held for international students. NAU's International Student and Scholar Services department offers a range of orientation programs.

Recruiting students from outside the U.S. can have big pay-offs when interest in this group is at an all-time high. A recent report shows enrollment of international students at U.S. colleges and universities increased by seven percent to a record high of 819,644 students in the 2012-13 academic year.

Student success and retention, along with recruitment and enrollment, lead the way among the many areas that will see a fresh commitment of funding and other resources over the next 18 months.

Colleges and universities of all types and sizes are planning new investments in virtually all areas of operations as economic recovery entrenches itself in higher education, according to a University Business survey of campus leaders.

Three separate surveys suggest that students and parents give strong consideration to advertised price. (Click to enlarge)

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.