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Student Life Cycle Management

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.

Reverse transfers­—students changing from a four-year institution to a community college—are nothing new, but until now the phenomenon wasn’t well understood. “Reverse Transfer: A National View of Student Mobility from Four-Year to Two-Year Institutions,” a National Student Clearinghouse Research Center report, dispels some of the myths surrounding reverse transfers so administrators can better serve them.

At the end of July, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee released “For Profit Higher Education: The Failure to Safeguard the Federal Investment and Ensure Student Success.”

It’s been a surprise to see how eager many college trustees, foundation officers, and government officials are now for the same freedom students and faculty members enjoy on campus to try out new ideas. Many have become enamored with the idea of “disruptive innovation,” drawn from Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma (1997). Arguing that incremental change is often inadequate when organizations face altered circumstances, he asserts that disruptive innovation is the best way to re-position an organization. His main examples relate to hard disk drives and excavators.

When President Obama set the goal of increasing the percentage of the population that has some postsecondary education, the assumed focus was on two- and four-year degrees. A new report, “Certificates: Gateway to Gainful Employment and College Degrees,” from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce makes the argument that certificates should not be overlooked.

Now that we have all waved our classes of 2012 on their way with pomp and circumstance—and hopefully with sunny graduation days—it’s only natural to turn our attention to the classes of ’13, ’14, and ’15. But to read the headlines of the past few months, there’s still plenty to worry about concerning the graduates who are just entering the workforce and for whom the forecast is considerably cloudy.

Here’s some seemingly daunting news for community colleges: South Dakota is the only state with a two-year college completion rate over 40 percent. That stat is from a new report released by the Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW), an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. North Dakota comes in second for two-year college completion rates, with 38 percent.

There are more out lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) college students today than there have been at any other time in the history of higher education. In decades past, many young LGBT people experienced their coming out processes in college, yet today’s rising college freshmen have increasingly become more out and more vocal in high school and even in middle school.

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