Academic journal article College and University

An Evaluation of Enrollment Management Models of the 28 Florida Community Colleges

Academic journal article College and University

An Evaluation of Enrollment Management Models of the 28 Florida Community Colleges

Article excerpt

The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which enrollment management models have been successfully implemented within the 28 Florida community colleges. The study also sought to determine when enrollment management structures began and whether expected benefits were achieved.

Analysis of the data collected in this study indicated the following five major findings. First, enrollment management concepts and practices have been implemented at some level within the 23 Florida community colleges surveyed. Second, enrollment management models reported were determined to be relatively new in comparison to four-year institutions. Third, some enrollment management divisions appeared to have key enrollment offices displaced. Fourth, increasing enrollment was the strongest reason for implementing the enrollment structure and subsequently was the strongest benefit realized. The fifth finding was that moving key enrollment offices such as financial aid into the enrollment management organizations would be an improvement to existing models.

From the period of 1950 through the early 1970s, colleges and universities experienced unprecedented enrollment growth. Total college enrollment in 1950 increased by 78 percent from 1940, and by 1970, college enrollments reached over 8 million students, an increase of 120 percent from 1960 (Coomes 2000). Coomes credited the passing of the G.I. Bill in 1944 and the Higher Education Act of 1965 for much of the increase in college enrollments during this time period. The Vietnam War also supported the steady growth as young men enrolled in colleges in hopes of a deferment from the war (Corcoran 1989). However, the decline in the birth rate during the 1960s and early 1970s reduced the number of high school graduates eligible to attend the country's colleges and universities (Penn 1999). This decline would impact enrollment during much of the 1980s and into the 1990s (Simpson 1997). Projections of enrollment shortages, the expansion of financial aid, and the increasing empirical research on the college choice process fostered the development of enrollment management during the mid-to-late 1970s (Coomes 2000; Hossler 1984). After decades of increasing enrollments, college officials began to see the need to address the issues of enrollment and enrollment management.

Enrollment management is a term that has been around for approximately 30 years. It is only since the early 1980s that enrollment management has grown in importance to institutions. Hossler and Bean (1990) referenced a college president who in 1986, compared the emergence of enrollment management as a major administrative function in colleges and universities to that of fund raising and development. Huddleston (2000) asserted that:

Concern for larger and more profitable enrollments in private colleges served as the impetus to develop an operational unit that would increase the integration, efficiency, and effectiveness of key operations; improve tactics and strategies of those areas to strengthen articulation with prospective students; and following enrollment, enhance the retention of those new students (p.66).

The enrollment management concept was eventually adopted by many four-year public colleges and universities.

There are a number of definitions in the literature regarding enrollment management. As practitioners began to understand the comprehensiveness of enrollment management, their definitions reflected their growth. Dennis (1998) stated, "I realize that I have modified what I used to think of as enrollment management, or managing the enrollment of the entering class, to a more fluid and global concept, involving the entire campus community" (p.7). Hossler and Bean (1990) defined enrollment management with the following: "...we believe enrollment management is an organizational concept and systematic set of activities designed to enable educational institutions to exert more influence over their student enrollments" (p. …

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