Beyond the Enrollment Management Division: The Enrollment Management Organization

Article excerpt

Beyond The Enrollment Management Division: The Enrollment Management Organization(c)


The term "enrollment management organization" is used to identify a systems approach to establishing optimum enrollment at a college or university. It integrates assessment, planning, and budgeting on an institution-wide basis to determine and achieve enrollment goals.

The purpose of this paper is to provide a step-by-step process that will enable all institutions of higher education to move from focusing on an enrollment management division for achieving goals to utilizing the entire institution, thereby transforming to an Enrollment Management Organization(c).

Management theory has evolved over the years to a point where the enrollment management division of a college or university is often considered a viable option in attempts to achieve optimum enrollment. The division provides leadership in achieving the appropriate enrollment levels by meaningfully involving all constituencies of the institution in achieving specified goals. However, while the literature has focused on the division leading recruitment and retention efforts, little has been shared about how an organization can systematically link assessment, planning, budgeting, and enrollment management into a system that can be applied, evaluated, and updated on a regular basis.

Although much has been learned and shared about enrollment management, individuals responsible for recruitment at colleges and universities still are uncertain about how to determine optimum enrollment levels. In addition, various constituencies-faculty, students, assessment staff, and finance officers-often do not meaningfully understand how their individual contributions can have a direct effect on an institution's student population.

The term "enrollment management organization" is used to identify a system's approach to establishing an optimum level of students at a college or university. It integrates assessment, planning, and budgeting on a college-wide basis to achieve its goals. An enrollment management organization is able to responsibly answer the question, "How many students do we want to enroll?" The purpose of this article is to provide a step-by-step process that will enable institutions to answer this question.

Outcomes assessment of learning in major fields of study, the general education curriculum, and attitudinal change are related to enrollment management. Cyclical self-assessment programs are linked to college-wide enrollment projections and budgeting for activities related to recruitment and retention. Cyclical departmental zero-based budgeting is introduced as a new method to budget efficiently for projected student populations. Methods of measuring organizational health and establishing meaningful environmental scanning models are introduced in such a way that each easily relates to enrollment management.

The four cornerstones of the Enrollment Management Organization (EMO)-outcomes assessment, cyclical program self-assessment, organizational health, and environmental scanning-provide a natural evolution from an enrollment management process that is division-focused to one that is focused organization-wide. This process is intended to revamp the manner in which enrollment management is practiced in higher education for the new millennium.

Evolution of the Enrollment Management Organization


During the 1960s and 1970s, colleges and universities were doubly blessed with an abundance of students resulting from the baby boomers and the general admiration of the public. The ivory tower was intact as students were the ones who had to fight to get into selected schools. Students needed and wanted an education, while the public put educators on a pedestal of approbation. Many colleges and universities enjoyed the role of gatekeepers, being selective in the enrollment process while students typically marketed themselves to the institutions of higher learning. …