Magazine article University Business

Enrollment Concerns and Strategies

Magazine article University Business

Enrollment Concerns and Strategies

Article excerpt

Enrollment declines will be the most pressing concern keeping presidents and other top officials up at night in 2017. Seven in 10 who responded to a UB survey named it as the area with the greatest potential for causing the institution financial or reputational harm. State budget cuts, at 44 percent, are the next biggest worry for the 66 responding presidents, provosts and chancellors.

Sexual assault policies have been top-of-mind for campus officials for several years now. Three-quarters of campus leaders say they spent significant time last year on prevention and procedures in this area, and more than half expect to engage in new discussions this year. More than one in five are concerned about related reputational issues in the year to come.

At least half of the 74 admissions, enrollment and financial aid administrators responding to a separate survey anticipate a modest or significant increase in traditional-age students and transfer students. Just under half expect an increase in students who are first-generation, or from other states or countries.

The published tuition rate is expected to increase at nearly seven in 10 institutions. One in five report it will stay the same, and 1 percent say it will decrease.

Popular admissions and marketing actions for 2017 include focusing more on data for student lifecycle tracking, creating new articulation agreements to make transfer easier, and crossing department lines to bolster student success and completion.

Beefing up financial literacy initiatives continues to be important to colleges and universities. Top efforts for 2017 include intensifying outreach to current and prospective students; focusing more on financial topics outside of student loan debt; and more actively counseling students about the financial implications of their course and major choices. Still, less than 10 percent of respondents report having a mandatory financial literacy program.

Retention and graduation rate
shifts to come in 2017

Graduation rate

Will decrease modestly         4%
Will increase modestly        61%
Will stay the same            28%
Will increase significantly    7%

Overall retention rate

Will increase modestly         5%
Will stay the same            64%
Will decrease modestly        24%
Will increase significantly    7%

Note: Table made from pie chart.

Need-based versus merit aid in 2017

41% of enrollment and financial aid administrators say need-based aid will increase

40% say need-based aid will stay the same

31% say merit aid will increase

55% say merit aid will stay the same

Source: UB survey; all numbers have been rounded

What will happen to overall student population in 2017

Increase significantly     7%
Increase modestly         57%
Remain unchanged          19%
Decrease modestly         16%
Decrease significantly     1%

In last year's survey, a
nearly equal percentage of
administrators anticipated
modest or significant student
enrollment increases for 2016.

Last year, less respondents, 14
percent, anticipated modest or
significant decreases for 2016.

Note: Table made from pie chart

Admissions and marketing actions for 2017

Focusing more on data to track                    61%
the entire student lifecycle

Crossing department lines to                      55%
bolster student success/completion

Creating new articulation agreements to make      52%
transfer to or from the institution easier

Partnering with high schools and/or community
colleges to improve college readiness             39%

Launching a re-branding
Campaign                                          36%

Taking a significant new
approach to recruitment                           29%

Making significant changes
to the application process                        23%

Offering a shorter                                13%
path to a degree

Making a significant effort to enroll             12%
more students requiring financial aid

Eliminating the SAT or                             7%
ACT admissions requirement

Note: Table made from bar graph. … 
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