Enrollment Management update 4/10/07

A lot of enrollment management administrators ponder the effects of the U.S. News and World Report college rankings report. The report can lead to a lot of free publicity for those schools that are fortunate enough to be ranked by U.S News.

Portland State University was recently listed in the top-10 electrical engineering schools in the U.S. Unfortunately, this was an error. PSU’s program actually came in at 126. From a public relations perspective, this error is terrific for PSU’s electrical engineering program. PSU will receive a lot of free press about their institution and programs. Sometimes a glitch can be a good thing.

Housing and retention:
The University of Maryland has an interesting opportunity/problem on their hands. Recently, the University of Maryland “notified nearly 650 junior and senior students that they won’t have the option of on-campus housing this fall.” It is probably too late to build more residence halls for next fall. However, the students who will have to find off-campus housing will need significant support.

From an enrollment management perspective, this issue is a delicate one. Students who live on-campus are usually retained at a higher level than students who live off-campus. Student retention is a core component to an enrollment management plan as it is more expensive to recruit new students than it is to retain current ones. Oftentimes university housing officials are encumbered with having too many open spots or “having beds to fill.” The University of Maryland could be in the market for a couple more residence halls…

Oregon University System:
Oregon is almost at the bottom (46th) for state support per student for post-secondary education. This makes it incredibly difficult for the state universities in Oregon to recruit/retain students, staff and faculty. My alma madder, Oregon State University, has undergone some of the deepest budget cuts in the state.

First-generation Students:

A new study by the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education says that first-generation students need significant amounts of support in order to excel and persist.

According to Dr. Colleen O’Brien, director of the Pell Institute and a co-author of the report, it is not enough to raise first-generation students’ hopes and dreams.

“To make the successful leap to college, disadvantaged students need intensive help with the admissions and financial aid processes and a real comfort level with both campus life and college academic support resources. And once they are in college, the challenges to stay enrolled are just as significant,” O’Brien says. (via Diverse: Issues In Higher Education)

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