Public liberal arts colleges work to attract exposure, enrollment

Dive Brief:

  • The Washington Post profiles the University of Mary Washington, a public liberal arts college which offers students college access at an annual fraction of the average cost posted by private and large state competitors, but is struggling to expand enrollment and capacity. 
  • UMW President Troy Paino says that the school will seek to cap first-year student enrollment in an effort to keep class sizes small and to aid in building stronger competency in fields like nursing and other emerging industries. 
  • Paino says small liberal arts colleges must work harder to promote academic excellence and a sense of community, when most students are swayed by big athletics as a recruiting tool. 

Dive Insight:

Some research suggests that pop culture is vital to college recruitment, but these outreach efforts can come in a variety of offerings like social media or strategic marketing to students. For smaller colleges, promoting important statistics like job placement, student debt and transition into graduate school may be the strong recruitment tool for any high-achieving student. 

Making the case for enrollment based upon outcomes is sure to resonate with parents, and with the federal government which is increasing its efforts to promote institutional metrics to potential students with its scorecard and partnership with Google to promote scorecard data in college search results. 

Filed Under: Higher Ed