- The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on a recent survey of more than 440 colleges and universities nationwide, of which more than 40% of private schools and 30% of public institutions reported missing at least one enrollment goal of increased first-year student numbers or tuition revenue for this academic year.
- Nearly 40% of schools surveyed met both goals, but say the numbers are down from previous years and were adjusted to meet forecasts based upon appropriations, industrial growth and demographic trends in the surrounding region.
- College officials say that it is nearly impossible to read growth in one year as the beginning of a trend, or a one-time bump which could decline in the following year.
New degree programs or facilities can often cause a bump in student enrollment and sometimes can extend beyond the initial introduction year. But for most colleges and universities that jump in enrollment may come with an increase in transfers or withdrawals from one semester or over the next year, which can damage retention and graduation rates over a longer period.
The key for colleges and universities is to make and maintain steady pipelines for specific student types, and not just in areas of high school-to-college transition. This could also mean pipelines for local corporations and businesses to credential working professionals, to reach out to continuing education populations, and to offer traditional students incentives for enrollment and four year-completion, like tuition rebates or stackable credentials earned throughout the academic career.