- As competition for students increases, colleges are struggling to meet their target enrollment numbers by the traditional May 1 deadline, according to Inside Higher Ed's 2018 Survey of College and University Admissions Directors. The survey analyzed responses from 499 senior admissions or enrollment management professionals.
- More admissions leaders say they need until June 1 or July 1 to fill their incoming classes. The survey also found continued concern about the reliance on SAT and ACT tests deterring good candidates from applying to some colleges, and the belief that waiting lists are longer than they should be. Nearly half (46%) said they felt some colleges held Asian American applicants to a higher standard and 39% said admitted applicants from that demographic at their colleges have higher test scores than other groups.
- More than half (57%) of the admissions officials surveyed expressed concern over maintaining international student enrollment, and three-quarters cited the "policies and rhetoric" of the Trump administration as making recruiting those students more challenging.
This year's survey captures data on several pressing issues facing admissions and enrollment management leaders, including attracting international students and out-of-control waiting lists.
The decline in international student enrollment is driven by several factors, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts' Stateline, which noted that the number of student visas issued fell 40% from its peak in 2015 to 393,573 in 2017. Those factors include a decrease in scholarships available from their home countries to fund their studies in the U.S., the rising prominence of higher education globally, and stricter U.S. visa and immigration policies.
Some colleges are responding by lowering tuition rates for international students — a group many institutions rely on to pay the sticker price.
Colleges also are starting to rethink the ethics of their waiting lists, which at some highly selective institutions can equal the number of admitted students. High school admissions counselors have chided colleges for holding up prospective students' college selection process with a tactic often meant to help maintain relationships with donors and alumni, and not informing students of their odds of being moved off the waitlist.
The issue of discrimination against Asian American students could set the stage for a Supreme Court decision on the validity of affirmative action college admissions policies. A lawsuit brought against Harvard University by a group of Asian American applicants who were rejected says it unfairly limits the number of Asian American entrants, uses personality-based criteria that could promote racial bias, and hasn't investigated race-neutral approaches. The suit has the support of the Justice Department and an anti-affirmative action group.