Step by Step: Building a Community College Enrollment Management Plan

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1 Step by Step: Building a Community College Enrollment Management Plan Christine Kerlin Vice President for Enrollment Management Everett Community College, WA AACRAO Annual Meeting, Orlando, Florida March 2008 Christine Kerlin,2008 1

2 We Are Travelers on a Journey From the President to the Web Master From the Budget Director to the Custodian Everyone can/might/should be involved in mapping out and reaching the enrollment destination. The challenge: Getting everyone on the bus and agreeing on the direction. 2

3 EXTERNAL: We Face Real Challenges Increasing competition from new learning organizations that utilize e-tools more effectively than we do, and package their content to meet demand for non-traditional delivery. These new learning organizations are emphasizing the high volume, low-cost options. Our own public baccalaureates are moving into workforce training and the adult market our bread and butter. Our regional demographics are shifting away from our known zone. Fewer traditional-age students, aging adults, more traditionally under-represented populations. 3

4 INTERNAL: More Challenges Our budgets and our organizational structures are stretched. Our enrollment targets and funding are driven within a political model. Our enrollment targets are getting sliced and diced. Our internal understanding of how our databases really work may be imperfect. Are you sure you are counting everything? Achieving viable program mix to a) serve, b) meet goals, and c) respond to the realities of our own institution. The dynamics of Change Management! 4

5 So Why Do SEM? Enrollment drives everything. Build it and they will come is gone. The process of SEM helps us put the pieces together, together. 5

6 Understanding SEM SEM is a comprehensive process designed to help an institution achieve and maintain optimum enrollment, where optimum is defined within the academic [instructional] context of the institution. Adapted from SEM Primer SEM enables the fulfillment of institutional mission and students educational goals. Adapted from Bob Bontrager Enrollment management is a comprehensive and coordinated process that enables a college to identify enrollment goals that are allied with its mission, its strategic plan, its environment, and its resources, and to reach those goals through the effective integration of administrative processes, student services, curriculum planning, and market analysis. Christine Kerlin 6

7 Myth Busters Please note. SEM is not just a recruitment plan. SEM is not just a marketing plan. SEM is not separate from the academic mission of the institution. SEM is not always about growth. SEM is effective integration of administrative processes, student services, curriculum planning, and market analysis. 7

8 The Student Success Continuum Recruitment and Marketing Orientation Classroom Experience Student s College Career Co-curricular Support Goal Attainment Admission Financial Support Academic Support Retention Adapted from Bob Bontrager 8

9 Getting Started Define your reasons for pursuing enrollment management. Enumerate your issues. An issue is a statement of fact that includes or infers an impact that is what makes something an issue! Everyone s issues are different. High School enrollments are declining at a rate of 3% per year in our service area. Regional employment rate has improved and we are enrolling fewer full-time adults. Our high cost programs have the lowest enrollments, and we cannot seem to develop new programs that could attract higher enrollments at lower cost. Our resource structure does not match the current needs of our instructional and service programs. Our diversity enrollment is below that of our district s demographic profile. Our financial aid awarding process takes 8 weeks and most students do not know their award status until after the payment deadline. A new state university branch campus being built in our district. / A new manufacturing plant is being located in our district. 9

10 Creating a Structure Create a structure for leadership, planning and decisionmaking with regard to four concerns: Campus culture Enabling the institution to review issues, goals and strategies through these lenses: administrative processes student services curriculum planning market analysis Budget decision cycle and involvement of budget decisionmakers The dynamics of Change Management. 10

11 Executive Leadership No matter what sort of structure you create, the most important factor is Presidential leadership. Presidential charge College-wide summit Reports and updates at leadership meetings 11

12 The SEM Plan- Components 1. Define relationship to the College s Strategic Plan 2. Produce an Environmental Scan 3. Collect Data, Data, Data Enrollment: totals, demographics, trends, etc. Course offerings: capacity, scheduling, duplication, waitlists Retention Market surveys Financial aid and scholarships Budget: income streams, expenditures SEM requires a data-rich environment 12

13 The SEM Plan- Components 4. Identify vital issues 5. Respond to those issues: Key leverage initiatives Very important initiatives Relatively simple initiatives 13

14 More on key initiatives What does it take to make (leverage) a real difference? We will double the number of scholarship awards Affects access Affects retention Creates an institutional image Addresses diversity goals We will refocus on working adults who need online access and flexible scheduling. Utilizes current distance options Engages deans and faculty in reformatting some classes for higher enrollment Attracts new students Improves student satisfaction We will create six new partnerships with middle and high schools with large multicultural populations. Focuses recruitment where a difference can be made Links with scholarship awards Builds a stream over many years Includes adults in the families who might enroll themselves Enhances high school relations We will analyze each instructional program in terms of an income and expenditure model, engage in viability studies, and identify programs where the addition of just a few more students could make the difference as well as other transformations. Focuses attention on financial models Focuses recruitment and retention efforts Involves all sectors of the college in planning 14

15 SEM Plan - Continued 6. Set Goals: enrollment targets program mix program delivery income targets expenditure limits services? 15

16 SEM Plan - Continued 7. Suggest Strategies Recruitment Marketing Program mix Policies and Procedures Retention Financial modeling Etc. It is so easy to go straight to strategies. But you should do your homework first and start with step one. 16

17 Sample After 5 years of successful enrollment growth, our enrollment has flattened. Enrollment of recent high school graduates is strong but high school enrollments are projected to flatten beginning in Enrollment of adults has declined, perhaps due to high employment rates and other new competitors in the marketplace. Enrollment in traditional workforce programs is declining. Course enrollment patterns indicate that demand for distance courses exceeds our supply. We have determined that enrollment in online courses is costeffective. We have determined that an industry partner can provide funding to offset expenses in a new health care program offered in the evening. We have determined that our tuition income projections are not being met because we have an increasing ratio of full-time students. GOALS: The College will increase enrollment of recent high school graduates by 3% from Fall 2006 to Fall Strategies XYZ The College will increase the number of courses available online by 35% from Fall 2006 to Fall Strategies XYZ The College will increase the number of hybrid courses by 35% from Fall 2006 to Fall Strategies XYZ The College will offer two new degree programs in the health professions by Fall Strategies XYZ The College will define and aggressively market existing evening courses and degrees toward working adults. Strategies XYZ Strategies include timelines and locus of responsibility 17

18 8. Establish accountability Who does what and when? SEM Plan - Continued 9. Include Measurements/ Key Performance Indicators Most goals should be measurable Know your baseline data, and measure against it 10. Follow-up on assessment of the KPIs 11. Update often this is not a long range plan...it is a strategic plan. Be strategic! 12. Assure continuous communication with campus. Check out the Change Management dynamics. 18

19 Data Tools Enrollment (from Inquiry to Graduate) Financial Continuous collection Continuous cleaning of the data Advisory groups Continued scanning Feedback Support the efficacy of the process Campus communication methods Technologies that support decision-making and communication Data is not the plural of anecdote. * And data is not proof. *Numerous authors: Kotsonis, Brinner 19

20 The First Steps The first steps depend on your campus culture and executive leadership buy-in, and, well, ~leadership~. You may find yourself driving the: The 2008 Cadillac version Large fanfare, deep resources, lots of buy-in. Embrace SEM. The 1967 VW Bug version Ambivalent interest, lack of sufficient structure. Take incremental steps. 20

21 It s an Interesting Ride! Be prepared to find the challenges of enrollment management large and complex. Be prepared to experience lack of consensus and involvement. Be prepared to proceed in fits and starts. Be prepared to Just do it. Or, to use the Roadmap and Journey metaphors, be prepared to Switch gears Speed up Break down Run out of gas Exceed the limit Go in circles Yield Ask Are we there yet? Open the moon-roof 21

22 You Are Ready Using data, issues and direction from your Strategic Plan, identify issues and rationale. Formulate a structure. Establish buy-in and involvement of executive leadership. Identify vital issues, goals and strategies. Link with the budget process. As the plan takes shape, assign responsibilities/accountabilities. Use measurable statements and select key performance indicators. Follow-up. Assess. Revise. Communicate with the campus community. Get Ready. Go. 22

23 Consulting Option AACRAO 23

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