Spring Semester Enrollment Report
March 01, 2005
Recruitment and Retention make up one of the main strategies and priorities in the operation of Southern Utah University. They are a formal and formidable plan, conducted out of the Office of Enrollment Management (EM), under the leadership of Dr. Stephen Allen. “We do our job by following a blueprint we design for the school year that requires much thought, planning and preparation,” Allen explains.
And as blunt as it may seem, it is the numbers that dictate the evaluation and judgment of this blueprint. The great news is, the blueprint is working! The enrollment numbers for Spring 2005 semester are up in several categories.
Overall enrollment is up 11.2% from this time last year. That is an equivalent of 620 students. “This is a significant, great number,” Allen exclaims. “We’re very pleased.”
The FTE figure, or Full-time Equivalency is up from last year, 5.8%, or 264 students. FTE is the total number of Student Credit Hours (SCH) divided by 15 (the number of credits that must be taken each semester to be considered a full-time student). The FTE is considered in the equation by the state when determining the amount of funding given to an institution.
Also worth noting is a most significant increase in the number of graduate students—42.4% more are attending one of SUU’s four master’s programs now, over this time last year.
“Credit for the increases in our enrollment goes largely to the Enrollment Management staff, of course,” Allen states, “but also to many faculty and staff across campus, including the Office of Marketing. Enrollment Management is only successful by a mutual effort of the whole campus.”
This year’s Enrollment Management plan, Allen admits, is the most aggressive in the history of the institution. Focus has been on admission counselors taking charge of specific areas, and increasing communication with prospective students through regular mail, email, person-to-person phone calls and face-to-face interaction.
For years now, Allen explains, the number of incoming Utah high school students has been flattening, if not decreasing, and SUU’s EM plan has responded to this trend.
SUU admissions counselor Nicole Bingham resides in northern Utah and works the region full-time. “Enrollment from northern Utah has grown since last fall,” Allen reports. “We are sure this is happening because of the extension of personal attention Nicole is giving to prospective students. At a moment’s notice she will take brochures over to a high school, or whatever is needed.” Nicole was key to the success of an SUU Open House recruitment event recently held at the Salt Lake City Library to which 300 prospective students, their parents and alumni attended.
SUU, indeed, offers an uncommon degree of personalized admissions counseling to high school students. The counselors in the EM Office are assigned to regions in Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and throughout the country. A new feature on the Office’s webpage (http://www.suu.edu/prostu/) helps a prospective student anywhere find their personal SUU admissions counselor.
The timing of communications with prospective students is certainly critical, Allen says, especially with high school juniors and seniors. The EM plan pinpoints when a certain type of communication will be made with a certain group of prospectives, according to when the factors influential to the process of choosing a college take place. For instance, application deadlines, scholarship deadlines, tax time, testing schedules, graduation dates, etc.
There are numerous other strategies employed within the sphere of Enrollment Management, many of which concentrate on bringing prospectives right to campus. Research proves campus visits to be the strongest influence in the decision-making process for college-bound students and their parents.
All of the recruitment staff in EM are SUU alumni. If that’s a coincidence, it’s one that makes sense. “We love SUU. We believe in it,” Allen exclaims. “It is a special place to get a higher education.”
Dr. Stephen Allen