Ten Reasons Why You Must Implement a Data-Driven Enrollment Management Model

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John W. Dysart
The Dysart Group, Inc.
The higher education landscape is rapidly changing. Despite the general acceptance of the concept of enrollment management as an effective vehicle for understanding admissions, financial aid and retention, many private colleges and universities have still not adopted the model. Administrators should seriously consider implementing the approach to deal with myriad challenges facing institutions. Consider the following:

Discount Rates Continue to Rise

The average discount rate reached 45% in 2011 which means many schools are dealing with rates in excess of 50%. Enrollment management tactics can enable institutions to control and even reduce discount rates.

Federal Loan Interest Rates May Double

It is looking more likely that Congress is going to allow interest rates on federal student loans to double. It is going to be more difficult to sell the value of higher education as the costs continue to rise.

The Economy Has Not Completely Recovered

Median family incomes have declined and household net worth has dropped and it will probably be years before peaks reached over the last decade are realized again.

Admission Yield Rates Have Dropped

At many colleges and universities the yield rate from accepted applicant to enrolled student has gone down. This means schools will need even more applications for admission just to maintain current recruitment objectives.


The number of high school graduates will continue to decline and that, along with changes in ethnicity trends, will present challenges.


Technology is providing students with options that could impact enrollment in traditional programs.

Retrenchment in State Financial Aid

The economy and budget cuts have resulted in many states stagnating and even reducing their support for higher education in the form of state funded scholarships and grants. Colleges are being forced to decide whether or not to cover the cuts for their students. Reductions in state funding diminish the impact of federal student aid.


Institutions can expect even more regulation from the federal government. Congress is looking to control everything from the content of award letters to consumer information. Colleges need to prepare for an environment where “return on investment” becomes critical.

Pressure is Increasing to Be More Accountable

It is not only the federal government seeking more information and explanations. Chief enrollment officers are being pressured by a number of internal and external constituent groups for answers. Data-driven enrollment management models enable administrators to explain application and yield trends, challenges, institutional aid expenditure levels and general outcomes.

Public Colleges and Universities Are Becoming More Aggressive

Declining demographics, economic challenges and state budget cuts have made it much more difficult for public institutions to meet their revenue goals. Every year more public schools are beginning to discount tuition.More public colleges and universities are adopting enrollment management models to increase their competitiveness.

The bottom line is that enrollment management models facilitate informed decision-making. Informed decision-making will equip administrators to meet current challenges.

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