How to Increase Student Retention by Matching Undergraduates with Programs They’re Likely to Finish

Dr. Katelyn Sanders Director of Admission & Alumni Affairs Bernard J Dunn School of Pharmacy Shenandoah University Dr. Scott D. Miller President Virginia Wesleyan University The rate of college dropouts is on the rise, which is creating serious problems for students, learning institutions, and the economy. How Bad Is the Issue? According to a recent ThinkImpact report, the overall dropout rate for undergraduate college students is 40 percent, and the rates for non-white students are even higher. Who drops out?  It’s not just freshmen who end up changing their minds.  An analysis of more than 50 higher education institutions by […]

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Bundle the Cost of Books into Tuition, Already

John W. Dysart President The Dysart Group Virtually every college and university is concerned with retention and graduation rates. Many meetings have been held, and programs initiated, and retention officers hired to improve retention rates. One of the easiest steps you can take to increase your retention and graduation rates is to include the cost of books in your tuition. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group released a study finding that 65% of college students skipped buying some or all textbooks. This should not be surprising, as the cost of textbooks has soared over the last 50 years at three […]

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Planning for the Future

Dr. Katelyn Sanders Director of Admission & Alumni Affairs Bernard J Dunn School of Pharmacy Shenandoah University Dr. Scott D. Miller President Virginia Wesleyan University For many years, this space has been occupied by strategies and best practices in the marketing and enrollment fields, written in the context of The Dysart Group Model — a model that we have advocated for 25 years. For the first time in many years, this communication about strategies in higher education is being released without our esteemed partner and friend, Marylouise “Weezie” Fennell.  Weezie had an incredible impact on the higher education industry, the […]

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Small Baptist College Increases Enrollment by 26%

John W. Dysart President The Dysart Group I worked with the administrative team at Southeastern Free Will Baptist College last year to review admission and financial aid operations. Like many small colleges and universities, enrollment declined in recent years. New student enrollments had dropped by 22% over the previous five years. Total enrollment was down 31% since 2017. We collaborated to review recent practices and outcomes and agreed upon an action plan of new initiatives to grow enrollment. Nate Ange, President, Southeastern Free Will Baptist College The institution has already realized promising results after beginning the implementation of a new […]

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Three More Colleges Announce Permanent Closure

John W. Dysart President The Dysart Group In recent weeks, three more colleges have announced that they will close permanently. This continues the unfortunate trend of institutional closures. The reasons are numerous: Demographic declines in the national customer base mean fewer available students. Many colleges and universities have never recovered from the impact of the pandemic. More families question the ROI of a college education. The enrollment challenges are real and unlikely to improve.  Despite the obstacles, many colleges and universities have been able to maintain enrollments and even grow during these difficult times.  What can enrollment leaders do to […]

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Why Affordability and Accessibility Are the Cornerstones of a Proactive Enrollment Strategy

Dr. Marylouise Fennell Principal Hyatt-Fennell Dr. Scott D. Miller President Virginia Wesleyan University With national college enrollment rates falling for five semesters in a row, two common terms heard in enrollment strategy discussions are affordability and accessibility. But for the learners we serve, these terms are much more than just buzzwords.  They represent the difference between dreaming of a college degree and the reality of earning one. Like many services, the cost of attending college in the U.S. has skyrocketed over the past 20 years.  In 2003, the average in-state tuition was $4,202, but today that number is nearly three […]

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It’s Time to Review Your Financial Aid Award Policy

John W. Dysart President The Dysart Group Financial aid packaging has begun for the Fall 2023 cycle, and it is a good time to review your packaging strategy if you have not already done so.  The following are some questions to consider as you begin awarding new and returning students for the coming year. What have been your new student recruitment trends over the last three years? If your new student enrollments have increased, you may have a packaging strategy that is effectively supporting your admission plan. If the number of new students has declined, you may need to consider […]

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Re-Recruiting Stop-Outs

John W. Dysart President The Dysart Group As colleges and universities struggle with demographic declines, there exists a significant source of prospective enrollments from students who attended college but never completed. The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reports that there are more than 39 million such students. Now is the time to start trying to re-enroll students your institution has lost. Identify students who have departed in good academic standing over the last five years. Aggressively contact them via telephone, email and text messaging inviting them to return. Demonstrate a clear path for degree attainment. Be willing to work with […]

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Admissions and Faculty Collaboration: A Tool for Enrollment Success

Tracey Dysart Ford Vice President of University Partnerships (South) enrollmentFUEL It seems no matter how large or small the university, the connection between faculty and the enrollment team is paramount. In a time when so many are questioning the value of higher education, the faculty are key to admissions and recruitment success. While most of us understand that academic marketing and faculty interaction should be a part of the recruitment plan for graduate and adult learners, a big opportunity is missed if collaboration is not also sought for the traditional undergraduate recruitment program. Parents and students need to see the […]

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Five Ways Campus Communities Can Embrace Bold Change

Dr. Marylouise Fennell Principal Hyatt-Fennell Dr. Scott D. Miller President Virginia Wesleyan University In recent years, the traditional landscape of higher education has been repeatedly disrupted by one serious difficulty after another. From the logistical and financial complications of safely delivering a high-quality education during the COVID–19 pandemic to fluctuating enrollment trends across many fields of study, institutions of higher education are facing not just one era-defining dilemma but a confluence of intersecting challenges. Developing solutions for these problems will require adopting new strategies and behaviors at every level of the educational experience and reconsidering all aspects of how a […]

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