Public universities continue to experience significant change precipitated by a number of internal and external factors, among them constant turnover in administration, state and federal government regulations, and the general public's perception of higher education's value to society. Enrollment managers sit in a unique position to influence change, frequently high enough in the organization to have the president's ear. As an adviser to the president and governing boards, the enrollment manager must have excellent communication skills and extensive knowledge of policies and practices influencing the enrollment of students. The development, maintenance, and continuing enhancement of a conceptual framework for enrollment management and attention to external constituencies affecting enrollment are essential if the enrollment manager is to assist with positive institutional change.
The second circumstance was the general public's erosion of trust in all types of public institutions (Hartle 1994), precipitated by a series of highly publicized events. Legislators responded by introducing legislation, calling for greater accountability, implementing performance-based funding, and mandating reports of specific statistical measures.
Enrollment managers' concentration on data, quality service, cooperation, communication, and collaboration is important to institutional success. Those in the field must have broader formal and informal education. The chief enrollment officer must stay abreast of state and federal legislation, be able to discuss funding allocations, and know how to measure the general public's support for higher education. This professional needs background in computers, communications, marketing, research and analysis, personnel management, and fiscal concepts (Noel-Levitz 1996). The support generated for a comprehensive enrollment management program may be the result of the manager's ability to influence, communicate, persuade, lobby, and bargain with others. If a program is to be successful, the president or chief officer of the campus or system must not only endorse the program verbally, but also make sure it is funded. Therefore, the relationship of the chief enrollment officer to the president can be a critical element in a successful program.
The professional enrollment manager can, by using information databases and a combination of theory and practice, provide academic deans, the president, and fiscal officers with information about programs, the quality of students, demographic trends for graduates and potential students, attrition, and image. In an era when the number of potential students is beginning to rise again, less than 50 percent of those starting college actually graduate. Practices in awarding financial aid that may assist some students present financial problems for the institution and ethical concerns for the enrollment manager.
Institutions need to concentrate on the use of enrollment management tools, including predictive modeling, outcomes-based research on retention, programs, and activities, and evaluation of students' satisfaction to meet the needs of students, graduates, and society in general. Enrollment management changes the way colleges and universities approach the business of higher education. With appropriate planning and evaluation, institution-wide participation, well-prepared professionals, and adequate fiscal resources, enrollment management can help colleges and universities meet the challenges of the 21st century. References
Bryant, Peter, and Kevin Crockett. Fall 1993. "The Admissions Office Goes Scientific." Planning for Higher Education 22(1): 1-8.
Dixon, R.R., ed. 1995. Making Enrollment Management Work. New Directions for Student Services No. 71. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Hartle, T.W. Summer 1994. "The Battle over Governmental Regulation of Academe." College Board Review 172: 14-21+.
Hossler, D., J.P. Bean, and Associates, eds. 1990. The Strategic Management of College Enrollments. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Krotsen, Marsha V. 1993. "Designing Executive Information Systems for Enrollment Management." In Developing Executive Information Systems for Higher Education, edited by Robert H. Glover and Marsha V. Krotzen. New Directions for Institutional Research No. 77. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Levitz National Center for Enrollment Management. 1996. Fall 1995 National Enrollment Management Survey.Executive Summary of Findings: Four-Year Colleges and Universities.Littleton,Colo.: Author.
This ERIC digest is based on a full-length report in the ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report series, 26-7, Enrollment Management for the 21st Century: Delivering Institutional Goals, Accountability and Fiscal Responsibility by Garlene Penn.