Enrollment Management and Student Support Plan
The Enrollment Management and Student Support Plan addresses and identifies student body mix and size and focuses on recruitment and retention initiatives and goals. The Enrollment Management Team (EMT) helps shape the plan and works to implement and evaluate enrollment targets and programs while maintaining and improving the academic profile of our incoming students.
Although the original Enrollment Management Plan recommended “steady-state” enrollment, the approval and implementation of the Growth Agenda will mean a dramatic shift from this previous strategy to one of that focuses on growth. It is important that UW Oshkosh not return to the enrollment pattern of the 1990s, when annual enrollments consistently missed UW System targets. The University has been well served, in terms of public image and reputation, with its enrollment growth during 2000-2008 and its place as the state’s third-largest university in UW System.
Growth, as set down by Growth Agenda I, is 574 students and potentially another 250 head count increase of Growth Agenda II, if approved. For the past two years, in anticipation of the Growth Agenda’s approval, a plan and targets for slight increases (2 percent) in enrollment were put into place with continued focus on increasing the number of freshmen, nontraditional students and graduate students. Enrollment projections for 2008-2009 indicate approximately 11,800 on-campus students and 1,000 off-campus students with a total enrollment of 12,800. An increase in nontraditional students was aided by new special programs, such as the Graduation Project, Fire Safety and the new Bachelor of Applied Science programs.
This past year, Graduate Studies worked with graduate program directors to develop enrollment targets and recruitment plans. It is projected that graduate student enrollment may see a slight decrease for 2008-2009 as a result of the economy and changes in DPI continuing education requirements. New programs, such as the Global MBA and the off-site MBA, are examples of offerings that have assisted in attracting more graduate students and the source for future graduate student growth.
Diversity and student mix
This key operational plan continues to focus on diversifying the student body, resulting in an increase of students of color, veterans, international students and nontraditional adult learners. Admissions’ multicultural recruiters, the Milwaukee satellite office and specialized admissions programs have been instrumental in matriculating the most diverse student body. These programs are yielding benefit as demonstrated by the 51-percent increase in new students of color for 2008-'09.
A special “first-generation” recruitment program was implemented two years ago to address the needs of first-generation college students and their families. The Wisconsin veterans’ remission program has resulted in more veterans attending UW Oshkosh. The campus has become a campus of choice by veterans, and the plan will need to continue to look at ways to provide for expanded services for veterans.
Retention is one aspect of the plan that needs additional focus, evaluation and consideration. Although there has been an almost 7-percent increase in retention rates during the past eight years, the plan’s retention target of 80 percent for first-year to second-year retention has not yet been attained.
Some new initiatives to aid in retention have been developed or are in the process of being put into place. A first-year experience working group identified retention resources for first-year students, and a first-year seminar will be piloted fall 2008. A first-year experience residence hall program (NBC Village) was opened this past year and is the most popular lifestyle option selected by incoming freshmen. Assessment of the NBC Village is underway, and discussions of developing a sophomore experience in the residence halls will begin.
A summer academic institute, Titan Advantage Program (TAP), has been developed and was implemented this summer to assist high-risk students make a successful transition to college. The availability of upper-level courses and new programs also are factors in improved retention. In spring 2007, students reauthorized Differential Tuition, which supports the Student Development Compact and retention by providing enhanced academic advising, tutoring and supplemental instruction and career advising and counseling.
A working group that focuses specifically on retention initiatives has been put into place and has been charged to examine best practices, survey retention programs and services that are presently in place on campus and provide recommendations, so this aspect of the plan will be developed more fully. A consultant has been identified to conduct a comprehensive retention review.
Significant future considerations for this plan include review and feedback by the Enrollment Management Team and campus governance and the future implementation of the UW System Growth Agenda. The recently approved Growth Agenda will mean new targets for recruitment and retention. It also will mean reevaluation of the recruitment and retention strategies as the market for students becomes more competitive across the state with future growth of the UW System and declining numbers in high school graduates.
Additional metrics and assessment of this plan’s progress will be considered, and the data will be used to guide future decisions in the area of enrollment management. Data from the Equity Score Card and the Campus Climate Study will continue to be reviewed, as well as data from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and the MAPWORKS project.
The enrollment model sets an annual new freshmen target of 1,750 for the years 2006-2010. However, with the implementation of the Growth Agenda, the target for 2008-2010 will be 1,850 plus.
There are important reasons to strive to achieve this annual target. Achievement means that as the new freshmen cohorts move through their educational cycle at the University, continuing student enrollment is steady and the University avoids the “peaks and valleys” that result from significantly different annual new freshmen cohorts. Also, annual drops in the number of new freshmen result in significant revenue losses for student auxiliaries.
A key planning assumption is an increasing population of high school graduates initially (from the top six feeder counties for UW Oshkosh) with a decline projected in the years from 2009 to 2010. This impending decline will mean the broadening of recruitment territories and populations.
There are several important planning and policy issues that threaten the University’s ability to enroll 1,850 new freshmen each fall. Most significantly, several UW institutions have decided to grow their new freshmen classes, resulting in increased competition. This competition can dramatically lower our yield from new freshmen applications. The fall 2005 recruitment cycle clearly showed this. The same number of applications were received for fall 2004, and the University has admitted 250 more applicants than a year ago, yet the fall 2005 first-time freshmen enrollment was 1,653.
For fall 2008, it appears the University will pursue the target of 1,850. It is believed this is due, in part, to limiting the number of deferred admissions and award letters coming out two-to-three weeks earlier than in the past and earlier than our competitors and getting out financial aid awards letter earlier.
The competition with our sister UW campuses for new freshmen will continue, and to meet our annual target of 1,850 new freshmen, the University may need to consider the following options:
- Adding new academic programs to attract additional applicants and recruits. The EMT has compiled a list of such programs and shared it with the provost and deans. Some of the potential new programs represent packaging of courses already offered, others would require new curricula. The Growth Agenda also has provided monies to develop high-demand programs.
- Though the profile has remained the same over the past three years, future discussion and consideration may be needed to amend admissions criteria. For example, admit if in the top 50 percent of their high school class (the current admissions criteria is top 40 percent) and don’t hold students for review of seventh-semester grades.
- For fall 2007, the freshmen scholarship program recognized 172 new freshmen, about 10 percent of the class. The current scholarship program provides UW Oshkosh with an advantage over many of our sister UW institutions. However, more UW System institutions have taken note and have developed similar programs, increasing competition for talented new students. Sustaining as much of the current freshmen scholarship program and even increasing scholarship numbers and values is vital to recruiting and enrolling high-ability students. UW Oshkosh’s comprehensive capital campaign could provide additional dollars for recruitment scholarships in the future.
Transfer students (undergraduate)
The EMT recommends an annual undergraduate transfer student target of 850. Over the years, transfer students often have been used as one-year “backfill” to make up for projected shortfalls in new freshmen. The Growth Agenda means an adjusted target of 950.
Several key planning issues affect the annual enrollment of undergraduate transfer students:
- Reduced availability of upper-level courses. While transfer students represent all student categories (freshmen to senior), the majority come to UW Oshkosh having completed their general education coursework and frequently entry-level requirements for their declared major. To complete their degree, they need to take the required courses in their major, in sequence. As a result of budget reductions over the past several years, upper-level seats have declined. Continuation of this trend will jeopardize the University’s ability to achieve an annual target of 950 transfer students, let alone a higher target, if required to meet overall enrollment targets.
- Several popular majors for transfer students, such as nursing, have caps on admission into the major that also make it more difficult to enroll transfer students.
- Raising the transfer admission GPA criteria from 2.0 to 2.5 has impacted the enrollment of transfer students.
- Increased competition from other UW institutions. Just as the case with new freshmen, several campuses have raised their transfer student targets for the past and current recruitment cycle.
- Additional agreements and partnerships with technical and UW Colleges will need to developed and fostered.
The 2006 enrollment model projects an annual graduate student target of 1,500 (generating 550 FTE). While graduate enrollment had declined since 2000, in fall 2007, UW Oshkosh exceeds that target with 1,607 graduate students (617 FTE); however, the University anticipates a slight decline in graduate students for 2008.
Work is underway to develop a comprehensive enrollment plan for graduate programs, specifically, and graduate studies, in general, as well as a shift in graduate program offerings and size.
A key planning assumption is that UW Oshkosh, along with other UW institutions, will continue to lose market share to private four-year colleges and universities. Planning and policy issues for graduate enrollment stem immediately from budget reductions but systematically from lack of comprehensive recruitment, enrollment and retention plans specific to graduate students. A reduction in the number of graduate assistantships and limited resources for marketing or promoting graduate programs could affect achieving the annual graduate enrollment targets.
Nontraditional students (undergraduate and graduate)
The enrollment model does not establish targets, per se, for adult nontraditional students (defined as students 25 years or older). Enrollments in UW Oshkosh nontraditional degree and certificate programs have grown rapidly. Since fall 2000, the number of nontraditional undergraduate students increased 20 percent. Presently, nontraditional students make up 15.1 percent of the total Undergraduate Enrollment (1,677).
A key planning assumption is that demand for higher education among the workforce will continue to grow. In addition, development and delivery of high-demand programs increasingly will need to be self-supportive. Policy and planning issues include campus support for and acceptance of collaborative and degree-completion programs and campus support for conversion of programs to online and nontraditional delivery formats.
UW Oshkosh has chosen a “growth” approach to adult nontraditional students. There are opportunities for growth, but the University must make a conscious decision that these are a priority if they are to result in the enrollment of additional students. The statewide climate is reflected by, and will be perpetuated by, the Committee on Baccalaureate Expansion initiatives, including degree completion options, the Graduation Project, seamless transitions from two- to four-year institutions, applied studies and degree options in high-interest areas. All of these focus attention on transfer and working adult students.
Students of color
From fall 2000 to fall 2007, enrolled students of color increased by 96 percent (from 414 to 811). The EMT recommended a 30-percent increase in the enrollment of students of color by fall 2010 (from 650 to 845). It appears that the campus will meet and surpass that target, and EMT will need to review and reset this target. UW Oshkosh’s Plan 2008 calls for increased enrollment and retention of students of color. The recommended increase is consistent with University and Board of Regents policies.
Key planning assumptions are that the Undergraduate Admissions Office retains its four full-time, multicultural student recruiters and that base funding is maintained for Plan 2008 recruiting activities and events. The investment the University has made in this area has contributed to the growth in total students of color and must be maintained if the additional growth is to be met. In addition, sustaining as much of the current freshmen scholarship program as possible is vital to recruiting and enrolling students of color.
The focus of this plan has been the recruitment of students of color; however, future planning will pay more attention to the retention of our students of color. Data from the Equity Score Card and the Climate Study will be analyzed and discussed. Recommendations and action steps will be developed.
This past year, there were 75 international students (undergraduate and graduate) at UW Oshkosh, which is an increase over the prior year of 67. The University will pursue either a “steady state” or “sight growth” approach to recruiting and enrolling international students. Increased recruiting efforts abroad as well as easing of SEVIS restrictions could provide a slight increase in international students who are both academically talented and can afford to pay out-of-state tuition; however, the global market for international students has become very competitive. The Office of International Education has identified specific steps that could be taken if growing the international student population is a University priority. A target needs to be developed.
Nonresident (out-of-state) students
The enrollment model does not establish targets for nonresident students. Typically, 200-300 students each year are nonresident (this includes Minnesota Reciprocity students), about 3 percent of the total student population. Like international students, UW Oshkosh may pursue either a “steady state” or “growth” approach to recruiting and enrolling non-resident students.
Taking no action will result in continuance of the current small numbers of non-resident students. Since non-resident students pay much higher tuition than Wisconsin residents, UW Oshkosh may want to consider growth in this area for revenue enhancement. The Midwest Higher Education Commission program also will provide opportunities to attract out of state students to campus and, thus, increase geographical diversity.
From 2000 to 2008, the first-year-to-second-year retention rate grew from 70.8 percent to 76.2 percent. While the entire campus contributes to retention, two important developments were primary contributors to this increase: the improved academic profile of the new freshmen cohorts and expanded academic advising, tutoring and career counseling services through the Oshkosh Student Compact (funded by differential tuition).
The EMT recommended that UW Oshkosh strive to achieve an 80-percent retention rate by fall 2010 and will need to adjust that to 2012. Increased retention is key to growth in headcount set by the Growth Agenda. Several key planning assumptions relate to this goal:
- Differential tuition continues at the current rate with built in “cost of living” increases to maintain present service levels.
- Student support services funding has been reduced over the past two biennia. This will impact retention efforts. Reinvestment in student success and retention programs though Growth Agenda monies will be needed.
From 2000 to 2008, the six-year graduation rate for new UW Oshkosh freshmen (anywhere in the system) was improved slightly from 53.2 percent to 55 percent. This is considerably lower than the System average (62.2 percent). It is recommended that UW Oshkosh strive to achieve a 58-percent, six-year graduation rate by 2012. It should be noted that degrees awarded have increased from 1,685 during 2000-'01 to 2,073 conferred in 2007-'08.
A key planning assumption is that the Graduation Project continues as a permanent University project beyond the initial pilot and Phase II. Securing additional COBE funding and Growth Agenda dollars would provide continued support for this project.
Improving the six-year graduation rate also is dependent on the availability of upper-level courses and access to academic programs. Furthermore, General Education and degree requirements that slow or prevent degree progress and completion should be reviewed and addressed.
New developments for future consideration and planning
Resource implications and prioritization of these recommendations need to be considered before incorporating the new information and recommendations into this operational plan. With potential funding, targets and enrollment strategies will be modified with emphasis in overall enrollment growth. The impact of Growth Agenda I and potential funding for Growth Agenda II also will affect targets and enrollment planning.
Discussions on how to best serve the increasing veteran student populations need to be undertaken and considered as a part of the enrollment plan. Assessment practices and tools need to be reviewed, selected and implemented. The impact of the Integrated Marketing and Communications (IMC) department in branding and marketing and its impact on recruitment and retention will need to be studied and assessed.
Goals for enrollment management, 2008-2009
- Review and vet new targets in light of Growth Agenda I and potential Growth Agenda II funding.
- Review and vet mix of students and look for growth areas and strategies to meet enrollment mix targets.
- Develop enhanced and new recruitment strategies and territories to meet enrollment and mix targets. This includes specialized recruitment efforts such as high-demand major preview days, first-generation preview days, and Upper Michigan and Illinois markets/fairs.
- Evaluate and discuss data provided by the Equity Score Card, Campus Climate Study and the 2008 NSSE to identify and implement strategies and programs that improve student success and retention.
- Assess present campus retention programs and strategies with the assistance of an independent consultant. Identify existing and new ways to improve student retention.
- Continued work on putting into place a Graduate Studies Enrollment Plan, which will coordinate recruitment efforts and develop targets and potential areas of growth.
- Continued partnership with IMC to develop and integrate a UW Oshkosh brand and use enhanced marketing techniques for recruitment purposes.
Enrollment Management Team
The Enrollment Management Team (EMT) is charged with the responsibility of systematically reviewing and monitoring the progress of student enrollment (undergraduate and graduate) goals that maintain educational excellence by aligning enrollments with resources as they relate to the University’s governing ideas and strategic plans as well as the University’s Plan 2008.
The EMT shall regularly provide information and recommendations to the Chancellor’s Administrative Staff on enrollment management goals and issues. To this end, the EMT presents below a prioritized list of recommendations, developed from many meetings, review of enrollment data, discussion of recruitment, marketing and retention strategies, and assessments of enrollment and FTE targets in the upcoming biennium.
The EMT also emphasizes that the unique demographics of our prospective and current students (regional comprehensive, first-generation college, adult nontraditional students, post-baccalaureate degree-seekers) necessitate that the recommended action steps need to be tailored for each of these groups to be successful in achieving enrollment, recruitment and retention targets. Further, the EMT would like to underscore that the Integrated Marketing and Communications (IMC) department is a group with which the EMT would like to work collaboratively. The EMT sees the efforts as complementary, and each group can help the other in achieving the objectives for which they are responsible.
After much deliberation, the EMT members rated the following five items as the most important recommendations:
- Meet with faculty and Faculty Senate to discuss the review of academic program array.
- Develop marketing strategies to attract nontraditional students.
- Increase/enhance Web site presence and use of technology in recruiting.
- Recruit more nonresident students (domestic and international).
- Engage the campus community in the recruitment process.
The EMT also has encouraged additional examination of marketing and branding; research, data and assessment; and retention. During the coming year, the EMT will need to review the Enrollment Plan and targets and provide updated recommendations to the Chancellor.
Key planning assumptions and outline
Within the overall enrollment figures, the enrollment model includes annual targets for new freshmen, transfer students and graduate students. The plan recommends consistent annual targets for each of these components. However, there are important planning assumptions and policy issues to be considered that may dictate significant modification to these components.
An important key-planning assumption is that direct instructional resources are constant and increase over 2008-2012, with Growth Agenda resources being invested in high-demand programs. In addition, annual tuition increases can negatively impact annual enrollment even if all other factors are positive; more students may elect to begin their education at a technical college rather than a two-year or four-year UW institution.
Two of the other key operational plans directly speak to ways to expand UW Oshkosh as a campus of choice in the state of Wisconsin. First, the Academic Program and Student Outcomes Assessment Plan will describe the University’s current academic program array and what that program array will look like in five years. Second, the Advancement and Relationship Development Plan calls for “reaching consensus on a central defining core message (for the University) that will be used when describing or promoting the University for all audiences.”
This defining core message and branding is central to marketing the University and its programs to students, parents, alumni and the broader citizenry. Failure to achieve changes in the academic program array and failure to identify and use a “central defining core message” in all marketing efforts will limit the University’s ability to achieve the enrollment goals described in this plan.
Below is a chart that outlines this plan’s enrollment components, benchmarks, targets, planning and responsibility:
(undergraduate and graduate)
|10,250 (all funds); 9,679 official/GPR
||11,664 (all funds); 10,780 official/GPR
||Direction of instructional resources are constant. Full funding and implementation of the Growth Agenda.
||Annual tuition increases. Decreased financial aid. Reduced class seats. Need for high-demand programs. No campus consensus on image or "brand." Retention programs needed.
(undergraduate and graduate)
|12,500 (all funds); 11,305 official/GPR
||13,074 (all funds); 12,074 official/GPR [13,354 all fund, if Growth Agenda II is fully funded]
||High school graduate pool is constant (statewide and in eight primary feeder counties).
||Continued competition from other UW campuses. Rising UW tuition. Academic Program Plan — new programs to sustain enrollments.
||Undergraduate Admissions, academic colleges and departments
|New Freshmen Academic Profile
|| 22.4 mean ACT score; 90% in top two quartiles
||23 mean ACT score; 90% in top two quartiles
||Scholarship needs — impact if current funding level is reduced.
||Foundation, Admissions and academic colleges
|Transfer Students (Undergraduate)
||Upper-level course availability.
||Provost, academic colleges and departments
||1,417||TBD (Former target was 1,500 but needs to be discussed and reconsidered
||Continued aggressive competition. Little to no marketing and promotion budget.
||Continued loss of market share to private colleges and universities. Changes in DPI continuing education requirements impact on Education graduate programs. Graduate assistantships needed to be redesigned and leveraged. A comprehensive recruitment, enrollment and retention plan needs to be developed and implemented.
||Graduate admissions, colleges and departments with graduate programs, IMC
|Nontraditional Students (Undergraduate)
||Demand for higher education among the workforce will continue to grow. Development and delivery of high-demand programs will increasingly need to be self-supportive.
||Center for New Learning, Office of Adult Access, Admissions|
|Students of Color
||Undergraduate Admissions retains four full-time minority recruiters. Full funding for Plan 2008 recruiting activities.
||Scholarship needs — impact if current funding level is reduced.
||Undergraduate and Graduate Admissions, Academic Support, Foundation
||SEVIS and competitive global market.
||Need for more recruiting dollars and opportunities.
||Undergraduate Admissions, Graduate Admissions, Office of International Education
||Cost of out-of-state recruitment. Cost of out-of-state-tuition. Midwest Exchange Program.
||Admissions and Provost
| Retention Rate
||Student support services funding is reduced. Differential Tuition renewed in 2007 at the current rate with steady-state funding.
||Differential tuition renewed at current state funding. Growth Agenda dollars available.
||UARC, CAR, Career Services, Counseling Center, Student Affairs, EMT, academic colleges and departments, campuswide study of Climate Study and Equity Score Card
|Six-Year Graduation Rate (within UWS)
||Graduation Project continues.
||Upper-level course availability. Gen Ed and degree requirements that slow or prevent degree progress and graduation. Funding for Graduation Project. Retentions programs.
||Provost, academic colleges and departments, governance groups