Create a strategic enrollment plan from the ground up

Chuck Knepfle, associate vice president for enrollment management at Clemson University, offered guidance to 2017 AACRAO SEM Conference attendees in “Creating a Strategic Enrollment Plan From the Ground Up.” The following are the steps he suggested:

Ask “what is your goal?” Think about: overall enrollment; enrollment from a specific sector or geographical region; how you want to grow or slow down; net revenue; and U.S. News & World Report ranking improvement. Other goals to think about, as noted by the audience, included: diversity, retention/completion; academic mix; and international student retention. Make sure to have a timetable for completion of plan, Knepfle added.

Ask “what representation do you need?” Consider including: president’s office, diversity and inclusion, faculty, students, financial aid, admissions, CFO/budgeting, student affairs, institutional research, university communications, athletics, and honors.

Choose a team. Tips include: keep the size of the group reasonable and workable; ensure that all interested parties are included; members must be able to meet regularly and be willing to participate virtually or via email when they cannot; ensure all members accept the goals of the group.

Decide what data is needed. Look at: enrollment trends (historical data); comparison data (know where your competitors stand on key metrics); and financial modeling (cost of lab space, faculty members, parking spaces, etc.)

Implement and assess.  Ask:

  • did you meet your enrollment targets? 
  • did you meet your retention targets?
  • has the necessary funding been provided according to your plan’s recommendations?
  • what adjustments need to be made for next year?
  • who needs to know about any changes?
  • is your overall enrollment goal still valid?
  • what are the out-of-the-box ideas?

For further guidance on developing a SEM plan customized to your campus, connect with AACRAO Consulting. Download session handouts with the AACRAO Engage meeting app