Strategic Enrollment Management Quarterly

Advancing research in enrollment and student success

Editor's Note

Heather Zimar

The higher education community has experienced numerous challenges as it recovers slowly from the recent economic recession and the changing demographics of student populations. The latest issue of SEM Quarterly brings attention to a number of innovative strategies that address financial issues faced by institutions today. Randall Langston and Jamie Schied, of The College at Brockport: State University of New York, provide recommendations for how college and university leaders can use SEM during times of economic uncertainty. Some of the strategies they write about include: institutional resource allocation for research; strategic utilization of CRM; expanding the admissions funnel; and utilizing econometrics and financial aid leveraging. Also focusing on fiscal challenges, particularly at tuition-driven institutions, Kevin Windholz and Jacob Dearmon, of Oklahoma City University, write about shaping an incoming class while maximizing revenue. Their key recommendations include crafting a financial aid communications plan and developing a data analytics approach that models the relationship between scholarship, enrollment decisions, and net revenue generation from an individual student level.

David S. Williams II, of the University of Maryland, College Park, provides a historical review of the federal Pell grant program, and looks at its impact on degree attainment. His research is timely, as the Obama administration considers Pell grants in the discussion of higher education accountability. Williams offers important suggestions for future research that examines degree production at an institutional and state level.

Two other articles in this issue look closely at ideas for improving student services. In her recent article, Susan Leigh, of DePaul University, asks institutions committed to SEM to consider whether they are transferring those core principles to their student services training programs. She explains that SEM has infiltrated institutions’ organizational and business structures, changing services and systems that impact students at multiple touch points throughout their postsecondary education. But as campuses design service models and delivery channels, she suggests they rethink student services training and design service standards with a foundation in SEM. Leigh proposes strategies such as establishing SEM service competencies and certification programs. Her ideas for raising service standards bring opportunity to any campus interested in increasing staff professionalism and improving student services.

In her article titled “Why Ask,” Rachel Rená Maddux, of Virginia Commonwealth University, explains how the questions we ask elicit the answers we need to improve institutional effectiveness and performance—a goal of all SEM practitioners. Describing how her university used student survey data to gain understanding of the institutional environment and student outcomes, Maddux reminds us that student input and research is an important supplement to the statistical analysis of institutional data, and it can change how students are served daily.