SEM trends: The expansion of enrollment management models

October 1, 2018
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Strategic enrollment management (SEM) has been a driver of many undergraduate institutions in the U.S. and Canada for decades, and the field has been further enriched by the emergence of data-informed decision-making. Recently, SEM concepts are taking a foothold in new and diverse educational settings, such as K-12 independent schools, graduate schools, and international institutions.

Trends: more SEM schools, more SEM professionals
“We’re seeing enormous growth of SEM across a variety of institutions,” said Dr. Jerry Lucido, Executive Director for the Center for Enrollment, Research, Policy, and Practice (CERRP) at the University of Southern California. “For example, there’s a large independent school sector -- both domestic and abroad -- that is in competition with one another and needs to communicate their mission, balance their budgets, understand the nature of the student population and demographics, and other SEM-related concepts.”

Further illustrating this growth: SEM certification programs are growing, along with the enrollment of independent school professionals in such programs.

“Professionals who are developing these skills are likely going to have a broader set of professional opportunities going forward, with the option to work with multiple educational settings beyond undergraduate institutions, including independent and graduate schools,” said Lucido. “There are huge enrollment management challenges and opportunities in China and India, for example, that ultimately may come our way to share experiences.”

“I know AACRAO’s SEM Consulting group has done work in Europe,” added Dr. Don Hossler, Senior Scholar with CERRP. “And I’ve been in contact with someone who did SEM work there and is moving (should be has moved) to a similar role at a Scottish University.”

Ongoing research into the big picture
Hossler and Lucido will lead a session at the AACRAO SEM Conference taking a broad look at the research and practice of SEM at a range of institutions. The presentation will shed light on important SEM policies and practices as well as frame important elements of the SEM research agenda, which may include topics as diverse as:

  • holistic admissions,

  • test-optional,

  • SEM professional development,

  • the impact of relationships with vendors and for-profit entities,

  • organizational alignment between SEM and financial officers, as well as

  • criticism of SEM.

Joining Lucido and Hossler to share their perspective will be three seasoned enrollment managers: Kasey Urquidez, University of Arizona; Matt Ward, California Lutheran University; and Stephanie Dupaul, University of Richmond.

Find out more about the 2018 AACRAO SEM Conference, held November 11-14, in Washington, D.C.