Enrollment Management Must Build for the Future, Experts Say

Enrollment management has become more challenging and more important in the wake of the recession and as colleges stand on the precipice of sweeping demographic change. That’s what Don Hossler and David H. Kalsbeek argue in an update to an essay on enrollment management they wrote five years ago.

The original essay traced the rise of strategic enrollment management, or SEM. Mr. Hossler, a professor of educational leadership and policy studies at Indiana University at Bloomington, and Mr. Kalsbeek, senior vice president for enrollment management and marketing at DePaul University, wrote about how enrollment managers use their expanding portfolios to balance their colleges’ competing priorities.

Today “the issues are becoming more complicated, not less,” Mr. Hossler says. Presidents don’t all have to be enrollment-management experts, he says, but they do need to make sure they have someone who is at their cabinet meetings. That ensures that when the senior team starts pursuing one goal, say increasing revenue, there’s a person at the table to remind team members of how it will affect the achievement of other goals, like enrolling more low-income students.

In the updated essay, the authors suggest that the “S” in SEM could now stand for “sustainable,” as officials weigh whether their pricing and other strategies will be able to carry their institutions forward.

Enrollment managers will be judged on how this year’s class shakes out. But they also must be careful not to “achieve today’s success at the expense of tomorrow’s students,” Mr. Kalsbeek says.

The new essay, “Enrollment Management and Managing Enrollments: Revisiting the Context for Institutional Strategy,” appears in the inaugural issue of SEM Quarterly, a journal that is published by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers and is free to its members.

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