If Enrollment Falls Short, Cutting or Adding Programs Is No Quick Fix

If your institution missed its enrollment and revenue goals this fall (or for the last two or three falls), an obvious question pops to mind: What are you going to do about it?

The Chronicle’s recent survey of small colleges and comprehensive universities, which asked whether they met their enrollment and revenue goals in September, also polled institutions on what their responses might be in case of a shortfall.

To no surprise, making changes in enrollment-management practices and marketing strategies ended up being the most popular fixes. Perhaps admirably—since colleges are major employers in any given community—layoffs were among the least-popular solutions. No one likes to let people go.

But when David W. Strauss, a principal with the Art & Science Group, which does market research and strategic consulting for colleges, looked at the data, he was struck: Many institutions—63 percent of small private colleges and 54 percent of comprehensive colleges—said they would start new programs to attract students. Another significant chunk—24 percent of private colleges and 39 percent of state colleges—said they would consider eliminating low-enrollment programs to deal with shortfalls in students and revenue. <Read more.>

Via Scott Carlson, The Chronicle of Higher Education.