An organized effort to connect our mission, current state, and changing environment to long-term enrollment and fiscal health, resulting in a concrete, written plan of action (Noel-Levitz Inc., Strategic Planning: A Dynamic Collaboration, 2012). Although enrollment planning has taken place at Purchase, efforts have been piecemeal and have not adequately taken into account the rapidly changing external environment.
Many observers have remarked that higher education has become highly competitive and is quickly evolving. Long gone are the days when demand fueled by rising numbers of high school graduates outpaced available seats in the higher education market. Today, low-cost, online providers compete, side-by-side with traditional institutions whose security in the market place is no longer assured. Purchase College is not immune from this landscape. Demographic shifts, a rapidly changing economic environment, growing accountability for improved retention and completion rates and changing learning modalities make enrollment planning an imperative if Purchase College is to sustain high quality programs that attract and graduate our best students.
Purchase is uniquely positioned to rise to these challenges given the compelling nature of our mission as well as the ability of our faculty and staff to continuously engage and support the creative process.
There are many reasons. The number of high school graduates is dramatically decreasing across the country. Graduation rates are expected to decline by 12.8% between now and 2021 in the northeast. A substantial change in the mix of college bound populations is another factor, with projected increases in underprepared and financially disadvantaged students. These conditions will make more difficult the goal of enrolling a diverse cohort of students that will be academically successful in a college that does not offer developmental courses and requires a senior thesis.
The future enrollment mix will also be more diverse. New students will come from a greatly diversified stratum: the mix will include more international students; it will include more students of color and students who sit on a more polarized continuum of academic and cultural differences. All of these factors will create new opportunities to consider and will define the enrollment mix of Purchase College.
Declining quality, diminished reputation, and poor fiscal health.
Strategic Enrollment Planning is collaborative work that will adapt the college’s distinctive high-quality curriculum for the 21st Century’s coming generations of students. It will assist us in maintaining academic and artistic excellence while being true to our character as a learning-centered public institution with high impact pedagogies, committed to student success, and attentive to changing student demographics and needs. In particular, strategic enrollment planning will advance institutional retention and graduation goals, and drive us toward a more data and assessment-informed, adaptable, and sustainable program mix, building on the institutional mission and using existing areas of programmatic strength to appropriately allocate resources as we provide a rich arts-infused liberal education for an increasingly diverse student body.
To create a strategic enrollment plan that will:
Planning will involve stakeholders from across campus and support our commitments to shared governance, collegiality, and transparency.
The plan will be driven and inspired by mission, informed by budgetary and cost concerns, and strengthen niche markets for Purchase College.
The plan will encourage entrepreneurial thinking and invite creative investigation of new possibilities.
The plan will build on the Strategic Plan and contribute to institutional assessment.
The plan will respond to a range of evolving external factors, including (but not limited to) the number of graduating high school seniors; shifts in state and other external funding; the influence of alternative deliveries in meeting the needs of high achieving, non-traditional, Purchase College students.
Online and international education will grow in importance in broadening access to a Purchase College education.
The senior project will become a nationally recognized characteristic of a Purchase College experience.
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The Planning Process
(August 2013 - January 2014)
Data-Informed Situation Analysis
Action Plan Development
(March 2014 - April 2014)
Prioritization of Strategies and Actions
Enrollment Goal Setting
(June 2014 - July 2014)
Plan Evaluation and Modification