Strategic Enrollment Planning FAQs

What is Strategic Enrollment Planning (SEP)?

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.

Why is SEP necessary?

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.

Why is SEP needed now?

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.

How long does SEP take and how is it conducted?

A planning process of approximately nine months (September 2013 – June 2014) will allow adequate time to collect, analyze and utilize relevant data that is required to inform strategies and future direction. We have been underway for just over one month.

What are the consequences of not acting?

Declining quality, diminished reputation, and poor fiscal health.

How would a plan influence institutional decision-making?

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.

What is the planning team’s charge?

To create a strategic enrollment plan that will:

  1. attract students who thrive and graduate in four years;
  2. raise the graduation rate to over 60%;
  3. generate an optimal enrollment mix of first-time, transfer, adult, graduate, non-resident, and international students that sustains each academic program;
  4. broaden the access to a Purchase College education in the 21st Century by responding to market potential;
  5. create new synergies between majors;
  6. enhance institutional effectiveness and fiscal health to ensure sustainability;
  7. prioritize decision-making in the deployment of resources;
  8. strengthen out of classroom and experiential learning.


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.

Have a question? Ask us!

The Planning Process

sep blue.jpgPreparation
(August 2013 - January 2014)

sep green.jpgData-Informed Situation Analysis
(February 2014)

sep ltblue.jpgStrategy Development
(March 2014)

sep ltgreen.jpgAction Plan Development
(March 2014 - April 2014)

sep orange.jpgPrioritization of Strategies and Actions
(May 2014)

sep purple.jpgEnrollment Goal Setting
(June 2014 - July 2014)

sep red.jpgPlan Evaluation and Modification