University Business January 2018 - 52

OUTLOOK 2018
SUPPORTING
STUDENTS FROM
ADMISSION THROUGH
COMPLETION
Admissions, enrollment, marketing, retention
and financial aid administrators surveyed
generally have a sunny outlook about
the student population in 2018-with 62
percent anticipating an enrollment increase.
International student enrollment is in a less
positive place, however, with only about
one-quarter of the 92 respondents expecting
an increase this year. Regarding the online
student population, 47 percent believe
2018 will experience an increase, and many
institutions are investing in technology to
boost teaching and learning from a distance.
Both healthy and struggling enrollment
institutions are focusing on services and
supports to help students succeed. One
respondent, at an institution where enrollment
was down significantly in 2017, noted that new
programs and increased services for at-risk
students are now in place to help the situation.
Admissions and access-related services
and supports-including those related to
campus visits and financial literacy-will
be getting the most attention at institutions
in 2018. More than half of respondents are
prioritizing each of these areas. (In a separate
UB survey of college presidents, chancellors
and provosts, admissions services came out
on top in terms of 2018 service priority areas.)
Special supports for adult, first-generation
and international students are also a big
focus at a significant number of institutions.
However, "about the same priority" was the
most popular answer for these areas, and
nearly 1 in 10 are pulling back on adult and
international supports.
Modest upticks in retention and completion
are anticipated at many of the institutions that
participated. Graduation rates should increase
modestly at 55 percent of respondents'
schools, and retention rates should increase at
43 percent of the institutions.
Sixty-two percent of respondents work at
institutions with less than 5,000 students.

LOOK AHEAD AT RETENTION AND COMPLETION
Graduation rate expectations
2018 compared to 2017

1%
7%
7%
37%

Will increase
significantly
Will increase
modestly

55%

Will stay
the same
Will decrease
modestly

Overall retention rate expectations
2018 compared to 2017

4%

4%

Will increase
significantly
Will increase
modestly
Will stay
the same

48%
43%

Will decrease
modestly

SURVEY INSIGHT:
ENROLLMENT DECLINE RISK

Nearly 3 in 4 presidents, chancellors and
provosts surveyed separately by UB say
enrollment declines have the greatest
potential for causing institutional harm in
2018 and beyond.
Source: UB survey; all numbers have been rounded

52 | January 2018

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