University Business October 2017 - 28

ENROLLMENT MATTERS

A transfer strategy can
ease enrollment pressures
Attracting students who have been through the application process before

I

t has become increasingly difficult
for some four-year institutions to
meet enrollment goals for first-year
students. The good news is that enrolling transfers has advantages.
Transfer students generate higher average net tuition revenue than first-year
students but don't create large pressures
on housing. They also enroll in upperlevel courses that typically have capacity.
These benefits should motivate campuses to shift the balance of enrollment
to include a larger portion of transfers.
Typically, transfer students consider
fewer options during the application
process. While first-year students may
apply to many different colleges, transfers typically apply to just one or two.
This means that transfer yield rates can
be as much as double that of first-years
at the same institution. But with yield
rates already high, using financial aid to
increase them further can be a slippery
slope-the end result typically is just
lower net tuition revenue.
Transfers make enrollment decisions
based on credit they can transfer in,
time to degree, the quality of the major
and location. Institutions that successfully enroll transfers know what they
must do to make transfers feel a sense
of belonging.
Make enrollment easy
Given the challenges institutions face
in meeting transfer student enrollment
goals, specific strategies geared toward

UBmag.me/pressure
28 | October 2017

By Jennifer Wick
this population are called for. Below are
examples of best practices. Although not
a comprehensive list, if your institution
isn't following these practices, a review
of strategies is in order. Effective recruitment/yield strategies for college transfer
students include:
* Dedicated admissions staffing.
Transfers should account for 15 to 20
percent of students. Admissions office
resources should be aligned similarly.

Transfer yield rates can
be as much as double
that of freshman rates
at the same institution.
* Reflecting the "transfer voice."
Transfers are looking for specialized
information, and have more familiarity
with the enrollment process. Communications that "speak to transfers" will
be more productive than more general
freshman-targeted messages.
* Timely credit evaluations. Before
they start the application process, transfers appreciate an online, searchable
database of course equivalencies.
* Campus tours geared to transfers.
Include events where students can apply, be admitted, receive a financial aid
award and register all in one day. Students who have been through the process before appreciate this efficiency.
* Tie financial aid strategy to data
analysis. Although transfers are typically less price sensitive than freshmen,
institutions should use historical data
to understand which aid strategies will
produce the best enrollment results.

Institutions team up
Forming relationships with "feeder
institutions" is another way to build a
robust transfer pipeline.
Clark Atlanta University-in an
effort to strengthen academic rigor and
increase student success-is forming
bonds with its two-year college partners,
beginning with Georgia Piedmont
Technical College.
The program, Access 4 Achievement,
includes collaboration at all levels: faculty, student and administration. The
collaboration covers guaranteed admissions, program-specific articulations,
joint credentialing, co-curricular involvement, reverse transfer agreements,
a faculty pipeline program and shared
scholarship fundraising.
"We'll see increased enrollment and
improved student success as a result of
relevant, meaningful support services
and flexibility in program design," says
Michael Marshall, Clark's associate vice
president of enrollment services.
"This partnership expands the pipeline of well-qualified, highly skilled college graduates and invigorates industryacademic relationships," Marshall adds.
Finally, we often see institutions
that execute strong transfer recruitment
strategies, yet the campus does not have
a transfer-friendly culture.
When transfers find it difficult to
assimilate academically and socially,
recruitment efforts will be seen as lacking authenticity and will work against
an institution's enrollment goals as word
of mouth travels.
Jennifer Wick is vice president for consulting services at Ruffalo Noel Levitz
www.universitybusiness.com


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business October 2017

University Business October 2017 - Cover1
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