For those on the frontlines of college business and finance, enrollment math can be cruel.

Higher education institutions—of all types and sizes across the country—are struggling to attract and enroll new students. Nationally, only 34 percent of colleges and universities have met their new student enrollment goals, according to a recent Inside Higher Ed survey of enrollment management leaders. Only 22 percent of public universities met their May enrollment targets, and just only 27 percent of community colleges reported meeting their enrollment goals.

Most bedeviling for institutional leaders is that the causes of enrollment declines are complex—and difficult to attribute to a...

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About the Author:

Josh Lassiter is the vice chancellor for Business and Finance at Elizabeth City State University. Cindy Hewitt is the associate vice president of Program Development for InsideTrack.