Can a focus on R&E double your enrollment?

Texas A&M University’s College of Engineering is working on an ambitious initiative called 25 by 25, with a goal of almost doubling enrollment to 25,000 students by 2025. “When Dean Banks came on board, she put some aggressive plans in place, including 25 by 25,” says Ed Pierson, chief information officer at the college. “She laid out a great plan for us to focus on student retention and to expand and enhance our program to better suit today’s students.”

Better communication = higher retention
Current retention is around 60 percent; Dean Banks wants to bring that up to 75 percent by focusing on students who transfer out of engineering to other colleges within A&M. The first step? Determining why students were changing majors.

“A lot of it revolved around a simple misunderstanding of the various types of engineering,” says Pierson. For instance, lots of students were not sure of exactly what a particular branch of engineering did so they may have selected a major that really didn’t fit them well, and that could cause them to transfer out of engineering.”…Read More

College enrollment expected to slip over next decade

With the oldest population in the country, leaders at the University of Maine system have been aware for the last several years that they would need to make changes to keep their classrooms full, Stateline reports. They’ve focused on boosting enrollment in distance education, increasing transfers and coaxing adults who haven’t completed their degree to return to campus. That’s required campuses to change how they do business, providing more advising support for returning adults and working more actively to recruit transfer students and streamline their enrollment. The early results have been promising. Enrollment was up for both those targeted students and traditional students this fall. But officials know their work is far from over.

“This enrollment shift is not expected to get much better for a long time,” said Rosa Redonnett, the chief student affairs officer for the system…

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Hispanics surpass blacks in college enrollment

Hispanics surpassed blacks in 2010 to become the second-largest racial or ethnic group of young adults in America’s colleges, according to a new analysis of Census Bureau data, the Washington Post reports. The number of Hispanic college students ages 18 to 24 rose by a remarkable 24 percent in one year, to 1.8 million, according to a report released Thursday by the Pew Hispanic Center. The federal Current Population Survey found 7.7 million white college students in that age group, 1.7 million black students and 800,000 Asian Americans…

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Rapid growth in online instruction could wane, study says

Growth in online instruction has stemmed from existing programs, not from new initiatives.

Enrollment in online college classes grew by more than 1 million students over the past year, and while a new study shows that more educators think online instruction is equivalent in quality to face-to-face classes, fiscal pressure and government regulations aimed at for-profit schools could curb the online-learning spike, the study says.

As it did in 2009, Babson College’s annual survey of online education in the U.S. showed that more Americans are turning to flexible online college courses during tough economic times, when college enrollment typically rises.

The million-student increase marks “the largest ever year-to-year increase in the number of students studying online,” said Elaine Allen, co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group and an author of the research.…Read More

Report: Degrees for young blacks, Hispanics flat-lining

Minority students have made gains in recent years, but African-American and Hispanic enrollment has stagnated.
Minority students have made gains in recent years, but African-American and Hispanic enrollment has stagnated.

The number of college degrees earned by Hispanics and blacks in their 20s and 30s has stagnated over the past decade, according to a report on minorities in higher education that claims today’s college-aged students are no better educated than Baby Boomers.

The report, “Minorities in Higher Education 2010,” was released Oct. 20 by the American Council on Education (ACE) and cites statistics gathered across higher education starting in the late-1990s. The report highlights a persistent “racial/ethnic gap” in colleges and universities despite minority gains.

The minority college enrollment stagnation is “a troubling development that will impact the ability of the country to compete in a global marketplace,” the report says.…Read More

Jump in U.S. college enrollment highest in 40 years

The nation’s colleges are attracting record numbers of new students as more Hispanics finish high school and young adults opt to pursue a higher education rather than languish in a weak job market, reports the Associated Press. A study released June 16 by the Pew Research Center highlights the growing diversity in higher education amid debate over the role of race in college admissions and controversy over Arizona’s new ban on ethnic studies in public schools. Newly released government figures show that freshman enrollment surged 6 percent in 2008 to a record 2.6 million, mostly owing to rising minority enrollment. That is the highest increase since 1968, during the height of the Vietnam War, when young adults who attended college could avoid the military draft. Almost three-quarters of the freshman increases in 2008 were minorities, of which the largest share was Hispanics. The enrollment increases were clustered mostly at community colleges, trade schools, and large public universities, which tend to have more open admissions policies and charge less tuition. Still, the gains in minorities were seen at almost all levels of higher education, with white enrollment dipping to 53 percent at community colleges and 62 percent at four-year colleges…

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Universities look toward data to stabilize enrollment numbers

Data mining could be one way Kansas officials address a decline in student retention.
Data mining could be one way Kansas officials address a decline in student retention.

University of Kansas officials are considering working with a data-mining company to pinpoint strategies to keep students enrolled after a recent report showed that 28.7 percent of freshmen from the fall 2007 semester have left the campus.

Five months after University Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little formed a task force that would examine ways to increase student retention and graduation rates, task force members say they might enlist the help of Virginia-based data mining company Starfish Retention Solutions, which works with 14 four-year colleges, seven two-year campuses, and two K-12 school systems.

Starfish’s retention program helps campus decision makers weed out data that identify at-risk students with consistently low grades and spotty attendance records who are not engaged in campus activities.…Read More

Spike in online enrollment not surprising to many

Three-fourths of public colleges and universities believe online courses are "critical" for long-term success.
Three-fourths of public colleges believe online courses are "critical" for long-term success.

The 2009 Sloan-C report on online education confirmed what campus officials have seen during the country’s economic downturn: Americans are flocking to web-based classes.

The seventh annual study, based on responses from more than 2,500 colleges and universities and funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, reported a 17-percent increase in online course enrollment, with more than one-fourth of U.S. college students taking at least one web-based class during the fall 2008 semester.

Three-fourths of campuses with online programs said demand increased over the past year, and two-thirds of colleges that don’t offer web courses said students had requested online learning.…Read More

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