Metro State’s increasing popularity, evidenced by enrollment increases each year since 1988, can’t be accommodated at its current rate. There’s simply not enough room, or staff, according to Associate Vice President for Enrollment Services Judi Diaz Bonacquisti.
In fact, applications for spring 2010 are up 46 percent over this time last year. So, the College has had to develop a strategy to manage enrollment growth until the campus has more classroom space, which will happen when the new Student Success building is constructed and the office and classroom backfilling created by moves into the new building is complete. The goal is to grow at 6 percent during the remainder of the current year and limit enrollment growth to 0.5 percent per year after that, until more space and resources become available.
Bonacquisti anticipates that future enrollment increases will come primarily from retention. “We are more interested in students going more full time and increasing our FTE, not just headcount,” said Bonacquisti. “This fall we had 7,897 state-funded FTEs at census date. Target growth for this is only 40 more FTEs for fall 2010.”
To aid with the enrollment strategy and control new student growth, the College will once again have an earlier application deadline. The application deadline for the spring semester is December 15.
The consistent increases in new student enrollment are due to the stellar recruitment efforts by the College, according to Bonacquisti. In an Oct. 7 presentation to the Academic and Student Affairs subcommittee of the Board of Trustees, Director of Admissions and Outreach Elena Sandoval-Lucero reported on a number of these efforts conducted over the past year:
-102 college fairs, with an 8.5 percent increase in fair attendance over last year
-189 campus tours, representing a 17 percent increase from last year
-186 high school visits
-The Excel Program, in which current Metro State students serve as student ambassadors and provide onsite services to students at 15 diverse area high schools. The expansion of this program was the top recommendation of the Hispanic Serving Institution task force.
-Transfer student recruiting, including weekly visits to a number of area community colleges and a number of other efforts. Metro State remains the college of choice for transfer students in Colorado; 68 percent of the graduating class of 2009 had transferred here.
-Adult and community outreach efforts
“Admissions is key to our enrollment strategy, but it is only one piece in the student continuum,” says Bonacquisti. “With three times as many current students as new students coming in, we need to assist our students to be as successful as possible and help them return each semester until they finally graduate.”
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