Board of Trustees Meeting Packet

CENTRAL WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY Board of Trustees October 29, 2020 Executive Summary - Strategic Enrollment Management Plan Update

It has been an unprecedented year in college enrollment, nationwide. Five months ago, national projections suggested a 15-20% decline in overall enrollment due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. During spring quarter, we prepared for a 5% decline in overall enrollments. Official enrollment counts occur on the tenth day of the quarter, after students have had the opportunity to add and drop classes, etc. This census indicates CWU began the fall 2020 term on target with 11,110 graduate and undergraduate students, a drop of 597 students (-5.1%). These figures include students with admit types of first-year, transfer, post-baccalaureate, re-admit, and graduate. These downward trends are not unique to CWU: the latest report from the National Student Clearinghouse reveals an enrollment decline across the nation, with the largest declines in first-year students. Additionally, community colleges are experiencing a decline of over 9%, which is alarming, as this sector typically experiences an increase enrollment during a recession and high unemployment. However, there are a few bright spots in fall 2020 enrollment: • Traditionally Under-represented Student Groups (TUSGs) did not experience a disproportionate decline in enrollment. This is a significant achievement as early figures indicate a significant national decline in TUSGs this fall due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. And we experienced an overall growth in African American/Black students, Alaska/Native American students, and Asian students. • Although the most significant decline was in new first year and transfer students (3292 in fall 2019 vs 2741 in fall 2020), nearly 300 new students deferred to a future term . • Retention of 2019 first-year students is the same as the prior year, at approximately 71% . This rate is strong considering the traditionally lower retention rates associated with online coursework. • Graduate enrollment grew by over 100 students (20%) , the largest increase of any admit category. • Increased outreach and engagement efforts across the university are paying dividends. For example, the investment in a modern Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system just over two years ago has supported multiple campaigns. Since the launch of the CRM system, we have sent over 220,000 text messages to prospective students, applicants, new students, continuing students, and stop- out students. These campaigns, and the ability to send text message “nudges” have contributed to a 12%-increase in re-admit student types, enrolling nearly 500 students this fall in this category. • CWU experienced a record year in new first year and transfer student applications, with nearly 15,000 total applications (12,400 in fall 2019 vs 14,862 in fall 2020). In addition, this is our most diverse applicant pool, with over 52% TUSG. Although applicants did not yield into desired enrollment targets, these figures provide a positive indicator that Central continues to be a destination of choice.

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