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K-State Today

March 21, 2019

Our Strategic Enrollment Management plan: An update

Submitted by Charles Taber and Pat Bosco

Dear K-State Community, 

As we began the fall 2018 semester, we launched the initial implementation of our multiyear Strategic Enrollment Management, or SEM, plan. This plan, focused on taking a new, more student-centered approach to enrollment management, serves as our road map for making changes necessary to recruit and retain a talented, diverse student body while boosting enrollment, net tuition revenue, and student success. Due to the comprehensive nature of the plan, it is necessary that we take a targeted, phased, and data-driven approach to implementation, understanding that it will take time to make and assess progress on all the strategies outlined in the plan.

So where have we been on this journey so far? We mobilized seven task forces and a SEM student advisory group to work with the SEM implementation team and the President's Cabinet and Deans Council to advance key strategies to boost enrollment. The heavy focus for this first year has been on implementing change to impact the fall 2019 and fall 2020 classes and our key enrollment goals for in-state, out-of-state and transfer students. 

Of major significance was the work to put not one, but two, new scholarship and financial aid models in place. Last fall, a new financial aid strategy for recruiting the fall 2019 domestic undergraduate class was designed and implemented for in-state and out-of-state students. This strategy included a phase out plan for the Putnam Scholarships, which will over the next several years allow colleges greater flexibility to target their financial resources to enrollment priorities. Immediately following the implementation of the fall 2019 aid model last fall, work began designing new scholarship and financial aid strategies for the fall 2020 class, which were announced earlier this month. You can find the details online. Of major significance for students is the decision to lower the GPA renewal threshold for most centrally funded academic merit scholarships from 3.5 to 3.0, beginning fall 2020.  

These new financial aid strategies were designed holistically, balancing student headcount with net tuition revenue while recognizing our current fiscal constraints and honoring our land-grant mission. The strategies were also designed to expand K-State's enrollment funnel by creating scholarship opportunities for students in the academic middle. 

Additional progress on the plan this year includes:

  • Implemented revised out-of-state name-buying and treatment strategies and new out-of-state recruitment staffing model.
  • Expanded eligibility for the Midwest Student Exchange Program, or MSEP, for incoming out-of-state freshmen and transfer students in all majors.
  • Launched an application incentive campaign.
  • Implemented an application fee waiver and restructuring of international merit scholarships.
  • Developed/distributed digital media guidelines for both central and college units.
  • Implemented differentiated marketing approaches for regional target recruitment markets.
  • Announced new SEM structural framework to be implemented by July 1 and launched key leadership searches.
  • Began planning an August implementation of the Common Application to increase visibility to out-of-state recruitment markets and streamline the K-State application process for nonresidents.
  • Engaged a vendor to develop a new Global Campus website and best practices website template this spring that can be used across the academy.
  • Submitted a proposal similar to Midwest Student Exchange Program to the Kansas Board of Regents to offer a reduced tuition rate — up to 150 percent — to undergraduate students from Arkansas, California, Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas. 

Additional work is underway this spring on a number of fronts. The colleges and Student Life are working together to optimize yield for the fall 2019 class and build a strong recruitment pipeline for fall 2020. Work continues to optimize college and departmental websites and messaging. 

Working with our Huron partners, we have undertaken an assessment of the Office of the Registrar functions and expect to share the results in the coming weeks. Additionally, current students are being invited to participate in a survey this month regarding their K-State student experience and recommendations for changes to better serve students in the future. We expect to share the results of that work in May. 

With the new financial aid models being put in place, we will be turning our attention to finding better ways to coordinate central and college awards and working with the KSU Foundation on improving our tools to do this. Working with the foundation, we also need to develop a fund-raising initiative to expand funding available for need-based awards and retention grants for in-state continuing students.

Gary Pratt and Jan Elsasser, co-chairs of the Enrollment Management Data, Technology, and Systems Task Force, are leading a needs assessment and selection process for an institutionwide customer relationship management system, or CRM, with the first phase of undergraduate admissions to be implemented in the fall semester.

The Student Success and Transfer Student Task Forces have begun work identifying policies and processes that may impede enrollment and student success. Work continues in the Graduate, Global, and International Task Force to consider a vision for online education at K-State. A project team has also begun exploring our use of the Student Success Collaborative and how we might make better use of it. While we prioritized our work this year in the areas of recruitment, financial aid, and communications and marketing, we expect work to accelerate in all these other areas as we move forward. 

The new approaches we have outlined here are many and represent an amazing pace of change. These changes are just the beginning and are already impacting prospective and current students and parents. As we continue moving forward, we will be able to assess the effectiveness of our changes on recruitment, retention, and student success, and adapt as needed.

We invite you to learn more about K-State's SEM initiatives at the SEM website. Please continue to send your questions and ideas to kstatesem@k-state.edu

Since we began this effort in January 2018, hundreds of you across our K-State community have been involved in our strategic enrollment management work so far — as co-chairs or members of the task forces, project teams, or search committees; as recruiters, advisors, and communicators; as administrators, faculty and staff engaged in SEM work every day.  

The SEM plan and its implementation represent significant, complex change across our university. Change is never easy and we very much appreciate the commitment and resilience we have seen this year as our K-State community advances the SEM work so key to our future.


Chuck Taber
Provost and executive vice president 

Pat Bosco 
Vice president for student life and dean of students 

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