As February progresses, many high school seniors will make their final college decisions. Several departments will soon begin calculating next year’s enrollment projections, which will determine to what degree those decisions will affect Augustana.
Several numbers factor into the projections, Vice President for Enrollment Nancy Davidson said, including applications received and the number of students Augustana offers admission. However, Director of Admission Adam Heinitz said the first objective with projections is to make goals for the number of incoming freshmen. After that, a total for international and transfer students is calculated as well. These numbers are compared later in the year to see if the goals were met.
“It’s a long, ongoing process,” Heinitz said.
Heinitz said the goals set by the admission office have been fairly consistent over the past few years. This year, as well as last, he said it hoped to bring in 430 new freshmen, and 75 transfer and international students.
“430 freshman has been a number that has typically allowed us to meet the budget requirements for tuition,” Heinitz said. “It’s been a number that we feel like has been attainable.”
However, that goal fell 25 short with an incoming freshman class of 405. The 2013-20134 school year looks much similar as the 2012-2013 at this point, Heinitz said.
“We’re not in a position where we need to turn students away if they’re academically qualified,” Heinitz said, adding that adverse conditions forced Augustana to drop its goal to 350 this year.
According to Heinitz, the ability of students to search colleges on the Internet dramatically decreases that college’s ability to convince them to even apply. He said if they do not like what they see immediately on the website, they will discard that college as an option. This anonymity necessitates a more aggressive use of technology for Augustana, Heinitz said.
“We’re really focusing on the fundamentals and trying to make that initial connection with the students,” Heinitz said.
Another obstacle with enrollment, according to Davidson, is the inevitable fact that students can only choose one college. While Augustana might receive a large number of applications, many of the students applied to multiple schools and do not choose Augustana, she said.
However, Heinitz said current students also play a large role in the “enrollment domain.”
“To some degree you’re re-recruiting students every year, because they have a lot of choices and we want to make sure they’re having a great experience,” Heinitz said.
According to Davidson, it remains too early to tell what enrollment will be like for the 2013 – 2014 school year. She said since most students cannot make a commitment until they receive financial aid information, the projections come later in the year. Once they are compiled, Davidson relays the information to the administration.
“These numbers become increasingly important as the academic year progresses as the size of the class affects all areas of the campus community,” Davidson said in an email.
Those class sizes and the areas they will affect next year remain unknown until at least May 1, when Davidson said new students are required to pay their enrollment deposit.