Haynes Announces Enrollment Goals
NMU President David Haynes held his first campus forum to update employees on enrollment, financial aid and the state legislative process. He unveiled a new enrollment goal of 2 percent growth in each of the next three years.
“That’s 182 students this first year,” he said. “We need to do it in small bites and it will take the campus’ cooperation and support. So talk about it, share ideas, help us find students. We also need to determine how much we grow on and off campus. … We are one of two universities that do not offer programs off campus. In today’s higher education market, that doesn’t work. We’ll be at Macomb Community College this fall and in Grand Rapids. The international market is huge, but we haven’t had much growth. With our new director, we will look at what we could be doing differently to bring students here and to bring NMU off campus.”
Haynes said Brian Cherry (Graduate Education and Research) has put together a new graduate recruitment program in response to graduate enrollment numbers that have “dropped dramatically over the last eight years—I think close to half. We’re going to try to bring that up.” NMU is also working on specialty undergraduate recruiting—for example, exploring the untapped potential of Dearborn, which has the largest Islamic population in the United States.
NMU is working with higher education consultant Noel-Levitz on enrollment. Gerri Daniels (Admissions) said the firms’ recommendations have included the following: defer the application fee for students who complete every other step of the application process in the hope an NMU acceptance letter prompts them to enroll; focus on and enhance personalization using a predictive model based on current data to develop a more strategic approach to communicating with prospective students; further utilize student-to-student outreach; better utilize scholarships; eliminate unnecessary work so admissions counselors spend less time entering data and more time building relationships; and expand campus visit programs.
Mike Rotundo (Financial Aid) said there are efforts to improve the allocation of institutional financial aid. His office is also looking at a Noel-Levitz model for incoming students that looks beyond financial need (the current model) and builds in a benefit for higher-achieving students using a combination of ACTs and GPAs. The Noel-Levitz financial aid model improves the mix of scholarships and grants by addressing awards that have been historically under- or over-awarded. Students with both a high level of need and high academic ability could receive additional funding.
Deanna Hemmila, director of external and corporate relations, reported that Gov. Rick Snyder’s executive budget includes a 2 percent overall increase in higher education funding. Universities must keep tuition increases below 4 percent to receive maximum funding consideration. The amount each institution receives is also based on the performance formula implemented last year, which is based on metrics including degree completion, particularly in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) and health care.
Under the current formula, with tuition restraint in place, NMU would receive a 2.1 percent increase (or $852,400) over last year’s appropriation. This would put NMU in the middle, with increases at public institutions ranging from a low of 0.2 percent for Wayne State University and a high of 5.1 percent for Lake Superior State. The next step is for NMU to give its annual testimony to the House Appropriations Higher Education Subcommittee on Tuesday, March 12, in Lansing.
Hemmila said other issues the university is monitoring include concealed weapons legislation and community college baccalaureates.
“At the end of the lame duck session in December, legislation was passed and signed by the Governor that would allow community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees in four areas,” she added. “The Michigan 15 (Michigan’s 15 universities) lobbied hard against it. There may be constitutional issues related to the community college legislation because it’s believed the Michigan Constitution gives universities the sole right to award four-year degrees. Two weeks ago, new legislation was introduced in the House to approve community college programs in other areas. We’re hearing that’s not getting the same traction the earlier bill was getting. We need to keep an eye on it.”
Another forum has been scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 19, in Jamrich 103. To view the Feb. 21 forum in its entirety, click here.