President Schnoor presented a fall 2022 enrollment update for faculty and staff on Wednesday that included a call for change in order to grow enrollment.
Schnoor discussed positive enrollment figures, including a 45 percent increase in degree-seeking graduate students since 2018; the most academically prepared freshman class in 20 years; and an increase in retention to 74 percent.
However, the university also experienced a 6 percent decrease in degree-seeking undergraduate students and 38 fewer freshmen.
Northern must focus on enhancing its growth strategy—and change is needed.
“We will not continue doing things the way we did and expect different results,” Schnoor said.
Mindsets must remain future-oriented, open-minded and entrepreneurial. The Enrollment Management Council is working to develop and implement the SEM plan with consultant EAB. Schnoor also outlined changes that are already taking place, including:
- Focusing Vice President of Enrollment, Communications and Marketing Justin Fraase’s time primarily on enrollment management.
- Pursuing growth across all pathways, with a special focus on degree-seeking students and undergraduate degree-seeking/residential students.
- Deploying data-informed, enhanced, targeted branding and marketing.
- Reconfiguring the website to focus on student recruiting/admissions, which will be implemented by Oct. 7-15.
- Redeploying admissions counselors/assigned regions—tracking metrics.
- Increasing emphasis in Sioux Falls (with a full-time recruiter), North Dakota and Minnesota.
- Implementing a new, test-optional WolfPACT scholarship model.
- Sending Financial Aid award estimates by mid-January.
- Energizing international recruitment.
- Pursuing aggressive transfer recruitment, possibly using a program called Transferology.
- Revamping campus visits and HOWL.
- Continuing to introduce new degree programs to meet regional/state demands.
- Continually updating content of degrees/credentials.
- Completing an academic program review (SEM).
- Starting the Northern Academy, an SDEAF-funded program through which approximately 50 local students will take dual-credit courses on campus.
- Increasing stackable scholarships and NSU Foundation fundraising for 32 Presidents Scholarships.
- Determining implementation of a centralized advising model by Academic Affairs.
- Adding new middle school/high school summer camps and Our Dakota Dreams, which are invaluable recruiting opportunities.
- Exploring residence hall pricing competitiveness and incentives to increase occupancy.
- Engaging campus to look at areas where the university can be more efficient, services could be combined or possibly reductions made, in the amount of approximately $500,000 a year for three years. Schnoor and Vice President of Finance and Administration Veronica Paulson must first determine the gap amount before this process can begin.
What You Can Do
Here’s what members of the NSU campus community can do to help:
- Follow along and contribute to the SEM plan.
- Admissions/Financial Aid: Continue working closely with deans/faculty/staff.
- Admissions/all: Get to know students better to increase application completion/yield.
- Admissions/deans/faculty: Increase faculty visits for prospective students.
- Deans/faculty: Volunteer to accompany Admissions to large recruiting fairs/events.
- Notify Admissions of interested students (northern.edu/inquiry).
- Collaborate on multiple “touches” to increase applications and campus visits.
- Increase multiple “touches” after campus visits to increase registrations.
- Nominate students for campus leadership positions (STARS, HOWL, RAs).
- Help bring prospective students to campus (i.e., Teacher Learning Expo, Camps, etc.).
Fraase will share further enrollment updates in October. To find more information on Northern’s work with EAB and SEM planning, visit: