Trustees raise concerns over expected enrollment

Rhonda Wheeler, News Editor

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Members of the Board of Trustees expressed concerns about enrollment during their meeting Jan. 9 in Indianapolis.

Trustee Ron Romain said that he isn’t comfortable with the results after it was announced that the university is expecting the undergraduate admission to be 4% lower than it was last spring.

“I’m not at all comfortable with results,” Romain said. “I’m not at all comfortable that I understand exactly what you and your team are doing.”

Vice President of Enrollment Andy Wright said at the meeting that the overall headcount was down 2.6%, however they are expecting to see a new record for graduate headcount and credit hour production. The university has already surpassed last spring’s census total.

President Ron Rochon said the quality of student GPA, completion and retention has increased.

Director of Undergraduate Admission Rashad Smith talked to the Shield about recruitment efforts the university is implementing this semester.

USI will still be holding receptions for students to come in and see the university. They began this last year for recruitment purposes. Last year, only students who were admitted could attend. This year, those who apply to attend the university can come to the reception, whether or not they’ve been admitted.

During these receptions, people from campus such as honors, housing, representatives of different colleges, alumni, current students, and their parents will speak about their experience with the university.

The receptions have also expanded. There will be one in Southern Illinois, two in Indianapolis, one in Jacksonville and one for the Evansville community and Western Kentucky.

Other recruitment efforts include a digital marketing campaign. The university will advertise through Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat using direct IP targeting to households.

With this, the university targets a number of students that have previously been attracted to USI.  

The university will also focus more on bringing high school seniors to campus. Smith said that 60% come back to attend USI after visiting.

The university is also working with the College Board this year and using a program called Enrollment Planning Services, which shows students who have taken the SAT, but didn’t put USI as one of their choices.

“Having this ability is something that we haven’t had previously,” Smith said.

Not every college is using this program, so there is a competitive advantage that the university holds.

The Board also approved the Midwest Student Exchange Program, which will help give out-of-state students reduced rates. 

“We feel that this will give us a better opportunity not only to recruit those students but retain them as well,” Vice President of Enrollment Andy wright said to the Shield in an interview last year.

The Board also approved three new honorary degrees for William C. Stone, Mary O’Daniel Stone, and Nataline Coudret.

Bill and Mary O’Daniel Stone will both receive honorary Doctor of Laws degrees. Bill Stone founded SS&C Technologies, Inc in 1986. 

Coudret, dean emerita of the College of Nursing and Health Professions and professor emerita of nursing, will also be receiving an honorary Doctors of Law degree. She was dean of the college for 24 years.