Certainly not a badly as they’d like you to believe it has!
Certainly not as badly as they’d like you to believe it has!
During these tough economic times, everybody wants to save their pennies; colleges are no exception. Almost all colleges are halting their large projects, but some colleges believe the smaller cutbacks will most likely prove most influential on the future of college life. The following – reported in the New York Times – serves as proof that the little things really do add up.
There is nothing unaffected by the economy, and that includes admissions offices. Depending on the need policies in place and the amount of a college’s endowment, a college has to make some tough decisions about admissions. Even when schools are need-blind in regular admissions, they are sometimes need-aware when it comes to transfers. In the case of international students, they are under no obligation to award financial aid so some people believe that those students might be at a competitive advantage (especially with colleges seeking geographic diversity). As far as admissions departments themselves, they may well see slashes in budgets, which could mean less mailing and less travel. Fortunately, the use of social media has become more prevalent, allowing colleges to stay in close touch with the market.
Absolutely. Travel budgets have been cut, meaning less school visits made. Applications numbers may have increased, but the number of staff to read them hasn’t. Those expensive glossy brochures are quickly being replaced by social media sites and the web. Some offices have had to scale back their accepted student day festivities. Other schools have felt the pressure to admit students who don’t require as much financial aid. The recession is being felt everywhere on campuses.
Oh, of course. I’m only coming at this from the standpoint of an independent consultant (I haven’t worked in admissions since before the recession), but it’s not too hard to do a bit of inductive reasoning and come to some (admittedly not-so-nuanced) conclusions:
In recruitment, the economic downturn has forced colleges and universities to do more with less. Admissions offices, like all higher education departments, are expected to keep budgets as trim as possible. However, with development officers struggling to replace endowment losses, colleges rely more heavily on enrollment for annual operational budgets. Some strategies that colleges have employed: tuition increases, reduce tuition discount rate, shifting to a financial “need aware” admission process, adjusting in-state and out-of-state enrollment targets, and using scholarships to improve student enrollment.
Like pretty much every aspect of our society, the college admission process has been impacted by the recent economic downturn. However, it has not had as large an impact as many think. Indeed, there have always been variations in how different schools have treated the admissions and the financial aid processes, and while the financial side of things have certainly been impacted by the recent economic difficulties, the fundamental approach of admissions offices have not really changed. A few schools that were pursuing wholly need blind admissions policies have had to pullback from that approach given reductions in their financial aid budgets coupled with greater needs, but beyond that the economy has not fundamentally altered the admissions landscape. Ultimately the changes that have occurred—admittedly changes that can impact significantly the decision that an applicant makes–have occurred less in the admissions offices than in the financial aid office, but of course, in the end, they are part of an interconnected process.
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