Essentially, student recruitment is an attempt to ‘sell’ your college or university to a student and convince them to purchase your product – their education. But for modern students, higher education is much more than a simple commodity.

Women-only Cambridge college to admit men from 2021 | Times Higher Education (THE)

One of the University of Cambridge’s three remaining women-only colleges will admit men from October 2021, as part of a drive to widen access to the exclusive institution.

Lucy Cavendish College will also abolish its minimum entry age, which currently stands at 21, said Dame Madeleine Atkins, its president.

“We want to make more places available in Cambridge to excellent students from more underrepresented groups,” Dame Madeleine told Times Higher Education. “Supporting underrepresented groups has always been in the college’s ethos – previously we were constrained to just one group that are underrepresented. We’re simply adding more groups to what we’ve always done.”

Dame Madeleine, who joined Lucy Cavendish in October 2018 after serving as chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, said the move would “substantially” increase the number of students at the college. It is primarily a postgraduate institution at the moment, but Dame Madeleine said it would seek to boost both undergraduate and graduate numbers.

The move may prove controversial with alumnae and proponents of women’s education. The college was founded in 1965 by female Cambridge academics who were frustrated by the limited opportunities for women at the institution, and was named after Lucy Cavendish (1841-1925), a pioneer of women’s education.

Before implementing the changes, which were approved by the college’s governing body on 6 March, the college consulted 2,600 alumnae, students and others on the changes. Dame Madeleine said that overall the response was supportive of the changes “provided we kept our ethos of giving opportunity to underrepresented groups”.

“There were, of course, some who felt we should stay women only and we do understand their concerns,” she said. However, Dame Madeleine said the college had worked to explain the changing mission of the university as well as the changing make-up of the college, which has a much lower average student age than when it was first set up. “It’s a very different college in some ways from the one they remembered,” she said.

The change was about “realising that mature women, while still a much underrepresented group, are by no means the only underrepresented group”, Dame Madeleine said.

In December, it was revealed that the universities of Oxford and Cambridge admit more students from just eight elite schools than from three-quarters of all other schools and colleges put together.

Meanwhile, female school-leavers in the UK are now 36.7 per cent more likely to enter higher education than men, a gap that has widened by five percentage points in five years.

The move will leave two Cambridge colleges – Murray Edwards College and Newnham College – as the UK’s only women-only colleges. Girton College, Cambridge went co-educational in 1976, while all five of Oxford’s formerly women-only colleges now admit men.

“There is a certainly an argument we heard that said [that] women graduate and have professional lives in mixed settings and therefore, it’s very important that they are educated here in a co-educational spaces,” Dame Madeleine said. “But one needs to remember, of course, that all teaching at Cambridge is already in mixed groups…Our priority is to provide more places for excellent students from underrepresented groups – that’s in our DNA.”

Enrollment Marketing Has Become Essential for Colleges and Universities

For most colleges and universities, enrollment marketing is a big piece of the student recruitment puzzle – and it shapes their marketing strategy from top to bottom.

The reason: Today’s higher education landscape is more competitive than ever before. Data from a 2015 Gallup poll of admissions directors showed that 58% had not yet filled their fall class rosters by the usual May 1st deadline. What’s more: More than 80% of polled college administrators in that dataset were “concerned” or “very concerned” about meeting their annual enrollment goals.

There are other challenges to factor in as well – like the fact that today’s college student demographic is different from that of the past. Not only are modern students extremely tech-savvy, but their core values are different, too: they think differently about financial aid and put more emphasis on campus-based experience than past generations.

So how are colleges and universities connecting (and converting) prospective students in this increasingly competitive environment? Enter enrollment marketing.

Defining Enrollment Marketing

First: Let’s get on the same page about what enrollment marketing is.

Most define enrollment marketing as a collective strategy used by colleges and universities to attract and engage potential students and their families. It’s similar to traditional content marketing efforts, but different in that its end goal is to convert prospects into students. It encompasses marketing efforts across many different channels and mediums like social media, PPC, radio, email, print, digital, and more.

Think of enrollment marketing as part of a college or university’s sales funnel. The college marketing and admissions department, much like any traditional marketing and sales department, is responsible for driving lead generation, conversions, and ROI for the organization. Enrollment marketing efforts help these teams accomplish their goals with a multi-pronged approach.

An Overview of Enrollment Marketing Trends in 2018

At a high level, data illustrates some important findings on the current state of enrollment marketing. A report from Hanover Research showed that:

  1. Marketing is more important in higher education than ever before. Investments into enrollment marketing are up across the board, and some schools are even hiring external firms or professionals to supplement their brand-building and recruitment efforts.

  1. Digital is on the rise. To accommodate the preferences of the college-age demographic, more colleges and universities are focusing on improving their digital touchpoints like their social media presence, website, mobile marketing and more. Data shows that as of 2015, more students prefer to communicate with campuses digitally (via email) than through traditional direct mail.



Image source

  1. An omni-channel approach is key. Long gone are the days of the direct mail-heavy approach: Today, students need a cross-channel experience in order for marketing messages to stick. That means leveraging email, social, network ads, and more – all working together with a seamless message. Automation helps make this less time-consuming.

  1. Storytelling is important. More institutions are promoting alumni narratives and lifelong learning benefits in their marketing materials to showcase success stories as a form of social proof.

As you can see, there are a lot of commonalities that those in the higher education vertical share with those in a business/customer-facing environment. Both are working to drive lead generation, and ultimately, conversions.

Next, let’s add some context and take a look at how different higher education institutions are using enrollment marketing in their day-to-day work.

How Colleges and Universities Use Enrollment Marketing

Colleges and universities (both large and small) use enrollment marketing in different ways to attract new students. I reached out to a few professionals to see how their school deploys this tactic. From experience-based marketing messages to fostering personal connections through storytelling, they shared some interesting examples.

Building a foundational brand

For some colleges, creating a strong, cohesive brand is an important part of the enrollment marketing strategy. Not only does it help ensure messages resonate across various touchpoints, but it also improves the relevancy of marketing efforts for the target audience.

College marketing content strategist Eliza Anne Green said,

“Experience is shaped by everyone and everything from the freshman RA to the alumni relations office to the food served in the cafeteria. When establishing your brand, colleges have to consider all these areas before finalizing a messaging platform, a logo, a photography style – or even a color palette. This can be a little unwieldy, but it’s a crucial step in order to stay consistent across all marketing from your website to campus tours. Choosing a postsecondary school is a very emotional choice, and having consistency and authenticity woven throughout the organization’s marketing will not only ensure potential students are clear on what to expect from your school, but it will establish trust from every touchpoint.”

Experience-based marketing messages

Many universities are on board with experience-based marketing messages. Because today’s students crave experiences, tying that element to marketing materials improves the odds they’ll connect.

Dawn Marinacci, Marketing Director of Ologie said,

“Members of Gen Z (today’s college student) are significantly different from other generations – and there are big differences among students. We recommend reaching this demographic by thinking about individual attitudes and behaviors, rather than gender, race, or community. Yes, technology is an extension of Gen Z’s identity, but they crave real-life experiences too. Give them a taste of life at your campus on your website and through mailings and digital marketing. Show that variety reigns supreme. Prospective students want to know what their daily life might look like: where they will eat, sleep, learn, and socialize.”

Colleges like Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania are doing just that. Through visual marketing efforts on Snapchat and Instagram (think photos and videos), they help prospective students get a sense of what campus life is like so students can imagine themselves as part of the campus community.

Holly Landis, the Web Content and Social Media Manager for the college said, “Enrollment marketing is a crucial part of our strategy for bringing in new students. As a small school, it’s important that we show prospective students and families what Elizabethtown is all about and how we might be the right fit for them.”

Targeting niche student demographics

Other schools like Wheelock College use targeted campaigns across digital channels like YouTube, Pandora, and Instagram to connect with a specific type of student that’s likely to connect with what the school has to offer.

Jake Wilkenfeld-Mongillo, the college’s Director of Marketing, explained that as a smaller school, one of the things they do well is connect with niche student demographics through storytelling.

“Our marketing has positioned us as a smaller school that is a good fit for students looking for a specialized type of learning experience – and that’s a gift. An example of this is the spoken word videowe promoted on digital channels in which a young female alumni speaks about her path into service.”

“We heard from one student that saw this ad on YouTube that she ended up watching it all the way through – and then immediately scheduled a campus visit,” he said. “It spoke to her.”

Why Enrollment Marketing Matters

We know the what and how of enrollment marketing now – but what about the why? What’s the driving force behind this shift in marketing strategy for colleges and universities? Based on the conversations I had with marketing professionals, there are a few key factors that make this approach important and effective.

Students have a lot of choices

Today, students look at many different options when it comes to different colleges and universities. With the help of digital resources like virtual campus tours, students can easily “visit” more schools than ever before, too.

This means students are aware of their options in a way past generations have not – and there’s more competition overall. It’s more important than ever before for colleges to communicate their value proposition.

Financial aid is viewed differently

Because today’s college-age demographic is more aware of their options about secondary education, it’s shifted their view of financial aid. Many students view it more as an investment, so they want to get the best possible experience and education for their money. Lowest cost is not always the top deciding factor for today’s students, as indicated by the increase in student loans over the past 10 years:


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It’s part of a larger retention strategy

Much like brands in a business setting, reducing churn and boosting long-term customer retention is an important piece of the overarching goals around marketing and sales. Higher education institutions face the same challenges in regard to student retention.

By continuing to build the relationship with students attained from enrollment marketing efforts, they essentially increase the lifetime value of the student by ensuring they complete their four years at the school. This lowers their proverbial “cost per acquisition.”

Enrollment Marketing: A Modern Approach

Across the country, colleges and universities are already on board with enrollment marketing. Much in the way businesses have goals around conversions, ROI, and long-term retention, enrollment marketing is the strategy that’s behind these similar efforts for higher education institutions.

And it’s working: In an increasingly competitive environment, it’s helping them connect with prospective students in new, more meaningful ways – transforming them into eventual alumni.


6 Months After Racist Incidents, UNH Says Campus Diversity Work “Is Just Beginning”

The Memorial Union Building at UNH.

Credit University of New Hampshire

Last May, the atmosphere on campus at UNH was tense.

A video showing a confrontation between students about racist stereotypes on Cinco de Mayo went viral. So did images of students wearing blackface. Swastikas and racial slurs started showing up graffitied on campus. Then, sculptures installed to show solidarity for minority students in the midst of all this were vandalized.

Listen to the radio version of this story.

Altogether, there were close to 100 incidents of bias reported at UNH last year. Three of those reports sparked criminal investigations.

All of it left a bad taste that still lingers for some students like Brennan Donnell.

“I was kind of ashamed to be a UNH student that day, honestly. I mean, I hate Cinco de Mayo because of this but last year, this past spring, especially, it was just…not good.”

And it wasn’t just students who were affected. Julien Kouame is a staff member at UNH.

“It’s not something that I was concerned about, until the student thing happened and I said ‘oh, if this thing can happen to students maybe it can happen to me.’”

In a speech to graduating students in May, UNH president Mark Huddleston said “this is not who we are.” He added that the university would address the issues forcefully.

That effort is now some six months old. And so far a big part of it has been a slew of diversity-themed events on campus.

Credit Jason Moon for NHPR

In October, hundreds of students crowded into a lecture hall for what was billed as a “teach-in” on cultural appropriation – that is, taking on things from another culture without showing an understanding of or respect for that culture.

The event was put together by a group of faculty, including Spanish Professor Scott Weintraub.

“The one event today cannot help to solve anything, but we hope it will be seen as a genuine effort on the part of individual faculty members to respond to some urgent needs for education around diversity and inclusion and for the support of students of color at the University of New Hampshire.”

UNH Women’s Studies Professor Aria Halliday gives a lecture on the history of blackface.

Credit Jason Moon for NHPR

At this event, a handful of faculty gave short talks on topics like the history of blackface and the difference between Halloween and the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos.

They also shared some of their personal feelings about how these issues affect them.

“The word that I’ve come to dread every Cinco de Mayo, every Halloween, and lots of other times around the year – that word is ‘just’.”

Stephen Trzaskoma teaches classical mythology at UNH. He’s also Mexican-American.

“When you put on that sombrero, or that bigote – that mustache, you are tying in to decades and decades and decades of stereotypes of negative portrayals. So when somebody sees you doing that, it is not ‘just’ having fun, or just putting on a funny hat, or ‘just’ doing anything to the person who is looking at you who is connected to that culture.”

Elsewhere on campus, some students, faculty, and staff have been attending training events on how to respond to acts of bias in the moment. There have been panel discussions with law professors about hate speech and free speech. Events have also focused on inclusion for LGBTQ students; on tackling racial and gender bias in STEM fields; on what white people can do to combat racism.

UNH staff and faculty participate in an “active-bystander” training offered by the Granite State Organizing Project.

Credit Jason Moon for NHPR

But are all these events working?

“The likelihood is that individuals who are predisposed to appear in blackface aren’t necessarily taking part in these diversity training issues.”

That’s Rogers Johnson, president of the Seacoast chapter of the NAACP. He’s also a UNH alum and a member of a task force on campus climate that the university created in response to the events in May.

Johnson says UNH is doing some things right –he gives them a grade of C+ overall. But he says the university could be a lot more aggressive, especially when it comes to addressing threatening hate speech on social media – something he and others have seen online.

“There’s a law that says you cannot threaten someone in public, and social media is public. The university should be telling students that if they do that they could be held accountable to the UNH police and then prosecuted by the Strafford County Attorney. Why they won’t send that message out is beyond me.”

UNH says it is reporting any criminal threatening to police. And it says it is working on updating its policies in the student handbook about student speech on social media.

Johnson says he worries that UNH could wind up like another school that recently struggled with racial tensions: the University of Missouri.

UNH has been compiling a list of actions it has taken to address the incidents in May.


A few years ago, huge student protests there about racial discrimination led to the resignation of top university officials. In the fallout that followed, undergraduate enrollment plummeted by more than 35 percent. Seven dorms were closed and more than 400 staff and faculty were let go.

“That’s what I’m worried about. That they’re not careful and they create that scenario.”

UNH officials say they’ve made real progress on these issues over the last several months, and they stress that the work is just beginning.

In March, the task force on campus climate will present its findings to the UNH community. Those will include a set of recommendations on where to go next.

Rising College Tuitions Hurt Campus Diversity

As college tuition continues to rise at a staggering rate, people tend to worry about how much harder it becomes for students and families to pay for college.

As researchers who focus on higher education, we found a different reason to worry.

The longstanding assumption that colleges are adequately preparing students for life and work should be called into question by those who oversee our universities, the author writes. Desmond Boylan/Reuters

Tuition hikes at public four-year colleges and universities over a 14-year period. We wanted to see if tuition increases at public colleges and universities changed the racial and ethnic makeup of students on campus.

What we found is that for every $1,000 increase in tuition at four-year nonselective public universities, diversity among full-time students decreased by 4.5 percent.

In other words, as tuition goes up, diversity goes down. The end result is the nation’s colleges and universities become less reflective of the ethnic diversity of the United States as a whole.

How long does it take for tuition to rise by $1,000 at a given university? A $1,000 hike could happen over the course of only one or two years in some cases. Over the past decade tuition and fees rose by $2,690 at public four-year institutions.

Why diversity on campus matters

The fact that diversity drops when tuition rises at certain colleges and universities is a big deal. For starters, it means that more minorities might choose not to enroll in college and, therefore, forego the economic and social benefits of higher education.

But less diversity doesn’t just affect those who are priced out of higher education. It also affects students who are able to afford college.

A decade’s worth of research shows that more diversity on campus brings numerous benefits. These benefits include a richer intellectual environment that features a variety of different perspectives.

Across 1,800 empirical studies, there is a striking “.” This is particularly the case in relation to students’ exposure to diversity, whether that exposure be in class, through student organizations or even informal campus encounters.

Examining the effects of tuition hikes

Our study looked at both diversity and tuition levels at approximately 600 public four-year colleges and universities, as well as 1,000 public two-year colleges from 1998 to 2012. Diversity was measured by a standardized measure of the likelihood that two students chosen from a college or university at random will differ in terms of race or ethnicity.

Taking all four-year institutions that we examined as a whole, we found minimal effects of tuition hikes on racial and ethnicity diversity.

But things changed when we focused specifically on the least-selective four-year institutions. These are institutions where the average test scores of incoming students indicate that they admit a wide range of students in terms of academic preparation and achievement.

At those those institutions, a $1,000 tuition hike would lead to a 4.5 percent drop in racial and ethnic diversity among first-time freshman. At two-year public colleges, the drop in diversity associated with a $1,000 tuition increase was smaller but still significant at 1.4 percent.

While our study did not directly track where students enrolled, these changes in diversity at public institutions suggest that some students are forgoing a college education altogether.

Ripple effects

We also uncovered intriguing evidence that tuition changes among private institutions within a 100-mile radius has the opposite—and a potentially larger—influence on student diversity at public institutions.

Specifically, what we found is that a 1 percent increase in average tuition and fees at nearby private four-year institutions is associated with a 3 percent increase in diversity among students at four-year public institutions. This suggests that not only could tuition hikes impact diversity at a given institution, but tuition increases at institutions down the street, or in a neighboring state, also affect diversity.

Paying more for less

As colleges come to grips with a rapidly changing landscape, tuition increases should be understood not only in terms of the bottom line, but also in terms of how they might change the overall composition of students on campus.

Whenever tuition rises—at least at nonselective four-year colleges—it not only means students will have to pay more for college. It also means they will have a lesser chance of attending college with someone from a different racial or ethnic background—and a less rich academic experience as a result.

Drew Allen, Executive Director, Initiative for Data Exploration and Analytics for Higher Ed, Princeton University.

Gregory C. Wolniak, Director of the Center for Research on Higher Education Outcomes and Associate Clinical Professor of Higher Education, New York University.

Cal State trustees pick UC Davis campus diversity leader to be San Diego State’s new president

California State University’s Board of Trustees has appointed Adela de la Torre the new president of San Diego State, reflecting a push by the nation’s largest public university system to diversify its top campus leaders.

De la Torre, who is currently the vice chancellor of student affairs and campus diversity at UC Davis, is the ninth woman appointed as permanent Cal State president under Chancellor Timothy P. White. She is the first woman to serve as San Diego State’s president and replaces Sally Roush, who has led the campus on an interim basis since last summer.

The appointment of Roush, and now De la Torre, mark the first time that more than half of Cal State’s 23 campus leaders are women. Trustees on Wednesday agreed to give De la Torre the same $428,645 salary — the highest of any Cal State president — as her predecessor, Elliot Hirshman.

Trustee Adam Day, who chaired the search committee, noted De la Torre’s diverse experience in higher education and vision for San Diego State, one of the system’s most high-profile campuses.

“Adela is a skilled, student success-focused administrator and, most importantly, is a visionary leader,” he said. “She emerged from a deep pool of candidates as the perfect person to lead the university.”

De la Torre, 63, joins the 35,000-student campus at a time of significant growth. Under Hirshman and Roush, San Diego State raised its profile as a major public research university and moved up 43 spots in U.S. News & World Report’s college rankings among national universities — reaching 140 on the most recent list.

De la Torre also inherits a number of challenges facing the university, including the divisive debate over whether the school should keep its Aztec mascot. Pressure to enroll more students continues to be a sticking point. San Diego, along with five other Cal State campuses — Fresno, Fullerton, Long Beach, San Jose and San Luis Obispo — are so popular that every major and program has had more qualified students applying than can be accommodated by faculty, staff and campus resources.

The university recently unveiled an expansion plan that includes a new stadium and classroom and research facilities.

Hirshman, praised for raising more than $800 million for scholarships, began addressing many of these issues in a new strategic plan for the university.

In a statement Wednesday, De la Torre said she admired San Diego State’s “robust and dynamic variety of academic offerings taught by world-class faculty” as well as its “commitment to serve a brilliant and diverse population of students.”

“I am excited to join the vibrant university community,” she said. “I look forward to meeting and working with faculty, staff, students, alumni and supporters to further the SDSU mission.”

De la Torre will be coming from UC Davis, where she has served in various roles since 2002. She chaired the university’s Chicana/o studies department and, since 2004, directed the Center for Transnational Health. As the vice chancellor of student affairs and campus diversity, she oversees 28 departments and numerous student programs and services.

She is also familiar with the Cal State system, first as a professor of healthcare administration in 1988, and later as chair of the Chicano/Latino studies department at Cal State Long Beach.

From 1996 to 2002, she directed the Mexican American Studies and Research Center at the University of Arizona.

De la Torre joins a number of women appointed in recent years to lead a Cal State campus: Ellen N. Junn was selected in May 2016 to lead Cal State Stanislaus. Gayle E. Hutchinson and Erika D. Beck were named that March to lead Chico State and Cal State Channel Islands, respectively, and Mary A. Papazian and Judy K. Sakaki were selected in January 2016 to head the San Jose and Sonoma campuses, respectively.

Cal State, which educates more than 484,000 students, previously had come under criticism for a gender imbalance in top leadership. White said that after he became chancellor in 2012, retirements gave him the opportunity to start to change that.

These recent appointments have had a ripple effect by encouraging more women to apply for leadership positions, he said. That, in turn, has created a larger pool of women who are qualified for top jobs at Cal State and elsewhere.

De la Torre holds a bachelor’s degree in political economy of natural resources from UC Berkeley, as well as a master’s of science and PhD in agricultural and resource economics.

She will join the San Diego campus on or before June 30, administrators said.

1:20 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from De la Torre, additional details about her background and information about Cal State’s appointment of women in leadership roles.

This article was originally published at 9:05 a.m.