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Strategic Enrollment Plan Ensures Stability

Students in the studio

Declaration Day celebrated new Vols in style.

For the seventh year in a row our incoming freshman class has increased in size.

This growth has been purposeful. Our Enrollment Management team knows that planned growth is important to maintaining a stable student population and contributing to the financial health of our university.

Vice Provost for Enrollment Management Kari Alldredge and her team, in consultation with Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Chris Cimino, University Strategy Advisor Serena Matsunaga, and me, are working on the framework for a five-year strategic plan that facilitates continued growth of our undergraduate population.

The plan projects the number of incoming freshmen, transfer students, and Volunteer Bridge students we want to recruit each year. It also outlines our strategic priorities, which include recruiting the best and brightest students from Tennessee, increasing our out-of-state enrollment, and increasing the number of international and minority students we bring in.

Determining how many students we need to enroll each year is part of a larger formula that takes into account new student enrollment, retention, and fiscal considerations.

The more students we graduate, the more we must enroll to keep our population stable or growing. We must look at the total number of students we have, the makeup of our student body across classes, the money we spend on merit- and need-based scholarships, and the money we need to reinvest in scholarships to support our enrollment goals.

Demographics are also key. Much of the nation is seeing a declining number of high school graduates, which means we’re competing with other colleges and universities for a dwindling group of students. This population is also diversifying, with the Hispanic population projected to grow at the highest rate.

All of these factors require continual adjustments in the way we recruit students—the cost of recruiting students, the messages we use to attract students, and the support systems we need to have in place for students when they arrive.

Our end goal is to keep the enrollment equation balanced to keep our classes filled, our residence halls full, and our university thriving.

Other news from Enrollment Management:

  • D’Aloisio arrives—Fabrizio D’Aloisio joined us as assistant vice provost for enrollment management and director for undergraduate admissions this summer. He began his career as an admissions counselor and spent the past 15 years working at the College Board, a nonprofit organization that administers the SAT and the Advanced Placement program along with other college-readiness programs. “He’s very strategic and takes a data-driven approach to recruitment and decision making,” Alldredge said. “He also understands the importance of the student experience and attracting good-fit students to our campus.”
  • Declaration Day—The first-of-its-kind event celebrated the May 1 college confirmation deadline with the same sort of excitement that Athletics generates when announcing newly signed athletes. The program, hosted by Tennessee Titans announcer Mike Keith, was broadcast live online from UT’s Ray and Lucy Hand Digital Studio. Nearly 840 people watched it on YouTube and more than 3,470 watched it on Facebook Live. “We hope it builds momentum and excitement for prospective students,” Alldredge said. “The team is already excited about ideas to celebrate our new Vols at the May 1 event in 2018.”
  • Volunteering with the Vols—For the second year, we encouraged students and alumni to join forces in a series of community service events in 14 cities around the country over the summer. About 238 people joined in the fun. Not only did these events provide participants with great networking opportunities, but they also underscored what it means to be a Volunteer. We will be expanding the program this fall with events coinciding with UT football away games.
  • VIP Experience—We will be hosting a new series of events for prospective students in nine out-of-state markets this fall. High school students will be invited to learn more about UT. Events will be held in Florida, California, and New Jersey, as well as Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, and Washington, DC.