Since the mid-90s, Bradley has seen a significant shift in the number of out-of-state students from having 40 percent in the late 80s to the current 14 percent enrolled this semester.
Because of this low percentage, Bradley has decided to regenerate interest to students outside of Illinois.
“Beginning last year, we have refocused some of our priorities with particular interest on the east and west coast,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Alan Galsky.
He said some of the focus has been on the Northeast region and on the state of Florida. A goal to reach the same percentage from the 80s has been set for the next few years. In order to achieve this goal, Bradley has hired a recruiting counselor solely for the east coast to recapture the interest from these regions. A second recruiter has been hired to target the west coast as well.
The interest in out-of-state recruiting is based on two reasons, Galsky said. The first is to be a nationally recognized university and a significant number of out-of-state students is needed to achieve this.
The second is from an educational perspective, as students will need to learn how to interact with others from outside of Illinois since the workplace will include people from every area of the United States.
One of the main methods Bradley uses to decide which state to focus on is by a student search program which is used by several universities.
“We buy names of perspective students who could be interested in Bradley,” Galsky said. “We’re looking for a profile that will be most likely be interested in attending a private university.”
The money to fund the search is generated from areas such as the history department to the student affairs department. A search initially begins with key things in looking for the potential student. For example, Bradley may want to search for a student who is interested in attending a private university and has an interest in history and it expands its focus from there.
Galsky also said with the unique majors Bradley has to offer, such as sports communication, the university hopes to attract prospective students outside of Illinois.
Freshman nursing major Rachel Kranz from St. Louis chose to attend Bradley because of the nursing program.
“Most colleges do not admit freshmen into the nursing programs until their sophomore year, while Bradley admits you as a freshman,” she said.
Galsky said special financial incentives are given for students to come to Bradley from out of state.
“Right now it is given to the Midwest states,” he said.
One of the special incentives is “The Neighbor State grant” of $4,000 which is offered to students who come from the Midwest region to attract potential students.
Kranz and freshman journalism major Amber Stoneking from Lisbon, IA both said one of the reasons that influenced their decision was because of scholarship offers they received to come to Bradley.
“It was definitely a plus,” Stoneking said.
Galsky said significant progress in the number of students from the border states has been made. However, Bradley does not want to lose the geographical diversity from the east and west coast.
“A sustained, committed effort is needed to ensure this,” Galsky said.