A combination of adjusted techniques and preparation has put Bradley in a position to exceed its recruitment goals for next year – if this was a normal economy.
“We’re up in spring visits which is a very high-yielding group,” Vice President of Student Affairs Alan Galsky said. “We are also up in early estimates from FAFSA. These are all very good signs, but no one has experienced an economy like this before.”
As of now, the numbers for applications are up 4.6 percent and admissions are up 20 percent, but tuition deposits are down about 16 percent compared to last year’s enrollment.
Galsky said in terms of applications and admissions, the comparisons are fair. However, when it comes to tuition deposits the economy makes it difficult to compare to past years.
A monetary commitment from a family is difficult to gauge with the uncertainty of the job market and other economic issues, Galsky said.
“The numbers are there to make the plan successful,” he said, “But [choosing a school] has become a tough call for families, especially with unemployment being what it is.”
Galsky also said the economy plays a role in the how cautious people are with their money.
The goal for 2009 recruitment is 1,080 freshmen students and about 300 transfer students.
Galsky said the university will not know for sure if it has hit these goals until May.
The transfer goal may not be met, but Galsky said Bradley has a chance at hitting last year’s numbers of approximately 280 transfer students.
He also said many private institutions face obstacles in this economy when it comes to recruiting transfer students.
“Many students who chose to go to community college are more sensitive to money since they chose not to attend a 4-year college,” Galsky said. “They may not transfer to a private college for financial reasons.”
Although it is not possible to report exact numbers, Galsky said there has not been much negative feedback about financial aid awards.
Prospective students who apply to Bradley are awarded financial aid and scholarships.
According to financial aid phone calls, not many students have said outright they could not attend Bradley because the scholarship was not enough. Galsky said he thinks these are all positive signs.
Director of Admissions Marketing and Communication Tom Richmond said he recognizes the uncertainty of attending college in this economy.
“We began this year aware that the economy would have some impact on college decision making,” he said, “But I don’t think anyone knew how severely the economy would impact our applicants.”
To ensure the target class size is reached, Richmond said the university had to make adjustments to the current programs.
The adjustments include a dedicated out-of-state recruiter, revisions of the student tour program, added visit programs and Web site improvements.
Bradley has also expanded the academics and other options available to students. The addition of a Pre-law Center, a sports communication major, and the Markin Family Student Recreation Center draw students to the university, Richmond said.
Along with these additions, he said the reason he feels Bradley will meet its goals is the university’s commitment to the its mission statement.
“We’ve continued to deliver the quality, personalized education that makes Bradley a great investment,” he said.