BHSU is taking a number of steps to improve recruitment and retention with a goal of reversing a declining enrollment trend. As you know, tuition and fees are the primary funding source for the university so stabilizing and growing student credit hours is essential. The following is an overview of the initiatives currently underway as we move forward with our goals of increasing enrollment, enhancing retention, and stabilizing the budget.
A first initiative was to immediately address low retention rates that have fluctuated in recent years but have remained lower than our peers. A Retention Task Force was identified and this group has been working diligently to make a set of recommendations on improvements and changes that should be made to enhance retention of first year students (freshman to sophomore). Currently retention for this group is 65%; the recommendations are intended to improve retention to at least 70%. I’ve asked for this group’s recommendations by early January.
BHSU has also retained the services of Ruffalo Noel Levitz (RNL), a well-known higher education consulting firm, to create a long-term Strategic Enrollment Plan that will improve enrollment and retention. Among RNL’s initial recommendations were to conduct a Student Satisfaction Survey to measure overall satisfaction and priorities of current students. The survey is underway at this time.