BYU-Idaho’s Strategic Enrollment Management team, which includes statisticians and data strategists in the office of Institutional Planning, recently met with President’s Council to discuss how to better accomplish the purposes of “Core Theme 3: Reach—Serve as many students as possible within resource constraints.” This group also addressed one of the university’s correlated strategic priorities to “manage enrollments while considering Church-demographic share and student behaviors, strengthen year-round school, and develop a concurrent enrollment program.”
BYU-Idaho is always developing and refining projections for what enrollment numbers for upcoming semesters may look like. The university’s tracking tools can identify warnings early on to prepare in advance and make necessary course corrections for the incoming students.
One of the university’s ongoing concerns is balancing student enrollment across all three tracks and year-round. To achieve a balance the university is making a concerted effort to increase enrollment in the spring semester and continue to build a framework for the summer session.
“We hope summer session will provide opportunities for students to earn additional credits toward graduation while enjoying wholesome social and recreational opportunities this region has to offer,” said Strategic Enrollment Management/Concurrent Enrollment Officer Tyler Williams.
After the COVID-19 pandemic forced the university to move to a fully remote semester last spring, the 2020 Summer Session set a new enrollment record, with a total campus and online students enrollment of 2,081, a 35 percent increase from the previous year.
As BYU-Idaho adapts to the changes in student population each semester, the university focuses on maintaining its continuing student enrollment. The primary goal is to support students, especially during their first year of college, help be and feel successful, and continue through the end of their first year.
Using GPA data, academic advisors identify struggling students and help them find resources that might help them succeed. Faculty members are encouraged to use the mentoring dashboard in I-Plan to identify students in their underperforming courses and reach out to these students with personal contact. The Student Success Council is exploring new interventions to help struggling students succeed academically.
Additionally, the university aims to upgrade its process for “no-show” students to ensure that current enrollment data is always accurate. Students who fail to submit a deferment for their assigned semester are counted as a “no-show” and must reapply to BYU-Idaho or contact the Admissions office to request their enrollment status back if they wish to take classes again in a future semester.
“Over the past couple semesters, the university has made efforts to identify and reach out to students who may be at risk of becoming a ‘no-show,’” Williams said. “Students who intend to enroll in the next available semester are then invited to complete a deferment form to keep their active student status. This also helps us to identify how we can help struggling students to be successful when they resume classes.”
Concurrent enrollment of high school students doubled from 2019 to 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the university waived the ACT and SAT requirements, allowing more high school students to enroll. The total number of Fall 2020 enrolled students without the ACT/SAT was 318 compared to the previous year of only 5 students.
Moving forward, the university plans to improve the concurrent enrollment program by increasing access to the program and its courses while continuing to provide reduced tuition costs. The university also strives to create strong relationships with high school administrators and Church leaders to encourage concurrent enrollment applications.
“Efforts to build relationships with high school leaders throughout our region are yielding more inquiries about the program from students and their families, leading to increased applications from those high schools with whom we have a strong relationship,” Williams stated.
As the university learns and adapts to the unique times we live in, the Strategic Enrollment Management team will review its 2021 enrollment plans for prospective, continuing, and concurrent enrollment.
“We are constantly looking at how we need to adapt to the needs of all our students to help them succeed and persist to graduation,” Williams said.