Friday, May 8, 2020

The Coronavirus Enrollment Crash

MAY 8, 2020 | written by STEVE ULRICH
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1. The Coronavirus Enrollment Crash

With unprecedented turmoil over standardized testing, the unmooring of the admissions calendar, and uncertainty around whether campuses will reopen for the fall-2020 semester, enrollment managers and consultants are confronting greater challenges than ever before. How do things look from where they sit? Here’s what they told us.
"What do colleges and dinosaurs have in common? The risk of extinction. Dinosaurs had an asteroid; we have a pandemic. Even before Covid-19, the enrollment market was under duress — too many seats chasing too few students, and too many presidents pursuing growth agendas to balance future budgets. In such a market, victory belongs to nimble institutions that pivot quickly and boldly. One president I work with is doing just that by eliminating undersubscribed majors and identifying new in-demand programs." - Madeline Rhyneer, VP at EAB Consulting

Anyone who speaks with absolute certainty about what fall will bring to campuses is just kidding themselves. And others. Our business runs on historical trends and economic principles. The size of the market of potential college students, the rate of inflation that drives tuition increases, price modeling based on historical data, and the actions of competitors all influence our predictions about the future. But we have no model variable for "pandemic effects." Higher education cannot speak collectively about whether we’ll be Zoom U. or business as usual next fall, or some combination of those. How to manage? I’m going to suggest a novel approach: Consider students and their parents before you consider yourselves. - Jon Boeckenstedt, VP Enrollment Management, Oregon State

"One of the more optimistic responders (to an email poll) indicated that their institution was examining "Best, Expected, and Worse (not worst)" enrollment scenarios. Another (perhaps more realistic) responder said they were considering scenarios labeled "Bad, Very Bad, and Worst-Case." In an April survey, 11 percent of high-school seniors who had planned to enroll at a traditional college said they no longer planned to do so. And if colleges offer only online education this fall, many more may take a gap year or choose a different college. This is one of my greatest concerns. If my institution is forced to teach remotely because we can’t do it safely in person, will students enroll?" - Stefanie D. Niles, VP Enrollment, Ohio Wesleyan

"In every crisis lies opportunity for reinvention. The impact of Covid-19 on higher education is no different. For the past several weeks, we have seen colleges drop standardized-testing requirements, change enrollment deadlines, require fewer financial-aid documents, and cancel deposits. This was done in the spirit of being flexible, sensitive, and student centered. What if we reinvent the college process to make these permanent goals? Colleges should join together to reimagine a process that gives them the evaluation information they need and makes the process less cumbersome for students. - Angel B. Perez, VP Enrollment, Trinity (Conn.)

>> Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education ($)

2. "A DIII Coach Through and Through"

Before becoming a five-time NBA champion as head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, Gregg Popovich began his career at Division III Pomona-Pitzer. (Courtesy: Peter Osgood and Tiago Hammil)

by Matthew Kim and Kellen Browning, The (Claremont) Student Life

"This March, the Pomona-Pitzer men’s basketball team was on a roll.

A miraculous buzzer-beater sent the Division III Sagehens to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in program history — until the coronavirus pandemic brought an abrupt halt to the NCAA’s March Madness and the rest of normal life around the world.

The dominance of these Hens, before their sudden stoppage, would have been unimaginable 40 years ago, when a hapless Pomona-Pitzer squad had just put the finishing touches on a dismal 2-22 campaign.

Leading that team was a 31-year-old rookie head coach by the name of Gregg Popovich, who had jumped at the opportunity to move from assistant coaching at the Air Force Academy to taking the reins of the essentially unknown DIII Pomona-Pitzer.

These days, Popovich, or Pop, is a basketball icon and household name, with five NBA titles as head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, three NBA Coach of the Year awards and the most career wins in league history under his belt.

But in 1980, still at the beginning of his eight-year stint with the Sagehens, he was just another DIII coach trying to figure out how to motivate a group of not-so-talented collegiate athletes at a consortium of tiny liberal arts schools.

>> Reality Check: “Little did I know that their program sucked,” said Popovich, now 71, speaking to TSL by phone from San Antonio as he waits out the pandemic and suspension of the NBA season.

>> The Big Picture: Pop took the job, moved to Claremont and lived with his family in Harwood Court, which still houses Pomona first-years and sophomores. He quickly fell in love with the college’s close-knit academic environment. “I was in awe the whole time I was there, just with the level of professionalism, the level of intelligence,” he said. “I just thought it was an opportunity of a lifetime. I miss it. I always say that I’m faking it as an NBA coach because at heart, I’m a Division III coach through and through.”

>>  Between The Lines: "Before Popovich arrived, he was unaware that Pomona and Pitzer, where athletics took a backseat to academics, didn’t bother to recruit athletes. “I was just so naive — I didn’t think that that was even a possibility, that no one was ever recruited,” he said.

>> Of Note: "(An) anecdote recollects a practice at which Popovich, frustrated with his players’ poor shooting at the charity stripe, had them strip off an article of clothing every time they missed a free throw. “I have no recollection of such things,” Pop said with a laugh. “Fake news.”

>> Worth Noting: "That rivalry (with CMS) has been bigger to me than any rivalry I’ve had in the NBA,” he said. “It’s not even close. Winning or losing to Claremont McKenna was like life and death. If we won, you’re high forever. If you lost, you wanted to jump off the building.”

3.  Pics du Jour

Signs of things to come?

Spanish Flu, Ohio State - Land-Grant Holy Land

Carnegie Mellon on Twitter: "The impact of #COVID19 on Carnegie ...

>> Go deeper: War, fever and sports in 1918 (an Axios Sports Special)


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4.  Fall Plans

From the Chronicle of Higher Education, here’s a complete alphabetical list of Division III colleges that have either disclosed their plans, mentioned them in news reports, or set a deadline for deciding.
From the Chronicle of Higher Education, here’s an alphabetical list of Division III colleges that have either disclosed their plans, mentioned them in news reports, or set a deadline for deciding.
  • Augustana - planning for in-person fall classes
  • Catholic - planning to reopen in the fall
  • Lynchburg - planning in-person fall classes
  • Maryville - “cautiously optimistic” about in-person fall classes
  • Ohio Northern - plans to resume in-person classes
  • Saint Mary's, Ind. - plans to reopen in the fall
  • Scranton - planning for in-person fall classes
as of May 7, 5:52 p.m. EDT

5. Comings and Goings

6.  1 Pool Thing

Have a great weekend.

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