Enrollment projections indicate an increase in enrollment since last semester

Cassie Buchman, Editor in Chief

Josh Norman, associate vice president of enrollment management, told the Council on University Planning and Budgeting current enrollment projections for the spring semester at its Friday meeting.

As the numbers stand now, new freshman are up by about 36 percent from Spring 2017 to Spring 2018. New transfers are up 49 percent. Non-traditional transfer students have increased by 8 percent, with all-new honors student numbers increasing by 22 percent.

There are some slips in new international undergraduates and graduate numbers, but domestic graduate numbers are up for the spring semester, Norman said.

Norman said it is normal for the university to go down in numbers from the fall to spring semesters, but this year, there has been a greater number of overall students enrolled from the fall to spring semester.

He attributes these to the increases in the aforementioned populations of students and dual-credit enrollment.

“We’ll have a greater number of overall students enrolled from fall to spring,” Norman said.

In regards to Fall 2018, the university is at the highest number of freshman admits than it has had in the last ten years.

Though numbers are up, Norman said Eastern still has to continue building its enrollment, not just for fall but also for spring and summer.

“Because we’ve gone through the enrollment decline we have, it takes time to rebuild those classes,” Norman said. “Every freshman class that comes in under goal, that’s a debt that goes into your freshmen, your sophomore and your junior and your senior class.”

Norman said enrollment management is a patience game.

“You have to have consistent results year after year if you’re doing it well,” he said. “We’ve got to do this again and again and again.”

This is why Norman is happy the university is dedicating funds to marketing.

“What we’ve been missing for so long is our influence on our perception,” he said. “(We were able to) introduce a media plan, (so we’re) able to change perception, impact perception and generate awareness of this institution.”

For the past year faculty, staff and students have been working with the Thorburn Marketing Group to do this and also to create a brand for Eastern, which Norman showed to the CUPB.

This brand, which starts with the idea of the university being “All In” for students, involves ads that say Eastern makes an investment in individual students, Norman said.

The ads with this branding have been on 30-second TV and movie theater spots, free mobile applications and on YouTube.

During the meeting, student retention was also brought up.

“It doesn’t matter if they come here if we don’t keep them here,” Norman said. “Our year-to-year retention rates, graduation rates, are well above the benchmarks, but we know we can do better because historically, we can.”


Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].