WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY
Winston Salem, NC
Wake Forest University, among the nation’s top 30 research universities, was considering growing undergraduate enrollment. Wake’s leadership wanted to ensure that enrollment growth would not compromise the quality of students choosing the University or the quality of undergraduate students’ academic and personal experience. Another concern was the financial impact of various enrollment growth scenarios.
The first phase of the project involved developing a number of models to predict the cost of various enrollment growth scenarios, in terms of faculty, administrative staff, facilities and net tuition revenue. We also conducted highly sophisticated research with non-inquirers, inquirers and admitted applicants. This research enabled us to develop a predictive model that measured the impact on application conversion rates, yield, student quality, diversity and net tuition revenue of a number of planning initiatives and ideas, including branding strategies and student-faculty collaboration.
The feasibility and enrollment study demonstrated conclusively that Wake Forest was in an unusually strong position to grow enrollment without compromising student quality or diversity. Moreover, the University had the flexibility to make changes in its price and aid to increase net revenue without adverse consequences for admissions and enrollment.
As a result of this collaboration and University planning efforts, Wake grew enrollment by 10 percent, created a new admissions welcome center and built new residence halls. Furthermore, it repositioned itself, based on our recommendations, as the “collegiate university,” an institution that balances the personal attention of a liberal arts college with the academic vitality and broad opportunities of a research university with strong professional schools.