TO:                  Dr. Bruce Riley, Chair, Faculty Senate

FROM:             Adrienne P. Loh, Chair, Committee on Academic Policies and Standards

RE:                   Fall 2004 enrollment and Admissions criteria report

DATE:             June 2, 2005

 

Pursuant to the Faculty Senate charge issued to CAPS on September 13, 2004 to

“Report on the Fall 04 enrollment: Determine if enrollment targets were met, and review the admission criteria used in the selection of the cohort, and Review enrollment targets and admissions standards for Fall 2005”, and

after discussion at 9 out of 15 CAPS meetings, and after consultation with Kathy Kiefer, Director of UW-L Admissions, Diane Schumacher, UW-L Registrar, Robert Hoar, Faculty liaison to the Processes Sub-group for Enrollment Management, and Teri Thill, Director of Institutional Research,

the CAPS report is as follows:

 

Part A: Report on Fall 2004 Enrollment Numbers

1.       UW-L was successfully within 1-2% of target for total Fall 2004 enrollment (Table 1).

·         Actual enrollment (7999) was 1% under target of 8075 FTE students (as of tenth day enrollment count, 9/21/04).  In terms of headcount, actual enrollment (8513) was 2% under target of 8685 students.

·         By comparison:

¾     UW-L’s range in attaining targets was –3.2 to +3.4% over the period spanning 1991-2004 (sometimes purposely over for financial reasons).

¾     UW-System’s range over the same period was –2.2 to +1.8 %.

2.       Recruitment of students new to UW-L met with mixed success (Table 1).

·         Admission of new freshmen students (-2.8 %) was near admission targets (compared to 2003 enrollments, which were 2.6% below target).

·         The deficit in new freshmen was made up for in large part by an over-target enrollment of transfer students (+14%); this over-enrollment was significantly elevated versus 2003 (+4.8% in 2003).

·         New graduate admission targets were more noticeably off-target (-26% as compared to –19% for new graduate enrollments in 2003).

 

Table 1: New and Transfer Student Enrollment (headcount) by Category*

Category

Target

Actual

Deviation from target

 

 

 

number

%

New Undergraduates

 

 

 

 

Freshman

1590

1545

-45

-2.8

Specials

80

84

+4

+5.0

Total New UG

1670

1629

-41

-2.5

 

 

 

 

 

UG Transfer

300

342

+42

+14.0

 

 

 

 

 

New Graduates

 

 

 

 

Program

145

108

-37

-25.5

Specials

45

28

-17

-37.8

Total New Grad.

190

136

-54

-28.4

        * As reported by UW-L Institutional Research Office, 9/21/04


 

3.       Retention of UW-L students met with mixed success (Table 2).

·         Continuing freshmen enrollments were above target.

·         All other undergraduate classes had below target continuing enrollments.  The majority (76%) of the continuing undergraduate student deficit is accounted for by a loss of seniors (4.9% under target).  This is to be contrasted with F03 figures, which indicate a surplus enrollment of continuing students of 3.3%, and a 6.4% surplus of continuing seniors.

·         Undergraduate reentry admissions were above target.

·         The decline in continuing students contributed significantly to the deficit in total student enrollment for Fall 2004.  While the continuing student deficit may be a manifestation of increasing enrollment in new non-degree programs such as pharmacy, 3+2 engineering programs, etceteras, CAPS feels it is an issue worth further investigation.

 

Table 2: Continuing and Reentry Student Enrollment (headcount) by Category*

Category

Target

Actual

Deviation from target

 

 

 

number

%

Undergraduate

 

 

 

 

Freshman

339

356

+17

+5.0

Sophomore

1605

1573

-32

-1.2

Junior

1481

1456

-25

-1.7

Senior

2340

2225

-115

-4.9

Specials

89

92

+3

+3.3

Total Continuing UG

5854

5702

-152

-2.6

 

 

 

 

 

Reentry (UG)

110

139

+29

+26.3

 

 

 

 

 

Graduate

 

 

 

 

Program

467

452

-15

-3.2

Specials

13

53

+40

+307

Total New Grad.

480

505

+25

+5.2

        * As reported by UW-L Institutional Research Office, 9/21/04

4.       Non-resident student enrollment was well below target.

·         F04 target: 59 originally, later raised to 63. 

·         F04 actual: 48 (-15 students or –24%)

·         Future F05 target: 75 students.

Part B: Analysis of Enrollment Numbers and CAPS Recommendations

1.       Announcement of enrollment targets to Admissions.

Over the last several years, admissions targets have been delivered to Admissions (Nov-Dec. 2004 for F05 enrollments) for or modified (March 2004 for F04 enrollments) at dates that are past the time when Admissions can be most effective in recruiting the best and brightest students to campus.  As a result, seats have been filled using the population (transfers) that is available at a late date.  This policy is harmful to the UW-L campus, especially in light of increasing enrollment targets.  Therefore,

CAPS strongly recommends (9/0/0) that enrollment targets be delivered to Admissions no later than October 1 of the target year.

 


 

2.       Admissions criteria for new freshmen.

The elimination of the EM21 enrollment plan has resulted in recently elevated enrollment targets.  The distribution of new freshmen by Admissions Priority over the last 10 years is shown in Figure 1. CAPS has discussed the current Admissions Priority guidelines and their impacts on the application pool, and offers the following observations:

·         In Fall 2003 and Fall 2004, Priority 2 admissions increased from 72 students (2002) to 127 students (2003,4), with a concurrent drop in Priority 1 admissions from 1348 (2002) to ~1000 (996 in 2003, 1143 in 2004).

·         Fall 2005 targets are more than 200 students above Fall 2004 targets, and projections for Fall 2006 and beyond remain in the ~1700 range.

·         The Admissions office literature includes only Priority 1 guidelines; no mention is made in the literature of the Priority 2 guideline category, nor of any wait list policy.  However, in filling seats for F05, a large percentage of Priority 2 applicants were admitted in order to fill seats.

·         In recent years, Priority 3 admissions have increased significantly.

While CAPS offers no official recommendation, a great deal of discussion centered around either adjusting Priority guidelines or ceasing to publish Priority guidelines at all and moving to a “UW-Madison model” in which statistics on accepted candidates are published instead.

Figure 1:

3.       Success of transfer students.

While it was not the specific charge of CAPS to evaluate the likelihood of success of transfer students (versus new freshmen), CAPS felt that this was a worthwhile discussion to pursue in light of the increased reliance on transfer students to fill seats in 2004 (and possibly 2005).  The data in Table 3 summarizes three different measures of success for new freshmen by admissions category, and for transfers by number of credits at transfer.


 

Table 3: New Freshman and Transfer Measures of Success for 1994-2003 Cohorts*

Measure

Freshman

Transfers

Admissions Status

Priority 1

Priority 2

Priority 3

< 18 credits

> 18 credits

Graduation Rate (%)a

 

 

 

 

 

4 year

26

22

15

16

48

5 year

55

48

32

25

56

6 year

61

40-61b

39

29

57

 

 

 

 

 

 

Average GPAc

2.5®3.1

2.0®2.8

1.8®2.7

1.9

2.4

 

 

 

 

 

 

Average % on Probation d

3

4

10

30

18

* UW-L Office of Institutional Research, 4/15/05

a: Per cohort; 4 year rate is through cohort entering 2000, 6 year rate is through cohort entering 1998.

b: Rate increased steadily from 1994-1998.

c: Average term GPA for first Fall, Spring, and second Fall semesters. The freshman average increased from 1994®2003.

d: Percent of cohort placed on probation during their first year.  The freshman values are from 2003; freshman rates decreased steadily for all three categories but the ratios by Priority remained roughly constant.

Based on these results, CAPS makes the following observations and recommendations.

·         Students who transfer to UW-L with > 18 credits of coursework appear to perform as well as if not better than freshmen admitted under Priority 2 guidelines, with the exception that they tend to be placed on probation more readily in their first year.  However, the 4-6 year graduation rates are fairly steady, suggesting that once this class of transfer students adjust to this campus, they perform adequately.

·         Students who transfer to UW-L with < 18 credits perform more poorly than Priority 3 freshmen, with very low 6-year graduation rates and a very high percentage on probation in the first year.  Therefore,

CAPS recommends (8/1/0) requiring completion of 18 credits or more for transfer to UW-L.

4.       Non-resident enrollments.

There was no “official” non-resident enrollment target category for admissions until this year (F04).  The drive for non-resident students has been largely due to EM21, where fewer students were to be enrolled and thus the greater tuition paid by non-resident students would help to offset the tuition losses from a reduced student body.  An increased non-resident enrollment also has the benefit of increasing diversity.

However, UW-L has been less and less successful at recruiting qualified non-resident students to campus.  As shown in Figure 2, there has been a significant drop (by almost half) in non-resident Priority 1 admissions starting in 2001, with non-resident Priority 2 admissions dwindling to almost none, and a rise in non-resident Priority 3 admissions by a factor of 3-5.  Fall 2004 non-resident admissions were almost equally split between Priority 1 and Priority 3 students, and yet UW-L was still 24% under target.

The non-resident target for F05 is higher than the F04 target, yet UW-L has been below target in non-resident enrollments since 2001.  The under-target enrollments carry significant financial penalties for this institution.

As shown in Table 3, Priority 3 admissions students have significantly lower rates of success at UW-L than Priority 1 or 2 students.

Figure 2:

While the fiscal and social motivations for increasing non-resident enrollments are significant, the poor success of Priority 3 admissions clearly indicates that academic standards are being compromised in an effort to bring in non-resident students, and that there is an increasing tendency to bring in underqualified students to meet increasing non-resident targets.  Therefore,  

CAPS recommends (6/0/0) that non-resident students be subject to the same admissions standards used for all other incoming freshmen.

CAPS further strongly recommends (6/0/0) that the non-resident targets be re-evaluated to be more realistic.

xc:        Deans of colleges:

                        Dr. Michael Nelson, Dean, CSAH

                        Dr. William Colclough, Dean, CBA

                        Dr. Rick Mikat, Interim Dean, EESHR

                        Dr. John Mason, Dean, CLS

            Dr. Elizabeth Hitch, UW-L Provost

            Kathy Keifer, Interim Director of Admissions