With enrollment dropping, many colleges are preparing to cut programs and departments to make ends meet. In this Quick Tips! video, Interact CEO Dr. Pamela Cox-Otto shares the three resources to make colleges run and how to better use your resources to boost enrollment and avoid cutting budgets.
Good morning, everyone. I’m Dr. Pam Cox-Otto and this is Interact’s quick tips. I’ve been thinking about something I wanted to share for a while, because as I talk to colleges across the country, one of the things I keep hearing is we desperately need enrollment. So we’re cutting back on PR or other things, you know, and/or for example, we’re cutting back on our foundation, or now’s not the time to build an alumni association. In other words, people are choosing to cut back on things that are not directly related to the classroom. So this is me telling you a couple of things that I hope you’ll pass on to your leadership.
First of all, every single college needs three resources to make it run. You need students, you need money and you need goodwill within the community. Or, you know, you wanna talk trivia, enrollment, foundation and the media. Now, the reason why I’m talking to you about this is I hear lots of places where people are cutting back on their PR teams or their marketing teams, or they’re cutting back on not getting their foundation going, or say, we won’t do major gifts this year, it’s a bad time, or everything that they’re doing is simply focusing on enrollment. Now I get it. You need enrollment. You absolutely need enrollment. However, just because you need enrollment, doesn’t mean you could ignore the other two.
For example, before you start cutting programs and I know you’re looking at that, before you start cutting programs, what if your foundation is exploring the fact that, that program could be underwritten by a professional organization or group of employers that actually live and keep their employees growing out of that program? Right. If I suddenly knew that my number of people that were going to be supporting me in marketing or something was going to dry up because you’re cutting that program, would I be willing to give money? Yes, I would. So one of the things that I want you to think about is before you start saying, we can stop fundraising, we really need to focus on enrollment, is what could fundraising do for you now to underwrite all of those programs? And even in some cases, divisions you’re thinking of cutting.
The other one is PR and marketing. And invariably, the minute anything hits, they take away the marketing money. And then you start having to lose people within marketing because, well, do we really need the social media person? Do we really need all these things? The answer is yes, you do. And particularly if you want to keep the community on board with you, while you’re doing some difficult things like online classes and some face-to-face but not all face-to-face.
In other words, those three elements are the three parts of your chair, your stool. And if you do not, in fact, maintain all of them, you’re going to tip over, because the minute you do something that is less than popular, you won’t have the resources to manage the discussion and the narrative, because you’ve gotten rid of part of your marketing department. And when you start to cut programs, you won’t have additional resources that may allow you to keep that program stronger than you would have before. So, students, money, goodwill really come down to keeping your foundation, your marketing and PR team, and yes, your online enrollment management, very, very strong. Don’t kill two just to keep one afloat.
That’s the tip for today. I hope that’s helpful. Talk to you soon. Bye.