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Creating Reasonable 10-Year Enrollment Projections Supported by Insightful Analyses. Session 43 SAIR 2008 Ed Rugg, Kennesaw State University For handouts & slides, see Professional Presentations at So, What’s Next Fall’s Enrollment Going To Be?.

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creating reasonable 10 year enrollment projections supported by insightful analyses

Creating Reasonable 10-YearEnrollment Projections Supported by Insightful Analyses

Session 43 SAIR 2008

Ed Rugg, Kennesaw State University

For handouts & slides, see Professional Presentations at

so what s next fall s enrollment going to be
So, What’s Next Fall’s Enrollment Going To Be?

We’re typically confident that we have the tools and techniques to answer that question fairly accurately.

and what is it in 10 years
And What Is It In 10 Years ?
  • Did you say 10 years?
  • My head hurts just thinking about it.
maybe we need some help
Maybe we need some help








Bring in a



Here are some new ideas for solving the

projection problem

that were reasonable

and insightful for KSU


analyzing the big picture
Analyzing the Big Picture
  • Identifying patterns in 4 decades of enrollment growth
  • Annual (12 mo) trends in new student intakes and stopout readmissions
  • Compounding effects for continued growth after new intakes level off

40 Years of Enrollment Growth at KSU

37 record-breaking fall enrollments

focusing on the last five years of fall enrollment points sharply upward
Focusing on the Last Five Years of Fall Enrollment Points Sharply Upward
  • Fall-to-fall 12% increases in Fall 2002 and again in Fall 2003 ignited rapid growth
  • KSU’s first on-campus housing opened, & beginning freshmen rose 36% in Fall 2002
  • Total enrollment jumped up nearly 6,000 (42%) from 13,951 in Fall 2001 to 19,854 in Fall 2006, growing an average of 7% per yr
rosy outlooks expect exponential growth
Rosy Outlooks Expect Exponential Growth
  • Traditional-age undergraduates appeared to be booming as new on-campus student housing more than doubled quickly
  • Consultants for the University System predicted huge enrollment gains at KSU by 2020
  • Administrators adopted a rosy outlook for future enrollment growth
upon closer examination
Upon Closer Examination…

a longer historical analysis of enrollment trends tells a different story of slower growth in the future


Four Decades of Growth at KSU

Historical Student Percent

Period Growth Growth

1st Decade 1966-1976 2,197 217%

2nd Decade 1976-1986 4,085 127%

3rd Decade 1986-1996 5,241 72%

4th Decade 1996-2006 7,317 58%

5th Decade 2006-2016 7,000 – 9,000 35 - 45%

growth then and now
First Decade

10-30 new students = 1% increase

Avg annual increase = 13% (mean), 10% (median)

Highest 38%

Lowest 0%

6 double-digit % increases

Fourth Decade

125-200 new students = 1% increase

Avg annual increase = 5% (mean), 3% (median)

Highest 12%

Lowest -2%

2 double-digit % increases

% Growth--Then and Now
growth conditions in fall 2002 2003 were unique
Growth Conditions in Fall 2002 & 2003 Were Unique
  • First on-campus student housing opened in 2002 with upscale 4BR/4BA apartments
  • Post-9/11 recession and high unemployment in 2002 sent older

students back to college at KSU

  • Post-911 psychology of staying closer to home favored this metropolitan university
contrary to wishful thinking
Contrary to wishful thinking…

Percentage increases in enrollment growth over the next decade are likely to continue to decline as they have over the last four decades

upon closer examination1
Upon Closer Examination…

a broader analysis of annual (12 mo) new student intakes points to slower growth and informative insights

a traditional focus on fall intakes fails to account for many new students each yr
A Traditional Focus on Fall Intakes Fails to Account for Many New Students Each Yr
  • 40% of the new student intakes in 12 mos enter KSU in spring or summer
  • Whereas beginning freshmen outnumber undergraduate transfers substantially in the fall, transfers outnumber freshmen over 12 mos
  • The readmission of returning stopouts is very large every term.
undergraduate transfer intakes not growing much

2001-02 2,423

2002-03 3,015 24%

2003-04 2,972 - 1%

2004-05 3,027 2%

2005-06 3,172 5%

2006-07 3,010 -5%

2007-08 3,068 2%

After a big jump up five years ago from 2,400 to 3,000 per year, KSU’s largest component of new student intakes has been sustained at the higher level but without much growth

Undergraduate Transfer Intakes Not Growing Much
beginning freshmen growing some but not consistently

2001-02 2,057

2002-03 2,621 27%

2003-04 2,729 4%

2004-05 2,227 -18%

2005-06 2,653 19%

2006-07 3,013 14%

2007-08 2,908 - 3%

After a big jump up five years ago from 2,000 to 2,600 per year, KSU’s second largest group of new student intakes has fluctuated but been sustained at the higher level with some growth recently to 2,900

Beginning Freshmen Growing Some But Not Consistently
readmitted stopouts are a big group but not growing

2001-02 1,971

2002-03 1,836 - 7%

2003-04 1,802 - 2%

2004-05 1,805 UNC

2005-06 1,844 2%

2006-07 1,684 - 9%

2007-08 1,739 3%

Stopouts (now defined as returning after an absence of six consecutive terms) are the third largest intake group annually and have remained relatively stable at the 1,800 level.

Readmitted Stopouts Are a Big Group But Not Growing
new graduate students are growing modestly recently

2001-02 1,189

2002-03 1,106 - 7%

2003-04 1,079 - 2%

2004-05 1,178 7%

2005-06 1,208 3%

2006-07 1,343 11%

2007-08 1,381 3%

Graduate students are the fourth largest group of new intakes annually, and they have started to show modest growth to the 1,300+ student level in recent years

New Graduate Students Are Growing Modestly Recently
despite dreams of exponential growth
Despite Dreams of Exponential Growth…

None of the four major new student intake groups have had strong and sustained growth trends since 2002-03

so where is enrollment growth coming from
So, Where is Enrollment Growth Coming From?

Each year since 2002-03, larger entering cohorts of beginning freshmen and transfers have replaced older and substantially smaller graduating cohorts creating cumulative growth, despite a lack of intake growth

cumulative growth from returning students
Cumulative Growth From Returning Students

With no cohort growth, most of the impact that each new cohort of beginning freshmen since 2002-03 has on KSU’s growth of the returning student population should end after 8 yrs (5 yrs for transfers)

growth should slow soon
Growth Should Slow Soon

The cumulative growth effects of larger new cohorts replacing smaller graduating ones will slow and end soon if new intake cohorts continue to fail to grow substantially

looking beyond fall s beginning freshmen for growth
Looking Beyond Fall’s Beginning Freshmen for Growth

Develop a 12-pronged recruitment plan for beginning freshmen, undergraduate transfers, readmitted stopouts and graduate students for Fall, Spring and Summer terms

ksu s 10 year enrollment projection from 20 000 in fall 2006 to 27 000 29 000 by 2016
KSU’s 10-Year Enrollment Projection: From 20,000 in Fall 2006 to27,000 – 29,000 by 2016

40-year trends and new student intake analyses for the last five years indicate a slowing average % growth in fall enrollment to between 3-4 % per year for the fifth decade. (Since this projection was formulated, KSU’s fall enrollment growth was up 3.8% in Fall 2007 and 4.1% in Fall 2008).

what will be ksu s 5th decade s encore for another strong uptick in sustained new student intakes
What Will Be KSU’s 5th Decade’s Encore for Another Strong Uptick in Sustained New Student Intakes ???
  • Will more on-campus housing do it?
  • Will adding football do it?
  • Will an economic recession do it?
  • Will an effective 12-pronged recruitment plan do it?
  • Will more programs & faculty do it?



For handouts & slides, see Professional Presentations at