St. Lawrence has enjoyed a solid reputation as an exceptional liberal arts institution in a major, traditional Northeastern marketplace and, over the past decade, has more than doubled its applications for admission, significantly increasing its selectivity. At the same time, demographic projections have shown that the pool for qualified students is shrinking because of competition and a shift to other geographic locations. We must cast a wider net to find the next generation of Laurentians. The “new norm” in a sustainable financial model must also be understood to mean a “new critical mass” in St. Lawrence’s enrollment planning.
We will search for new markets where we can recruit more high-achieving students of means or lower need while continuing to provide access to students with higher need and working to contain or reduce student debt. We will continue to review our enrollment and financial aid strategies to improve revenues from tuition while recognizing that our students’ ability to “afford the opportunity” is vital to our future.
We will gradually increase undergraduate enrollment with these considerations in mind, and continue to review and assess its impact each year. As we grow, we will maintain our deep commitment to enhancing quality and diversity in all its forms, including enrolling first-generation, North Country, and international students. We will improve and expand related campus services, including ensuring that faculty and staff are properly resourced and students are properly supported. And we are committed to maintaining a student-faculty ratio no higher than 14:1.
We will explore adding programs that can grow revenue while supporting our mission and making better use of our facilities throughout the year. This may include, for example, creating graduate and second bachelor’s degree programs, adding online and life-enrichment courses, and expanding our summer programming, as well as offering “alumni colleges” for study and travel.
As we reach out to new areas and work to recruit more students from existing markets, it will become increasingly important to communicate effectively our significant “added value.” We will work to clarify and communicate the characteristics that make St. Lawrence stand above its peers: academic excellence, education for critical life skills, and deep and meaningful student relationships with peers, professors, and staff leaders. We will demonstrate this value of a St. Lawrence education by effectively telling our story through a comprehensive communications and marketing plan. The plan will be creative, proactive and strategic in increasing awareness and raising the reputation of St. Lawrence.
- Implement a new admissions plan targeting expanded national and international markets for prospective students.
- Increase undergraduate enrollment by 160 students, adding 40 a year, starting with the Class of 2015.
- Review and develop new financial aid strategies to help meet need while decreasing the discount rate.
- Continue to increase off-campus learning opportunities and better market them to current and prospective students.
- Examine adding or expanding other programs to meet student and prospective employer needs, to help market the University, and to provide additional revenue while being mindful of opportunities for better use of facilities year-round.
- Launch a comprehensive communications and marketing plan by summer 2012.