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The Student News Site of Buena Vista University

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The Student News Site of Buena Vista University

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Enrollment numbers down, marketing campaign planned

Madeleine+McCormick
Madeleine McCormick

Madeleine McCormick | News Editor

Buena Vista University overall enrollment numbers are down this year, slightly lower than last year. With a total of 2,115 students enrolled at BVU, 784 are undergraduate students living on Storm Lake campus. According to 2014-15 data sets, BVU is among 15 of 20 private colleges in Iowa with decreasing enrollment numbers.

Although incoming enrollment is down, BVU retained 73 percent of students from the previous year, which is consistent with other small private institutions nationally, according to the National Center for Education Statistics IPEDS Data Center.

Additionally, BVU has exceeded the number of credit hours among online undergraduate and graduate programs with 1,320 students enrolled.

President Fred Moore commented that the diversity among the student population is at the highest level in years.

“We are pleased that the entering class has more out-of-state students, and is more ethnically diverse than in recent years,” Moore said.

Vice President for Enrollment Management Mike Frantz says the decreasing numbers are disappointing; however, he is optimistic about the future of BVU as admissions works to target a larger audience with an improved digital approach.

“On one hand with this digital strategy, we’ll be able to track activity a great deal. On the other hand, it will cloud some of the data, but not in a bad way,” Frantz said.

Frantz explained the digital strategy as such: When an individual searches our BVU site, a web cookie is dropped into the students browser and stored to be used when the individual visits other sites.  These cookies can then be tracked, and University Marketing and Communications can analyze how often someone visits the BVU sites. This will help admissions better target prospective students.

Moore, who is in his last year at BVU, and has announced that he plans to increases resources for marketing before his retirement from position as president. Part of the plan specifically addresses funding the innovative digital outreach strategy.

“Young people live in a digital world. We need to be where they live, and if they spend that many hours online, that’s our entree to be in front of them,” Frantz said.

Moore feels funding a University Marketing and Communication effort targeted at branding push will increase the BVU name on a larger scale. The hope is that the increased awareness about BVU will also increase enrollment to the university.

Currently BVU targets largely to contiguous states like Minnesota, where enrollment has been decreasing, and Colorado, but Frantz says this year enrollment came from the greater Las Vegas area as well, opening up the possibility for BVU to target student athletes in other states.

“The admissions office is trying to go in on the coattails of some coaches who have identified pockets of student athletes to go after,” Frantz said.

According to a recent BVU press release, the school is also now offering six new undergraduate programs, and plans to diversify and add more programs in the next five to seven years.

BVU has also ushered in its first class of TruePromise students with the freshman class of 2016.

TruePromise is an initiative to increase enrollment by promising students who meet qualifications at least one internship experience, earning of at least one major in four years, and a guaranteed job placement/acceptance to graduate school in the six months following graduation.

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