Solution to COB’s enrollment decrease

Riley Beckwith, Staff Writer

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With a new marketing strategy and the 4+1 plan, the College of Business hopes to gradually increase enrollment until 2019. Photo by Elizabeth Kerin.

The Satish and Yasmin Gupta College of Business at the University of Dallas looks to revitalize enrollment numbers after a significant decline this past year.

The College of Business dropped from 900 students to 740, due in large part to the recent history of the program.

In 2013, the College of Business began the 30-hour MBA, a decrease from the previous 40+ hour MBA.

Additionally, they announced a price increase would be instituted in 2015, with tuition for the 2015-2016 academic year totaling $1,250 per credit hour for the MBA, MS and Certificate programs, not including additional fees for graduation and matriculation.

As a result, students began to take on more hours and those who were considering the program hastened to join before the price increase went into effect.

“We saw an increase in student population and in revenue at that point,” Dr. John Plotts, senior vice president for enrollment and student services, said.

Now with this influx of students largely completed, Plotts hopes and believes it is simply a low point in enrollment for the College of Business.

The current goal is to maintain the number of students for next year and to eventually increase numbers incrementally to reach 900 again by 2019.

How will this goal be reached?

Plotts believes the location of the university near Las Colinas in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex offers incentives for potential students and strategies for reaching out to and recruiting potential students.

“We have some great advantages,” Plotts said. “There are a lot of Fortune 500 companies [in the area, and] we’ve really stepped up our corporate recruiting.”

This increase in recruiting includes contacting HR departments of corporations and offering to act as the educational provider for employees.

The number of international students has increased rapidly the past few years. International students currently comprise 23 percent of enrollment at the College of Business.

Additionally, a new marketing campaign has been established.

Weekly meetings on the relative successes and failures of various marketing tools help the university admissions team to determine what might interest potential students.

For the College of Business, the target market is working professionals, often in their 30s. This makes its marketing needs different from many other programs the university offers, both at the undergraduate and the graduate level.

The latest tagline focuses on the new building, SB Hall: “Built for Power. Built for Speed. Built for Dreams.”

“Our students like to be finished quickly … they want [their education] to be meaningful … and then to meet their dreams,” Plotts said.

However, the university is not ignoring potential College of Business students amongst the undergraduates they already have. In fact, the university recently held a 4+1 information session to a sizable crowd of 50 undergraduates.

“You can do your four years as an undergrad here and then in a year have your master’s degree,” Plotts said, adding that any major is eligible for the program.

The 4+1 Program also includes programs in the Braniff Graduate School for majors such as English, philosophy and theology.

Last month’s ribbon cutting of SB Hall, which was built with donations from Satish and Yasmin Gupta, is one example of the many measures being taken to ensure the success of the College of Business and to speak to its importance to the overall quality of the university.

The administration hopes that by implementing their suggested methods, the College of Business will market its way back to its former vitality.

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