Bucknell misses target for freshman class

https://nonprofitquarterly.org/small-colleges-face-inflection-moment-and-marketing-isnt-the-answer/

Interesting that Bucknell missed its target by 2% for a selective school. Wonder what happened?

Wow, that’s surprising.

Isn’t it inevitable that something like this happens given that some colleges are over enrolled also? Predicting yield seems more art than science.

The article mentions “the great recession” and how students will bear the burden of the loss of $$ to the institutions. I have been waiting for the discussion of how institutions will now be feeling the “great recession” as “recession survivor’s” children begin to enroll in college. Parents were not able to save during the very long recession the way they might like to have. This is surely affecting choices.

As per the article…the yield game. Some win, some lose.

While colleges will be under pressure due to demographic changes, decrease in international apps, increased discounting, the rise of more-than-adequate online schools, and other reasons, Bucknell enrolling about 18 fewer students (2%) this cycle seems within a normal variance.

Further, depending on level of discounting, Bucknell’s net revenues from class of 2023 might not even be down…and based on this article it does seem like Bucknell attributes the shortfall to not offering a large enough discount/financial aid as compared to peer schools. https://www.chronicle.com/article/Enrollment-Shortfalls-Spread/246341

IMO there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of colleges that are less able and less prepared than Bucknell, with an $850M endowment, to deal with the coming changes and disruption in higher ed.

Now we have China also warning their students. Although will not be an issue for Bucknell as it doesn’t have a large graduate program.

Also, this year Georgetown missed their yield target and class numbers and had to dip into the waitlist.

I think this extended waitlist, delaying transfer acceptance and other forms of trying to manage class and student body as tuition prices keep increasing and making it difficult for parents to cover the cost for their kids

Don’t quite get why Bucknell can’t go to the WL to fill those last few spots.

@wisteria100 they might have not managed it well. High yield at the start might have pushed them to a smaller waitlist. Its a tough game to manage

Is missing the target by 2% really that big of a deal? It seems like schools miss enrollment targets all the time.

I read the first article, not the second. It did not state the enrollment missed the target by 2%. It stated that enrollment dropped from last year by 2%. Bucknell has been slowly increasing enrollment, and the enrollment for 2017 and 2018 were at historic highs. Based on reported class size in the article, the 4-year average new enrollees (2016-2019) still increased this year by .4% over the the prior year (2015-2018), and has increase by 4.3% over the last 5 years.

As a college increases enrollment, they need to manage the speed due to available dorm space.

The response above correct. They didn’t miss the mark!

Target was a growth target meaning they they have been increasing each freshman class the last several years and this year fell a dozen or so kids short after exhausting waitlist. So not really an alarm bell as much as marker to stay focused on closing with students that see Bucknell as their first choice.

Supplemental point - while considering this article also consider the value of transparency. The leadership of Bucknell thrive in part due to their open honest communication with the Bucknell family and broader community of university leaders. As you consider your options in encourage prospective students and their parents to do some homework on outcomes. Does a university share detailed data on outcomes? Bucknell breaks it down my major and employer per student. As detailed as one can get so as to know the strength of the degree and its students after 4 years. If you cannot get details from other colleges you are considering then one must ask why.

If Bucknell, or any school misses its target enrollment, it goes to show you that it is difficult getting into that target range with kids applying to so many schools.

Even waitlist acceptances are no longer the sure thing they used to e. I know too many kids who waitlist jump. Perfectly fine and legitimate but it does cause headaches for AOs. I know one young woman quite well who hopped through 4 schools before settling down at Swarthmore. And parents paid 3 deposits!