First fall forum focuses on enrollment, links to budget

By Staff

It takes an estimated 40,000 student contacts to get 15,000 responses that move through application, acceptance and enrollment of a UCCS freshman class of 1,100 to 1,200 students, according to Homer Wesley, vice chancellor for student success and enrollment management.

Wesley demonstrated what he called a "recruitment funnel" during the first forum of the fall semester on Tuesday, Aug. 31. The funnel illustrated the arduous process of casting a broad net of interest to enrolling the strongest freshman class possible.

"I want to thank everyone for their hard work," Wesley said. "Our numbers appear to be strong. A freshman class that we believe will have 1,150 students is something to celebrate. I simply want to say that it takes the effort of everyone to make those contacts and to maintain those relationships through enrollment and as a student continues toward graduation."

Enrollment was a central theme to the first fall forum and is a key component to the university's budget. Final enrollment figures will be available Thursday, Sept. 9.

Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak said she is confident UCCS will surpass its 3 percent enrollment growth target.

"We are stable," Shockley-Zalabak told a group of about 90 in the University Center Theater. "We are not affluent. We can meet the challenges ahead but it requires the work of everyone in this room and that of those who are not here."

Martin Wood, vice chancellor of University Advancement, outlined marketing plans to support enrollment. Plans call for mailings to all Colorado high school students and to selected students living outside of Colorado. There also will be radio, newspaper and limited Denver-based TV advertising. Wood also used new campus banners as illustrations of efforts to boost campus pride and provide a welcoming atmosphere.

Shockley-Zalabak and Brian Burnett, vice chancellor of administration and finance, reviewed budget projections made last spring and updated the group on actions including Senate Bill 10-003, which provided flexibility for tuition increases and requires submission of plans for coping with a 50 percent reduction in state funding following the withdrawal of federal stimulus monies. The withdrawal of federal stimulus funds often is referred to as a funding cliff for the university.

Burnett and Shockley-Zalabak reviewed budget cuts made during the past two years and projections for tuition and fees paid by students, and revenue from auxiliary enterprises, and restricted-use funds such as grants, contracts and gifts.

"In all areas that we control, you see the numbers going up and to the right," Shockley-Zalabak said. "The one area we don't control is state support. I want you to see how real this is and that our collaborative planning has prepared us."