Tarleton State University (Texas)

Tarleton State University

Enrollment grows in the face of challenges

In 2009, Tarleton recognized it was having declines in the enrollment of first-time college students. Challenges the university faced included forecasted budget cuts and changing student demographics in Texas, a shifting employment market, scarce resources, and increased competition from other inventive higher ed models like the for-profits and MOOCs.
Faced with these challenges, Tarleton’s leaders took on a multi-year strategic enrollment planning project to re-energize and re-organize enrollment management, involving departments including Academic Affairs, Student Life, Recruitment, Admissions, and Marketing. The university now has a solid plan in place for the future, including a diverse array of strategies affecting academics and co-curriculars, pricing and financial aid, campus marketing, student success, and student recruitment.


  • Enrollment of new, first-time students has increased 68 percent since the project began five years ago—from 1,232 students in 2009 to 2,073 in 2014.
  • Retention has increased 2.4 percentage points since 2009, a major accomplishment given the dramatic increase in freshmen.
  • Enrollment of transfer students has increased substantially over this same five-year period.


“Last year was a banner year for us, and it looks like we may top it again this year, even with higher admissions standards.  [Ruffalo Noel Levitz] has provided some very beneficial advisement. When you are trying to find new ideas, it is useful to have someone review your unique processes and situation, see what you’re doing, and identify strengths and weaknesses to move forward.”

“We have continued to maintain a steady growth trajectory despite some changes in leadership here. We are on a good path, but we know we can do even better. As we look ahead to the next cohort, we want to leverage our information to better allocate resources and become even more strategic.”

Javier Garza, PhD

Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management

Case study published with the permission of Tarleton State University.

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