Whitworth University is a small, private Christian institution nestled against the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. The university has close to 2,600 undergraduate students and 400 graduate students.
In the 2022 U.S. News & World Report rankings, Whitworth is number four overall among regional universities in the west, number two for best value, number six for best for veterans, and number 10 for best undergraduate teaching. Impressively, 84 percent of undergraduate students finish their degree in four years.
Even with these brand strengths, Whitworth struggled with enrollment volatility.
Enrollment Volatility + SEP + Partnership = A Path Forward
Whitworth partnered with RNL to launch a campuswide Strategic Enrollment Planning (SEP) initiative. University leadership was drawn to RNL’s systematic, data-informed process that identifies, evaluates, prioritizes, and implements strategies to increase enrollment for traditional undergraduate, adult undergraduate, and graduate students.
With its brand equity and deep internal resources, Whitworth was ideally positioned to expand enrollment by bringing new programs to the market. University leadership took a collaborative approach, asking for stakeholder ideas.
Identifying key strategies for reaching goals
Faculty and staff identified over 80 potential strategies, and of these, Whitworth developed comprehensive action plans for 24, ultimately recommending the following 12 for implementation:
- Two new doctoral programs
- The expansion of three master’s programs
- A new undergraduate academic program
- Expansion of a retention initiative serving underrepresented students
- Four market development strategies
- A marketing effort focused on Whitworth’s value proposition relative to top public competitors
Exceeding enrollment and revenue goals
Whitworth projected and realized modest enrollment gains in its first year of SEP implementation and exceeded its larger enrollment and revenue growth goals in the second and third years of its plan.
Most significantly, Whitworth has embraced the need for focused, ongoing, data-informed implementation of new programs and initiatives that boost enrollment.
Let’s talk about reaching your enrollment goals
We can help you reach your enrollment goals with any student population—undergraduates, graduate students, online learners, adult students, and more. Contact us today to ask for a complimentary consultation.