Community college selective enrollment and the challenge to open access

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
David Brian Morris (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Mary Herzog

Abstract: The open access mission is central to the community college role and mission in higher education. Although initially implemented by four-year colleges and universities, adoption of formal enrollment management initiatives in community colleges is on the increase. Admission, matriculation, retention, and persistence are affected by enrollment management policies. Initiatives designed to control enrollment may alter the open access commitment of the community college by limiting access to some students. Enrollment management practices at the community college can include selective marketing and recruiting practices. This study examined the prevalence of selective marketing and recruiting practices at North Carolina community colleges and the impact of such practices on enrollment. Results of the study indicated that about half of the community colleges in North Carolina practice selective marketing and recruiting practices, although to date those practices have had no apparent impact on the demographic composition of the student body. Student demographic representation in enrollment at North Carolina community colleges was statistically significantly different than the corresponding demographic composition of college service areas. Organizational depth of marketing implementation at selective colleges was compared to the demographic composition of student body enrollment. There was no relationship between organizational depth of marketing implementation at selective colleges and student body demographic composition. Study results inform decisions affecting the use of selective marketing and recruiting practices within the context of the open access mission at the community college. Implications for policy and practice include the recommendation to create an enrollment management division at each community college, to streamline use of the marketing dollar, and to increase the use of marketing to influence the decision-making process of internal stakeholders.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2012
enrollment, management, marketing, persistence, recruiting, retention
Community colleges -- North Carolina -- Admission
Community colleges -- Open admission -- North Carolina
Community college students -- Recruiting -- North Carolina

Email this document to