The University Record, November 12, 1996

U-M will compete with other universities for shrinking student base, Spencer tells LS&A

By Jared Blank

Theodore Spencer, director of undergraduate admissions, addressed the LSA faculty at their monthly meeting last week and discussed the trends he has noticed in the applicants to the University's undergraduate programs.

Of foremost concern in the coming years, Spencer said, is the forecasted decrease in population in Midwestern states. The vast number of colleges and universities in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois will all be competing for students from a shrinking population base. Spencer added that most of the population increase will occur in minority groups in non-Midwestern states.

Because of this trend, schools, including the U-M, will have to work harder to recruit and retain the top students. The first part of this process, he said, is to "do a better job to convince parents and students that going to college is a good idea."

The U-M spends about $800 per student for recruiting. Spencer suggested that his office should focus more on the admitted group of students, to convince them of the benefits of attending the University. He said that his office has already stepped up efforts in this area, including:

Campus visits for admitted students.

Alumni, student and faculty phone calls to admitted students.

Financial aid workshops.

Spencer said that he considered students' graduation rates to be "kind of our report card" for his office. The U-M is second among Big 10 schools, with 94 percent of students returning after the first year, and 83 percent graduating overall. The U-M has the best minority graduation rates among Big 10 schools.

Also at the meeting, the LS&A faculty approved the reorganization of the College Library Committee. The committee's activities were suspended last winter. However, according to the ad hoc committee that suggested the reorganization, "LS&A will need to become more active in formulating and expressing its interests in the Library's operations, budgets and plans" under Value Centered Management.