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ECSU preps for 'Promise' students

091917Althea Riddick

Althea Riddick

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Elizabeth City State University is overhauling its enrollment management system in anticipation of a surge of new students next year as the N.C. Promise tuition discount is rolled out.

N.C. Promise will offer in-state tuition of $500 a semester -- the General Assembly indicated it wanted the university's educational opportunities for undergraduate students to be available as nearly free as reasonably possible — and $2,500 a semester for out-of-state students.

Althea Riddick, the university's interim associate vice chancellor for enrollment management, told the Enrollment, Student Servives and Academic Affairs Committee of the ECSU Board of Trustees at the committee's meeting last week that the enrollment management processes need to be streamlined and updated in advance of the Fall 2018 implementation of N.C. Promise.

"We have to fix this system before the floodgates open," Riddick said.

Enrollment management covers both recruitment of students and the related processes that enable students to enroll successfully and arrive on campus ready to begin classes.

Many of those functions need to be improved and some are broken and in need of repair, according to Riddick.

For that reason, "enrollment management is under renovation," Riddick said.

Riddick said the Enrollment Management Office is implementing a 'back to basics' approach.

The approach includes:

— more direct mailings to parents and students

— more phone calls

— more one-on-one interaction with students and parents

— more recruitment travel sooner and throughout the year

— more financial aid awards earlier in the recruitment and admission cycle

— more sharing of information regarding admissions and recruitment with faculty, staff and alumni.

"Those phone calls are very important," Riddick said, explaining the office will use alumni and current students to help make calls.

Riddick said the university needs to align processes to make them efficient and effective in bringing students on board. She told the trustees that a number of employees are being brought on to work in specific areas related to enrollment management. For instance, the university is going to bring on a transfer recruiter to work specifically in recruiting transfer students, she said.

Two other very important positions that need to be filled are director of financial aid and director of admissions, Riddick said.

Trustee Tony Hornthal said he appreciated hearing that phone calls are being returned promptly. It's important in any business to return phone calls and email messages promptly, Hornthal said.

Trustee Jan King Robinson, who chairs the Enrollment, Student Affairs and Academic Services Committee, said she appreciated Riddick's report and the detail with which she addressed the issues.

The board needs to recognize the great work that has been done, Robinson said.

Riddick said the school emphasizes in contacts with prospectiive students, "we're small enough to make some difference in students' lives.”

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