Transfer enrollment up 33%

By Glenn Battishill

Newsweek might think that Ashland University is one of the least affordable schools in the country but that hasn’t stopped enrollment from increasing this semester. The biggest increase comes from transfer students, whose numbers have increased by 33.7 percent.

“It’s the biggest increase in transfers I’ve seen in my entire career,” W.C. Vance, the Director of Admissions, said. Vance said that most universities are experiencing decreases in transfer students so an increase is no small feat.

As of August 24, there were 115 transfer students enrolled at AU, up from last year’s 86.

Vance cites three separate causes for this increase in transfer students.

The first of these is customer service, says Vance. He explained that transfer students become more interested in schools that get back to them in a timely and courteous manner. Vance said in order to meet the needs of potential transfer students the admissions office needed to make itself more flexible.

“We make ourselves available days, evenings and Saturdays,” Vance said. “We have a new team in charge of transfers and they are excited. We have one full time transfer specialist and a part time one for the college of nursing.”

The next thing that helped to increase enrollment is the admissions office “playing offense.”

Vance explained that schools buy student’s names and contact information when those students take the ACT in order to reach out to those students. Vance said that AU has started buying information from a different source, college honor societies.

“We bought 2000 Phi Theta Kappa honor students and reached out to them, which is a first for this school,” Vance said.

Finally, Vance believes the programs offered by Ashland University are appealing to transfer students.

“It’s not anything new to the university,” Vance said. “Transfer students want to go in nursing, education and business.”

With the brand new Schar College of Nursing, the only slightly less new Schar College of Education and the Dauch College of Business and Economics, these programs have a fresh new look for students.

“It doesn’t sound like rocket science, but it’s very simple,” Vance said. “Serve transfer students well, let them know that we are here with the programs they want and they just enroll.”

Vance said no one major or school stands out as a place where most transfers have come from.

Vance hopes next year will yield more transfer students.

“We are improving our communication process for transfer students to match the communication process and attention we give to high school students,” he said.

“I want to show another increase next year but if we want to do that, we have to work for it.”

AU has also begun participating with where students can plug in courses already taken at one school and see how they will transfer to another school. Vance said this will give AU an edge in attracting transfers.