Roosevelt University Continues To Thrive with a Social Justice Mission

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Chicago's Roosevelt University sees full-time undergraduate enrollment rise to historic levels, despite the current national economic downturn.

Roosevelt University, a Chicago higher education institution with a mission focused on social justice, continues to thrive despite the current national economic downturn. Unemployment, stock market declines, and a tight credit market have not tempered student interest in Roosevelt University.

Last year, Mary Hendry, the Vice President for Enrollment partnered with John W. Dysart, President of The Dysart Group, Inc., an enrollment management consulting firm, to continue enrollment growth at the school. With the support of the President, Dr. Charles Middleton, and the Board of Trustees, Mary managed the implementation of a new recruitment model last year that resulted in a 70% increase in new freshmen, a 38% increase in new transfer students and the largest number of full-time undergraduate students in the history of the university. This extraordinary growth was achieved while academic quality improved, ethnic diversity grew and geographic reach expanded!

Communication was a key element of the new strategy. Letters to students, personal interviews, the web site, e-mail messages and publications touted the unique mission of the University and it clearly appealed to a large number of prospective students and their families.
Economic uncertainty over the last year created new challenges. Would a mission focused on social justice remain appealing to students even during the worst economic conditions in decades? The answer appears to be a resounding yes!

The enrollment team at Roosevelt University was able to adapt to and specifically address new market obstacles this cycle. The financial aid award policy was adjusted to meet increased financial need for students during these unfortunate economic times. Methods of communication with prospective students were changed to emphasize both affordability and employment outcomes. An emphasis on value was critical. Additional training was provided to front line admission counselors to identify and adequately respond to prospective student obstacles as a result of the recession and associated impediments to enrollment. The adjustments were successful.

Applications for admission increased by 33% over the record numbers realized last year and at a time when many private colleges and universities struggled to even maintain application counts from last year. More prospective students visited the campus this year than at any time in the history of the institution. The University set another record for the largest number of prospective students ever applying for financial aid and the Financial Aid Office mailed more award letters this year than ever before. Freshmen enrollments increased by 22%. The university realized another historic increase in the number of residential students. More students will reside on campus this cycle than at any other time.

Despite economic challenges, Roosevelt University enrolled the largest number of full-time undergraduates in history. An attractive mission and a targeted recruitment plan trumped the troublesome economy. For more information on Roosevelt University, please visit More information regarding The Dysart Group, Inc. can be found at .


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John W. Dysart
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