SGA Meeting: Overview

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SGA Meeting: Overview

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The Saint Louis University Student Government Association (SGA) kicked off the spring 2016 semester with their weekly meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 20, where the main focus was an enrollment and management update.
Jay Goff, Vice President of Enrollment and Retention Management, started off the meeting by presenting the 2012-18 Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) Plan for SLU.
“Ultimately, our goal is that we would never admit a student that we could not be prepared to graduate,” said Goff.
In 2011, over the course of a year, students, faculty, administrators and alumni came together to create The Bicentennial Billiken Plan as a way to map out the future and the goals of the university. The plan highlights five main objectives used as a roadmap for how to achieve the student body they want by the bicentennial.
The vision of the University is to increase the academic profile of the freshman class, increase diversity of the undergraduate student body, maintain a strong Catholic population, optimize University service capacities in order to limit tuition increases and increase student retention and graduation levels.
In order to fulfill the goals of the SEM Plan, Goff said they would like to have all 50 states represented by the Bicentennial, along with 15-18 percent of SLU’s students to be international.
The University would also like to continue to support students from a socioeconomic standpoint and maintain one-fourth of the student body as low-income students.
SLU has also made an effort to improve transfer and adult students’ access to the university through the School of Professional Studies, as well as weekend, evening and online programs.
In addition to increased diversity, SLU is working to maintain its Catholic population by reaching out to and supporting strong Catholic communities. The goal is to have about 45-50 percent of the student population have a Catholic affiliation.
Goff said that in addition to attracting a diverse and academically talented class, his department would also like to see an increase in the retention and graduation rate of the students who decide to enroll at SLU.
The Department of Enrollment and Retention Management is making an effort to ensure that the University is efficient with the resources it has in order to limit tuition increase.
Twenty-four percent of SLU students are considered low-income, and 50 percent of students at SLU attend with no federal, state or student loans. In fact, last May, 41 percent of all undergraduates that walked at graduation graduated with no student debt due to financial aid leveraging.
At the time of writing the SEM Plan, Goff said they weren’t retaining as many students as they wanted. Since implementing this plan, rates have gone up from 84 percent to 90 percent, putting SLU into one of the top 50 institutions in the country in that regard. The graduation rate has also gone up from 70 to 76 percent. The final goal is to hit an 80 percent graduation rate, which, if achieved, would move SLU to the top 75 percent of National Research Universities.
Along with the five objectives of the University, three SEM Councils were created: Research and Reporting Council, Recruitment Council and Retention and Student Success Council.
According to Goff, the University is using a kindergarten through graduate school approach (k-20).
The first step is promoting college awareness in younger students: rising first graders coming to campus for various day camps.
College readiness is the next step, which starts with middle school-aged kids and leads into the most successful recruitment strategy for high school students: the campus visit.
Goff informed SGA that they want to enhance the campus visit experience at SLU by engaging technology and the history of the University at the same time.
The University has a New Student Visit Center at Queen’s Daughters Hall. This student center has an interactive globe display to highlight the numerous study abroad locations, Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Tablets providing information about SLU while reducing paper usage, an Ideum Dual Boot Coffee Table, which provides an interactive way to learn more about the university with pictures, and mounted multimedia screens to inform visitors about SLU facts and figures.
Also included in the campus visit are iClick photo booth kiosks, which allow students to personalize their experience with pictures and videos of themselves on campus, and the new Evolution Labs Registration System, which will help perspective students through their visit.
Towards the end of his presentation, Goff mentioned that it has been a tough time for higher education across the country.
Since 2010, the number of high school graduates has been falling an average of 4-7 percent every year due to a smaller student-aged demographic in the overall population.
“There were simply fewer children born 18 years ago,” Goff stated.
However, contrary to other schools in the area, SLU brought in its second-largest, most academically-talented freshman class this past year, and the University is on track to bring in a similar class for the fall of 2016.