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Decline of undergraduate students expected for Fall 2009

The number of new undergraduate students will decline by 9 percent in fall 2009, said Alberto Colom, the vice provost for enrollment management, yesterday during a Provost meeting with about 100 faculty and staff in the Union Ballroom.

This semester there are about 18,000 students at the University, including Firelands.

Colom isn’t very optimistic about the numbers for the upcoming years. On President’s Day a record-breaking 2,132 students visited the University, but there were 352 prospective students less who filled out an application form. Colom thinks the rain may have been a factor.

A 3 percent decline in students is expected for the 2010-2011 academic year, said Interim Provost Mark Gromko. He hopes for an increase in enrollment in 2011-2012.

“My goal is increasing steady [the number of students],” he said.

Gromko also said Ohio will have a sharp decline of high school graduates the next few years, and Bowling Green needs to compete much harder with other universities. Areas such as adult learning will be much more important for the University, he said.

If it’s up to Colom, the University’s marketing plan needs to change to stimulate people to study at the University. A new marketing plan will be more aggressive, he said. The University will go on a “mission” to high schools, trying to make their professors enthusiastic for Bowling Green.

“We also need to help students with their funding,” Colom said.

Colom addressed how the University is going to be competitive with others in Ohio.

“We need to look at what we’re good at…” he said. “Scholarships are very important to get talent. We observe other universities, take notes. It’s how we get to a higher level.”

Gromko added that the University needs to shift, putting more focus on marketing academic programs.

“We really need to look very good how we use the scholarships. It must be balanced… making sure we use our capacity to its best,” Gromko said.

Academic Advisor Christine Schaefer said she’s not surprised by the decline in students.

“It’s reality, and I think that nobody is surprised. There are a lot of great initiatives. But we really need to help new students with financial aid.”

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