Recruitment Task Force
Increasing enrollment on Texas State University campuses is one of the top priorities of Dr. Damphousse’s presidency. In Fall 2022, Texas State set enrollment records in the number of new undergraduate and graduate students (11,344) and freshmen (7,573). Overall enrollment, however, continues to lag expectations and potential.
The task force will conduct a comprehensive review of current recruitment practices at Texas State and benchmark them against Emerging Research Universities and national aspirants and peers; review institutional need-based and merit-based financial aid award and scholarship strategies; and recommend to the President’s Cabinet recruitment practices to sunset and other strategies to increase international, transfer, and master’s student enrollment, as well as online enrollment.
Two points of clarification were included in Dr. Damphousse’s charge to the task force: 1) The group will focus only on the stated areas of opportunities, as our strategies to grow the freshman class are working, and they must remain intact. 2) The group will develop strategies for increasing master’s enrollment, not PhD enrollment. The Presidential Commission on the Run to R1 will address the goal of increasing the number of PhD students.
Update - March 20, 2023
We received and are implementing many bold recommendations from the Recruitment Task Force and there is much to celebrate!
- First-year applications and admits for Fall 2023 are on record pace, up 23% (+7,393 applications) and 14% (+3,222 admits), respectively, over last year’s record numbers.
- International FTIC student applications and admits are up a staggering 377% (+467 applications) and 213% (+136 admits), respectively, over last year.
- For the first time in our history, TXST is second, only to Texas A&M University, in applications submitted through Apply Texas for Fall 2023.
- Attendance at February’s Bobcat Day (2,536 student prospects) was the highest ever recorded.
- Campus tours were 100% booked over Spring Break.
Read the President’s full update to the university community from March 20
Update - February 3, 2023
Jan. 9 Recommendations approved by the Cabinet include:
Several of the recommendations presented by the task force involved policies and procedures, and most of those procedural recommendations are approved by the Cabinet in order to support our goal of removing barriers to success. These include recommendations to:
Consider establishing a new college access program,
Extend the non-resident online program fee pilot program at the graduate level to include fully online undergraduate degree offerings,
Use the strategic planning process to increase students enrolled in full online programs, to expand new and existing programs on the Round Rock Campus, etc., and
Ask the Graduate College to reengage in its review of declining or low enrollment programs with a goal of increasing enrollment or reallocating resources from programs that will be retired.
Recommendations associated with funding requests that are approved by Cabinet and pending Board of Regents approval include:
An increase in graduate student scholarships of over $900,000 per year with an approved incremental 3% increase every year.
$40,000 per year with an approved incremental 5% increase every year to hire a consultant similar to the services the university utilizes at the undergraduate level to help guide the university and optimize the utilization of existing and new graduate scholarship dollars.
Several recommendations refer to increasing enrollment by increasing faculty and staff in programs with deep applicant pools or offering new in-person and online programs Cabinet agrees with these recommendations and the university has set aside $2 million in recurring/permanent funding to support proposals that come up through the strategic planning process.
Other actions taken to support enrollment and recruitment guided by the Commission’s work and recommendations:
To help support global aspirations and further explore online educational initiatives, create a Vice President for Global and Online Initiatives. This new focus will likely include changing the Office of Distance and Extended Learning to an entrepreneurial enterprise model, conducting a holistic review of the current funding structure for online learning and international affairs, engaging with external partners to market programs to both domestic and international markets, and providing incentives and strategic planning guidelines for degree programs to redesign face-to-face or hybrid programs to be fully online, scalable programs that can be marketed to large student populations. The search will commence soon.
In response to recommendations related to bolstering marketing initiatives, university marketing and university communications are merging into their own division and Sandy Pantlik, associate vice president for communications and public relations, will become the vice president for marketing and communications. Elias Martinez, assistant vice president for University Marketing, will continue to direct marketing functions while also helping guide the new division. Effective immediately, Ms. Pantlik will report directly to President Damphousse, and will serve as a member of his Cabinet.
The transition of the new marketing and communications division will take several months. Cabinet has charged a small team to review the overall organizational structure of communications and marketing functions throughout the university to identify possible efficiencies, find opportunities for cross-training or repurposing of positions to fill gaps, and ensure workflow aligns with university priorities related to recruitment, student success, and Run to R1. Following this process, marketing recommendations will be revisited to re-evaluate funding needs to support the recommended marketing initiatives.
This latest round of funding brings the total investment since the task force was appointed to nearly $18 million in new dollars ($8 million for specific recruitment initiatives and $10 million to expand current and add new degree programs through the strategic planning process).
Next Steps: This concludes the work of this task force. Some of the group’s recommendations will be brought to the Board of Regents for approval.
Update - January 4, 2023
The Recruitment Task Force is charged with recommending recruitment practices to increase enrollment of international, transfer, master’s, and online students. Following discussion with the Office of International Affairs and benchmarking other Texas universities, the task force identified international student recruiting as an opportunity for immediate action with tangible results possible within the current fiscal year.
Research and analysis conducted by the task force showed that current payment limits placed on international student recruiting agencies under contract with the university are significantly lower than peer and competing institutions. The current TXST limits are undesirable for recruiting agencies as they have contracts with multiple institutions that do not have these types of limitations. Therefore, their return on investment is more attractive with those partner institutions. The Office of International Affairs received information from one of TXST’s current partners that without the limitations, they would be able to generate 200-300 more applications, which has the potential to significantly increase TXST’s current conversion rate of 48% for applications submitted from students referred by the agencies. In addition, there are approximately 30 more accredited agencies that could be potential partners by lifting the low payment caps.
Initial Recommendation Approved
Based on these findings and discussions, an initial recommendation from the task force to Cabinet focused on raising the annual cap the university pays through international recruiting agencies from $150,000 to $1 million effective immediately. The costs associated with international student recruitment are recuperated through tuition the students pay and have a very high return on investment. Cabinet approved the recommendation.
The next round of recommendations from the task force – due to Cabinet on January 9, 2023 – will address additional steps to increase and enhance TXST’s recruitment of international, transfer, master’s, and online students.
After peaking in Fall 2016 with 38,808 students, TXST experienced four years of steady decline. This Fall, overall enrollment topped 38,000 students for the first time since 2019. A deep dive into the data reveals many opportunities to grow enrollment. This Fall, for example, we saw declines in new transfer students (-13%) and new master’s students (-18%); only 5% of our students came from outside of Texas; only 1.6% of our students are enrolled exclusively in an online degree program; and only 14.2% of our sections are offered fully online.
President Damphousse notified the task force members of their charge on September 16, 2022. Task force Chair Dr. Golato has been asked to submit the group’s final report by January 9, 2023.
Members of the Recruitment Task Force
- Andrea Golato, Dean, The Graduate College (Chair)
- Cristine Black, Associate Vice President for Budgeting, Financial Planning and Analysis
- Jennifer Jensen, Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies
- Elias Martinez, Assistant Vice President for University Marketing
- Susan Morey, Chair, Department of Mathematics
- Christopher Murr, Assistant Vice President for Financial Aid and Scholarships
- Eric Paulson, Associate Dean, The Graduate College
- Sanjay Ramchander, Dean, McCoy College of Business
- Gary Ray, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing
- Sriraman Vedaraman, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs
- Dana Willett, Assistant Vice President for Distance and Extended Learning
- Beverly Woodson Day, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management, Director of Undergraduate Admissions
"We must help more people join in the college experience, because we know how life-changing it is – not just for each graduate, but for generations to come. Texas State ranks first in the state for helping at-risk students graduate, including non-traditional students and those whose families fall below the federal poverty threshold. So, when we grow enrollment at Texas State, we’re making an impact no other university in the state of Texas can claim. So, I will be charging a Recruitment Task Force to propose changes we can make to increase enrollment on our campuses, including categories for international students, students taking classes online, and students that come to us through a transfer process."
- President Kelly Damphousse