February 2, 2016
By Nayah James
Dominican’s enrollment has been on the rise; however, the fall of 2013 proved to have the most significant impact.
“All of the stars aligned for us that year,” said Jon Tomaso, director of freshman admission. “If you think about admissions as a funnel, the more students you have that know about you, who are what we call “inquiries”, the more will end up applying, the more will be admitted and then more enroll will in the university.”
Undergraduate enrollment doubled in the last 10 years, with the introduction of the online application process.
“Print, electronic and face-to-face communication create more work for us, giving us a larger pool of inquiries,” said Tomaso. “There’s more work than ever before and there’s never a slow day in admissions.”
When asked about the gender ratio of enrollment, Director of Graduate Admission, Ann Hurley, provided statistics on how it is broken down.
She said, “It’s broken down by level (graduate or undergraduate) as well as by school. In the graduate pool, the student profile is majority female, but for each school it varies.”
“In the Brennan School of Business at the graduate level, it’s roughly 65 percent female to 35 percent male,” said Hurley. “For the new students coming in this fall, 70 percent are female and 25 percent are male. The School of Education has almost 80 percent female to 20 percent male. The largest change was last fall when it was almost 90 percent female and 10 percent male.”
Tomaso took a different approach, focusing in on athletic programs.
“In my 29 years working here, there’s always been a challenge in balancing the gender ratio,” said Tomaso. “Having male athletic programs like soccer has helped us. It’s a work in progress. We really believe the expansion of athletic offerings has helped. Adding lacrosse is one thing I’d like to see.”
Admissions and the financial aid office are working closely to help students.
Director of Transfer Admissions Mike Morsovillo said, “Admissions and financial aid go hand in hand. They are like one department. Financial offices provide admissions offices, both undergrad and grad, with counselors that handle those populations.”
Enrollment management is looking to gain insight into the lives of students that are at a disadvantage.
“Financial aid helps us get more funding for students by offering alternative loans,” said Morsovillo. “High-need students can file an appeal form in the financial aid office citing their special circumstances.”
Graduate recruitment is important for Dominican.
“We work to create numerous graduate events,” said Hurley. “We do a lot of marketing and digital ads for the respective schools as well as referrals. The School of Ed has a strong partnerships with Teach For America and CPS so we get a lot of students through those programs.”
Every semester there are table displays set up in the Lewis Link and/or Alcove to make students aware of the graduate programs offered at Dominican.
Tomaso said, “We always emphasize affordability at Dominican. Financial aid sends out the package and we do the follow-up. We carefully go through it with students making sure they understand everything. We go through their aid award with a fine tooth comb.”
Transfer students can also impact enrollment.
“Unofficial transcripts will list what classes transfer over,” said Morsovillo. “Some classes will never transfer over. Students can contact us and if it’s a class I think has a chance, I tell the student to bring in a course description or syllabus and go to the Registrar’s office to appeal and transfer the course. We try to inform transfers of all routes they can take.”
Funding can also impact enrollment.
“In the fall of 2015, 49.4 percent of all undergrads received the Pell Grant and 63.4 percent of those were first-time freshman,” said Glenn Hamilton, assistant vice president of enrollment management. “We hope students are successful and we want to make sure they get through and graduate,” said Hurley.