Saturday, December 22, 2012

Recruiting Remittance Girls as an Enrollment Strategy

Juggling operational costs of a university (salaries, maintenance, services, and other expenses) with cash inflow (tuition, state money, alumni gifts, research grants, etc) is a bottom line problem facing all universities.  It helps if your institution is illustrious, if it's the flagship university of its state, or if it has a lot of sentiment associated with it.  After all, doesn't every institution have its own saccharine Alma Mater?

Therefore, boosting enrollment is seen as the sine qua non of a successful institution because there is the necessity of grubbing or begging for money.  However, the birth rate reduction of a generation ago is affecting the number of potential college students.  Obviously, universities would like to attract the best and brightest!  But if your institution is a new one, without a remarkable campus life, or athletic prowess, it's a little harder to play that game!

Dean Chauncey Worthington and his Enrollment Management Committee at Florida Everglades University had to confront that reality.  In their discussions regarding enrollment strategies, they brainstormed (or brainstemstormed) several ideas:  (1) Having a Junior Year Aboard in Boca Raton, (2) Developing a Surfer Science Major, (3)  Offering discount coupons with early payment of tuition, and so forth.

Finally, Assistant Professor Clovis Evariste timidly offered an idea:  seek out Remittance Girls.  The Dean, despite his aversion to appearing unknowledgeable, blurted out, "What is a Remittance Girl?"

Professor Evariste went into a lengthy discourse about how, during the Victorian Era, well-to-do noble families dealt with the problem of occasional black sheep by sending them to the Colonies or to America and, effectively, paying them to stay away!  Hence, due to their remittances that provided them with support, they became known as remittance men.

In our modern p.c. times we wisely refrain from using sexist language; so it is appropriate to speak of the parallel expresson "remittance women."  As a matter of fact, some families followed this practice by packing off wayward daughters to live in places such as boarding schools out of scrutiny by other family members or friends.  Professor Evariste suggested that the institution actively seek out female students whose antecedent careers proved to be embarassments to their families, and give them a fresh start with programs geared to meet their needs.

Such as marvelous shops, art galleries, bars, and beaches.  As well as a institutional "don't ask, don't tell" policy with regard to drugs, sex, or porn.

Some members sputtered at this outlandish and nonintellectual strategy, as academics are wont to do.  But old professor Vivian Wilson mentioned the adage, "If you have a lemon, make a lemonade!"  She pointed out that one formidable challenge that the institution had was that it had little to recommend it to the more affluent set, the set with disposable resources that might result in donations.  However, they could turn things around by buying an older hotel in nearby South Beach and designating it the Florida Everglades University -- South Beach Campus.  The institution could immediately make this effective by charging substantial fees for dormitory rooms (on-campus residence required for Freshmen) and a tuition surcharge for its South Beach Campus.  Furthermore, they would adversize their South Beach Campus in some of the tonier East Coast magazines!

The Enrollment Management Committee quickly endorsed this idea.  And the males on the committee promptly applied for assignation to the South Beach Campus as soon as it was operational.  After all, they were supremely sensitive to the needs of this newly-discerned type of student!


Mike said...

Does the "don't ask, don't tell" policy include campus volunteers?

John A Hill said...

And students can off-set their housing costs by leasing out their dorm rooms during spring break!

(Where do Florida students go on spring break? Ski trip, maybe?)

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Actually, it's very likely that some institutions have unofficially adopted a Where the Girls Are strategy for increasing total enrollment.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Mike: A wise policymaker would include volunteers.

John: Florida students go to the Smokies or to Vail. Those with less money to to P.C.

Elvis: A good idea!

Bilbo said...

A brilliant idea ... Angel, you appear to have a bright future in higher education! Also, if you haven't heard it before, Jimmy Buffett has a great song on his album
"Barometer Soup" titled "The Remittance Man."

TexWisGirl said...

hope you have a wonderful christmas, too! thank you for your kindness!