MSU STRATEGIC INVESTMENT PROPOSAL FOR INSTITUTIONAL PRIORITIES
PROPOSAL OVERVIEW
TitleStrategic Recruitment of Graduate Students to MSU--Bozeman Request Date2012-11-30
DepartmentGraduate School Emailronl@montana.edu
RequestorRon Larsen Phone406-994-5555
INSTITUTIONAL BENEFIT
Campuses Bozeman Billings Havre Great Falls FSTS Extension MAES
Cross Depts  
TIMEFRAME
Proposed Dates Start: July 1 2013 End:  
PROPOSAL SUMMARY
Enhancing graduate education, particularly doctoral degree programs, by increasing student numbers and student quality is a very high priority for MSU, e.g., Strategic Plan Objectives L.2, D.3. Key to meeting these objectives is a robust and dynamic recruitment program. Currently, neither the Graduate School nor graduate degree granting departments have funds dedicated to or budgeted for graduate student recruitment. The Graduate School requests the authority to retain the $30 fee per Graduate School application that currently is sent to the Universityís general fund (approx. $60K) to initiate a coordinated campus-wide recruitment program.
STRATEGIC ALIGNMENT
The proposed Graduate Student Recruitment Program (GSRP) specifically addresses and focuses on Strategic Plan Objective D.3 Expand the scale, breadth and quality of doctoral education. The GRSP seeks to increase both the quantity and quality of graduate student applicants to MSU graduate programs with a focus on doctoral degree programs. Evidence collected from five years of recruiting for the Molecular Bioscience Doctoral Fellowship Program clearly shows that most nationally competitive students seeking doctoral programs especially in STEM fields are unaware of MSUís capabilities. Hence, a nationally focused, proactive recruiting program is necessary to bring highly qualified graduate students to our campus.
COST AND REQUIREMENTS
Funding Type: One-Time Only Funding Base (3-yr Recurring) Funding
  FY13 FY14 FY15 Base ($) OTO Startup ($)   FTE;
Salaries              
Benefits              
Materials & Supplies       5000       
Travel       27000       
Contracted Services       10000       
Capital              
Other Operations       18000       
TOTAL 60000     
Please comment, if necessary, regarding cost and requirements.

 Budget Justification by Funding Type and Initiative:

 

Materials & Supplies:  $5,000 is requested for development and printing of 2 page descriptive materials for all graduate degree programs (39 departments).  (Total  $5,000)

 

Travel:  Funds are requested for the following strategies:  $10,000 for faculty travel for recruiting new graduate students;  $10,000 to bring 10 outstanding prospective doctoral students to the MSU campus; and $7000 ($1000 each) in travel awards for 7 Graduate Student Ambassadors.  (Total  $27,000)

 

Other:  Funds are requested for the following strategies:  $10,000 to support the enhancement of departmental graduate program sites; $3,000 to waive the application fee for Veterans; and $5,000 to buy names (approx. 10,000 names) of prospective graduate students from the GRE list.  (Total  $18,000)

 

Contract:  $10,000 to enhance direct marketing capabilities for the online graduate school application provided by CollegeNet..  (Total  $10,000)

PROPOSAL SCOPE
Describe the Proposal

 

Proposal Scope

 

Enhancing graduate education, particularly doctoral degree programs, by increasing student numbers and student quality is a very high priority for MSU, e.g., Strategic Plan Objectives L.2, D.3.  Key to meeting these objectives is a robust, dynamic, and coordinated recruitment program.  Currently, neither the Graduate School nor graduate degree granting departments have any funds dedicated to or budgeted for graduate student recruitment. The Graduate School requests the authority to retain the $30 fee per Graduate School application that currently is sent to the University’s general fund (approx. $60K) to initiate a coordinated campus-wide graduate student recruitment program.  The proposed program will be implemented through the newly formed University Graduate Student Recruiting Council with faculty representatives from each graduate department.

 

The Graduate School in association with the University Graduate Student Recruiting Council is proposing the implementation of a number of strategies to increase both the quantity and quality of applicants to MSU graduate programs with an emphasis on doctoral programs.  The specific strategies are as follows:

 

Direct Marketing and Communications

 

  • Faculty Leadership in  Recruitment – Faculty often have opportunities to present MSU graduate programs in association with invited presentations; professional, discipline-based meetings; and research related travel.  To provide an incentive and capitalize on these opportunities, support (up to $500) will be provided to cover part of the travel costs if faculty agree to actively market (e.g., presentation) MSU graduate programs appropriate to the event.  This strategy has been successful in the past as implemented by the Molecular Bioscience Doctoral Fellowship Program.

 

  • GRE Names – The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) provides an opportunity to identify high quality prospective graduate students particularly in STEM and related fields.  This strategy has proven to be highly successful by the Molecular Biosciences program as well as by Computer Science who recruited 7 new doctoral students last year marketing to individuals identified by buying names from the GRE.  Through a request for proposal process with review and evaluation by the University Graduate Recruiting Council (UGRC), departments would request an allocation of funds to purchase names from the GRE.

 

  • Student Visits to MSU – Prospective graduate students who visit the MSU campus repeatedly state how surprised they are with the high quality of our programs, faculty, and facilities.  Thus, getting top tier students to visit our campus is critical to attracting them to our programs.  Funds are requested to support travel for approximately 10 outstanding doctoral student prospects nominated by departments and selected by the UGRC.

 

  • Veteran Application Fee Waiver – To encourage applications to graduate school by veterans we are proposing to waive the $60 fee for processing the application.  To compensate for a loss of revenue and promote applications by veterans we are requesting support.

 

  • Graduate Student Ambassadors – The Graduate School has piloted a Graduate Student Ambassadors program this Fall.  Seven graduate students were selected and have been instrumental in assisting in recruiting new graduate students.  Each Ambassador receives a $1,000 travel award and works with the Graduate School for one year to assist in hosting events, contacting prospective students, attending national recruiting meetings, etc.  The Ambassadors also serve as a student advisory committee for the Graduate School.

 

 

Active E-Marketing and Promotional Materials

 

  • Enhancement of Departmental Websites – Websites of many graduate degree granting departments are in need of major updates.  Departments, however, are often without adequate funding to bring their websites up to nationally competitive standards.  Funds would be provided on an ongoing basis with a focus on doctoral degree granting departments to bring websites to meet expected standards. 

 

  • Promotional Materials – Paper-based materials remain important marketing tools.  Support is requested to develop and print 2 page descriptive materials for all graduate degree programs (39 departments).  These materials are critical for recruitment fairs and events and must be updated at least every other year.

 

  • E-Marketing – The Graduate School is rapidly moving to secure a new vendor for the graduate online application.  Funds are requested to secure an additional e-marketing capability available from the vendor at an additional cost.  This added capability would provide an important tool for departments to directly market their programs to prospective graduate students.
 
Describe the broader impacts and benefits of this proposal

Broader Impacts

The proposed Graduate Student Recruitment Program (GSRP) will establish a faculty-driven, comprehensive, and coordinated plan for recruiting high quality graduate students.  Implementation of the plan will:

 

  • Elevate the national reputation of MSU graduate programs through increased exposure to highly qualified prospective graduate students and their respective undergraduate or master’s degree institution.
  • Systematically assess and evaluate specific recruitment strategies (e.g., buying names from the GRE, supporting faculty travel for recruitment, direct e-marketing, etc.) to determine their effectiveness particularly from an investment perspective.
  • Directly involve faculty and current graduate students in the recruitment process to give them increased ownership for their programs.
  • Improve the quality and effectiveness of department websites, web presence, and recruitment materials to enhance the number and quality of applicants.
 
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Implementation Plan

Implementation Plan

 

Many of the proposed recruitment strategies have been piloted by the Molecular Biosciences Program or the Admissions Team in the Graduate School at MSU.  The University Graduate Recruitment Council has also been established and is familiar with many of the strategies and hence is well positioned to work collaboratively with Graduate School staff.  Most of the strategies can be implemented as soon as funds are available.  However, for purposes of this proposal we will assume a start date of July 1, 2013.  Specific initiation dates for each strategy are as follows:

 

  • Veterans Application Fee Waiver---July 1, 2013
  • GRE Names---July 1, 2013 (ongoing)
  • Promotional Materials---July 1, 2013
  • Faculty Leadership in Recruitment----July 1, 2013
  • Enhancement of Departmental Websites---July 1, 2013
  • Graduate Student Ambassadors---September 1, 2013
  • E-Marketing---September 1, 2013
  • Student Visits to MSU---September 1, 2013
 
Assessment Plan

Assessment Plan

 

The proposed Graduate Student Recruitment Program (GSRP) will operate on the general principle of return on investment (ROI) to evaluate and assess the effectiveness of each strategy.  Assessment will be based on establishing a baseline using the last three years of data for each graduate degree program.  The data will include:  Number of applications, number of applicants who are offered admission, number who accept admission, and number who enroll.  Additional data for each applicant will also include GRE or other required test scores and undergraduate gpa.  The Graduate School has these data and will compile the information to set a baseline.  The same data will be collected in the coming year so comparisons can be made relative to the effectiveness of each strategy.  Return on investment will be calculated comparing expected tuition revenue collected from each student enrolled to the cost of recruitment (i.e., specific strategy used to enroll the student).  Quality of applicants will be based on comparing baseline data with the same measures for applicants who apply, are accepted, and enroll (i.e., mean GRE scores and undergraduate gpa).

 
If assessed objectives are not met in the timeframe outlined what is the plan to sunset this proposal?

Sunset Plan

 

Each recruiting strategy will be evaluated independently.  Those strategies that do not generate a return on investment and/or do not improve the quality of applicants will be discontinued.  After one year, funds will be reallocated to strategies that prove to be effective and successful by increasing graduate student applicant numbers and/or quality.

 
SIGNATURES
Executive/VP: Martha Potvin (mpotvin@montana.edu)