University seeks enrollment chief

The University’s first enrollment management leader will develop a broad strategy for admissions and financial aid that will highlight GW’s climbing academic reputation while ensuring compliance with a city-imposed student population cap.

Announced April 20 as part of a shuffling of roles across Student and Academic Support Services and the provost’s office, the post will oversee GW’s undergraduate and graduate admissions and financial aid, and would also help make decisions on how much financial aid to set aside, set enrollment targets for certain schools and design admissions strategies for where to recruit.

“On the undergraduate side, I want somebody who is creative and can think of ways of attracting really good students, of getting people as excited about GW as I am, ’cause I am excited about GW,” Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Planning Forrest Maltzman, who will likely lead the search, said.

By combining the offices for undergraduate admissions, undergraduate financial aid, graduate admissions and graduate financial aid, the new senior associate provost of enrollment will seek to reinvigorate GW’s tactics toward building up the academic profile and diversity of its student population.

Maltzman, a political science professor who also has experience managing graduate programs, said the enrollment leader could make international student recruitment more efficient, or make campus tours more reflective of innovative teaching and research at GW, through an evaluation of recruiting operations.

Associate Vice President for Financial Assistance Dan Small said the merger would allow his office to better coordinate financial aid resources with the University’s broader recruitment strategies, especially as it looks to expand into new regions throughout the U.S., where students demonstrate different levels of need. It will also help to synchronize loan processing among graduate students whose programs have more varied application deadlines than undergraduates.

“It will be much more of a conversation,” Small said.

The new administrative position will not signal a major shift in strategy for admissions or financial aid, Provost Steven Lerman said, nor will it affect the day-to-day operations of the four offices involved. The change, largely organizational, realigns reporting relationships underneath Maltzman.

Under the existing model, Maltzman oversees graduate admissions, while the undergraduate arm reports to SASS. The two offices form enrollment targets separately, but their efforts still overlap.

Lerman said he expects to hire a candidate with a strong track record at another institution.

“We’re going to look for someone who has experience bringing in a high quality, talented, intellectually and otherwise diverse student body,” Lerman said, commending outgoing Senior Vice President for Student and Academic Support Services Robert Chernak for developing an admissions model that “has been exactly right for GW.”

The expertise of each admissions or financial aid leader will contribute to the enrollment management group’s more holistic approach, Maltzman said.

With slightly more than two months left before Chernak steps down, after 24 years at GW, the provost said he is looking to fill the new enrollment management post as soon as possible, with the goal of filling it by the fall semester. Maltzman will fulfill the duties of that role during the interim.

The University’s admissions cycle runs almost non-stop, with early decision deadlines for undergraduate programs beginning in November and deadlines for non-degree enrollment spanning into August.

Any student who applies to an undergraduate program at GW is filtered through that admissions office, before the undergraduate financial aid office gives package estimates to those who are accepted. Graduate programs follow the same basic pattern, but with an additional focus on fellowships and teaching assistantships.

To stay under the District-imposed cap of 16,553 full-time equivalent students on campus, the University’s enrollment monitor will keep track of admissions figures for programs as they recruit and accept students throughout the year.

“My prediction is that, in the end, we will end up somewhere between 99 and 100 percent of the cap,” Maltzman said. “And that’s what we should be.”

Graduate programs, which represent the majority of GW’s population, are in the middle of processing applications for next year, with about 90 percent of applicants tallied and at least 60 percent of admitted students determined, Assistant Provost for Graduate Enrollment Management Kristin Williams said.

Applications to graduate programs at GW, excluding the law and medical schools, are up nearly 9 percent compared to this time last year.

“It’s like herding cats,” Williams said of coordinating graduate admissions processes, which occur on a rolling basis. “All of our programs and schools have different personalities.”

Chelsea Radler, Cory Weinberg and Sarah Ferris contributed to this report.

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