Newest administrator will merge admissions, financial aid offices to boost enrollment

GW announced the hiring Thursday of an administrator who will lay out a University-wide admissions and financial aid strategy to recruit more top students.

Laurie Koehler, the three-year admissions dean at Bryn Mawr College, will oversee financial aid, the registrar, and undergraduate, graduate and international admissions – the first the offices will be managed together. She will start July 1, according to a release.

Koehler will also help select the University’s next admissions dean after previous head Kathryn Napper left in December. A triple-alumna, Napper had spent 35 years at GW when she stepped down about five weeks after her office disclosed that it had been inflating freshman class rank data.

Koehler previously managed admissions at the Miami University of Ohio, where she also helped restructure the office’s organization. She was also a chief recruiter at Cornell University and an assistant admissions dean at the University of Virginia – where she earned her two degrees.

The position of senior associate provost for enrollment management was created last spring after long-serving senior vice provost Robert Chernak moved to a faculty role and prompted leadership change within the provost’s office. Chernak, who spent 24 years at GW, was one of the last members of University President Steven Knapp’s cabinet who was hired by his predecessor. His portfolio has been managed in the interim by Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Planning Forrest Maltzman.

Across higher education, schools have increasingly brought on enrollment managers to improve recruiting and better leverage financial aid to attract more competitive and diverse students.

Koehler will look to boost enrollment while also ensuring compliance with a city-imposed campus population cap – a deal that was struck as part of the 2007 campus plan.

She will also be challenged to reverse trends in acceptance rates and application numbers that recently plateaued.

GW’s acceptance rate has been about 33 percent for the past two years, an overall decline in recent years, but less selective than 31.5 percent in 2010. The University has also struggled to bring up applicant numbers over the last three years.

This post was updated April 2, 2013 to reflect the following:

The Hatchet incorrectly referred to Bryn Mawr College as Bryn Mawr University. We regret this error.


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