Head of admissions office to resign

Dean of Admissions Karen Stroud Felton, posing here during an accepted student days event last spring, will resign at the end of the semester.  Hatchet file photo by Judy Lim | Hatchet Staff Photographer.
Dean of Admissions Karen Stroud Felton, posing here during an accepted student days event last spring, will resign at the end of the semester. Hatchet file photo by Judy Lim | Hatchet Staff Photographer.
This post was written by Hatchet Editors Colleen Murphy and Jacqueline Thomsen.

Dean of Admissions Karen Stroud Felton will resign at the end of the semester, a spokeswoman confirmed Thursday.

Felton told her staff of the decision during a meeting Thursday morning. She is the fifth high-level administrator to leave the University this academic year.

Felton came to GW in 2010, according to her LinkedIn page. She was with the admissions office through two admissions scandals over the last several years. GW was kicked off of U.S. News and World Report rankings in 2012 for inflating admissions data for more than a decade. Two years ago, officials publicly admitted for the first time that they wait list hundreds of applicants each year who cannot afford GW’s tuition.

Felton was the face of GW for applicants going through the admissions process. She attended multiple high-profile events throughout the year, including admitted students days, Colonial Inauguration and events throughout the country for interested students.

Felton has not sat for an interview with The Hatchet since February of 2014.

Laurie Koehler, senior associate provost for enrollment management, said in a statement that Felton was “instrumental” in her role as head of admissions.

“She has many talents, and I continue to talk to her about other opportunities here at GW,” Koehler said. “She will continue to be completely invested in the success of this year’s admissions process and will continue to lead the office in successfully enrolling a great GW class of 2020.”

Koehler added that a national search for a new dean of admissions will begin immediately.

Felton also oversaw the implementation of GW’s test-optional admissions policy this summer, which officials hope will draw more diverse candidates to GW. She is part of a team of top administrators focused on making GW more accessible to low-income and minority students. Admissions staff have visited local high schoolers and worked with groups on campus to walk them through the admissions process.

In December, University President Steven Knapp announced far-reaching budget cuts: all central administrative divisions, which could include the admissions office, will need to make 3 to 5 percent cuts each budget year for the next five years. Officials also cut about 5 percent from all central divisions last year due to a drop in graduate enrollment.

Officials admitted 45 percent of applicants to this fall’s freshman class, part of an effort to grow class sizes and increase tuition revenue amid cutbacks.

GW’s total financial aid pool swelled to $260 million last spring, an 11 percent increase. The undergraduate portion of the fund grew by about 6.5 percent to help keep up with the larger class size.

Officials brought Koehler into the office in 2013 in a new position as senior associate provost for enrollment management to lay out a data-driven recruitment strategy and better understand why students end up choosing schools other than GW.

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