When is the right time to add a new program?

How Rochester is Growing Enrollment with Rize

August 19, 2022
New Programs Approved
New Applications
New Enrollments

College Background

Rochester University is a four-year private institution in Michigan that offers associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees. Rochester enrolled about 1,200 students in their 24 undergraduate academic programs for the 2021-2022 academic year.

In 2019, Rochester University published a bold, 5-year strategic plan to sustain recent growth and establish firm financial sustainability for the long-term. Key strategic priorities include:

  • Add key academic programs that align with regional labor market demand
  • Grow enrollment by enhancing marketing and expanding the prospective student pool

Working with Rize and the LCMC, Rochester has made significant progress toward achieving these strategic priorities. In just 4 months, Rochester identified, developed and approved 7 high-growth academic programs with minimal upfront cost. Only one semester into marketing these programs, Rochester has already attracted a combined 78 applicants and 32 new deposits. 

We spoke with Rochester’s Provost, Dr. Remy Bruder, and VP of Admissions, Marketing, and Student Life, Scott Samuels, to go deeper on how Rochester is leveraging their partnership with Rize to “Rise Together. Stand Apart.” 

Strategic Priority #1 - Add Key Academic Programs 

As provost, Dr. Bruder’s number one priority is starting new academic programs. As a small college, however, adding a new program can be difficult given significant cost and risk. Before partnering with Rize, Rochester had 24 academic programs. This made it challenging to compete with larger regional colleges like Oakland and Eastern Michigan that market hundreds of programs. Scott said of the time, “We were losing market share because we weren’t growing the academic programming that students are asking for today, and cost was the biggest barrier keeping us from doing that.”

“We were losing market share because we weren’t growing the academic programming that students are asking for today, and cost was the biggest barrier keeping us from doing that.”

To assess which Rize programs would be most aligned to the southeastern Michigan labor market, Dr. Bruder leaned on Rochester’s dedicated Academic Partner–Ella Wurth. Working with Ella, Dr. Bruder was able to quickly identify the right programs to fit Rochester’s unique needs, “the materials that came from Ella’s team were really helpful to understand market needs both regionally and across the nation.”

After working with faculty to finalize the program proposals, Rochester ultimately approved a variety of new majors, concentrations and certificates across 7 high-demand fields by integrating Rize courses into the Rochester catalog.

Speaking with Dr. Bruder, she expressed her excitement in the new programs’ potential. Rochester students will benefit from the “career-oriented skills learned through Rize courses to complement and enhance their liberal arts degrees.”

Strategic Priority #2 - Enhance Marketing and Expand the Prospective Student Pool

After approving the programs through faculty governance, Rochester used Rize’s Enrollment Marketing Services team to promote their new programs. In addition to having access to a team of experts, Rize provided Rochester with pre-built content, including landing pages, flyers, and infographics to more quickly and effectively begin marketing the programs. Scott said of the content, “I got really excited when I saw the initial marketing assets from Rize.” The content from Rize even encouraged Rochester to rework the way they display and promote other offerings at the University. Just several months into the partnership, Scott and his team have created several innovative marketing campaigns that use the new programs as a springboard to attract students.

Once the programs were being promoted across mediums, Rochester saw a combined 78 applicants to their new LCMC programs within the first few months of marketing and 32 new deposits. These results are extremely encouraging to Dr. Bruder and Scott, who are confident in the long term enrollment value the courses will create. Scott says, “I am anticipating that once we have a year under our belts of promoting these courses, we will start to see even further increases in student interest, but I am really happy with what we have generated so far.”

With a small student body and ambitions to grow academic offerings significantly, the partnership with Rize and the LCMC was the right fit for Rochester University.  If you’re interested in learning more about Rochester’s story, Scott and Dr. Bruder invite you to reach out to them through Ella Wurth at ewurth@rize.education.

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