Key Findings: 2022 May Enrollment Trends

Jun 16, 2022

Every year, throughout yield season, we monitor enrollment trends on March 1st and April 1st for the applicant, admit, FAFSA submission, deposit, and yield data from our partner institutions. The following insights are based on institutional data captured as of May 1, 2022 and focused primarily on new first-time student results.

Key Takeaways

A few of the key takeaways from the May 1st data:

  • Application and admission rates continue to increase for both private and public institutions. Subsequently, the same can be said for admit rates.
  • Deposit rates among private institutions were off by about four percent (-4%), whereas public institutions had an average gain of close to six percent (6%). Among private institutions, highly selective institutions and those with a stronger brand name saw a gain in deposits of slightly more than one percent (1.28%).
  • Looking at year-over-year yield, which is possibly the most important metric for enrollment leaders, results were lower almost across the board, with the average loss coming in at almost two percent (-1.9%)

Private Institution Trends

This chart shoes the percent change from 2021 to 2020 for private institutions.

When reviewing the March and April results, private institutions had applicant and admission rates slightly above similar rates for 2021. The positive year-to-date comparison for May continues and even increased slightly.

Deposits for private institutions have been somewhat volatile this cycle. We saw a decline across institutions in the early going compared to 2021; then an increase when data was reviewed on April 1st. By national decision day, deposits across private school partners were back (-3.89%).

With the new NACAC rules being not so new anymore, it will be interesting to monitor strategies that institutions deploy—and the respective results—to attract students throughout the summer, even though they may have deposited elsewhere.

Public Institution Trends

This chart shows the percent change from 2021 to 2020 for public institutions.

As of March and April 1st, application, admit and deposit rates were higher than the 2021 enrollment cycle, which continued to May 1. The deposit rates on May 1, 2022, are now ahead of last year by close to six percent (6%).

While the increased volume in applicants and admits did yield more deposits for public institutions, yield rates decreased by almost two percent (-1.9%) on average. Though it is widely understood that the headcount of the incoming class is of paramount importance, it is equally important:

  • not to have tunnel vision about the total enrolled number
  • to be hyper-aware of the strategies the admission office executed to achieve that mark
  • to determine whether those strategies are sustainable

Gender Splits

For this recruitment cycle we thought it would be interesting to split stages by gender assigned at birth considering the decline in male students in 2021. As of May 1, 2022, the following can be seen in our data:

  • Applications from both male and female students increased, in line with national trends; male students ticked upwards by 8.14% compared to 5.17% from female students. Female students still significantly outpaced male students in total applications by 24.2% of the total applicant pool
  • 13.63% more male students made it to the admit stage of the enrollment funnel than in prior year and they were admitted at a 72.5% clip compared to 68.1% rate in 2021. Female students also experienced being admitted at much higher rate this cycle, being admitted at a 76.8% rate, compared to 72.6% in 2021
  • Interestingly enough, male students yielded at a higher rate than their counterparts in both 2021 and 2022 at 25.9% and 23.6% compared to 22.9%, and 21.6% respectively. Additionally, compared to 2021, yield was down (-2.3%) in male students and (-1.3%) in female students

FAFSA and its Importance

FAFSA is a subject we could study on its own indefinitely. For the purposes of this post, we will focus solely on FAFSA submission saving further analysis for a future article or series.

Overall, FAFSA submissions for our partners across the country, as of May 1, 2022, trended upwards by 10%+ on average. That trend was mirrored by both the private and public sectors. There are now eight states that require students to submit a FAFSA (or waiver) to graduate from high school. Of our partners that reside within those states, they experienced a significant average increase in FAFSA submissions—almost 25% (24.61%). All those partners were either at or above their deposit goals for 2022.

What Do These Trends Mean for the 2022 Enrollment Cycle?

Results for applicants, admits, and deposits are ahead of last year’s trends for both private and public institutions. As is the case every year though, it becomes less and less cumbersome for a college-bound student to submit applications to myriad of institutions. That being said, it is highly advised that enrollment leaders understand each stage of their enrollment funnel at a much deeper level, and to not be overly optimistic in the early going. Insert age-old saying here: It is a marathon not a sprint.

As you review the results for your own institution, start to shift your tactics to monitor other key data elements from your melt mitigation. Data points that are behavioral in nature, such as attending orientation, registering for classes, completing housing contracts, paying bills, or setting up installment plans, and other activities can truly help you understand if the deposited students as of May 1st will actually be enrolled at fall census.

We will continue to monitor trends and provide additional updates for June 1st and into the Fall so that you can benchmark against other institutions. This analysis will focus on trends in deposits and later-stage activity, such as melt mitigation. We strongly suggest you monitor your own activities in the coming months too! Stay tuned for more trends and insights.

Compiled and written by Curt Dircks, Partner Success Manager, Othot a Liaison Company


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Over the last three decades, Liaison has helped over 40,000 programs on more than 1,200 campuses more effectively manage admissions through its Centralized Application Service (CAS™) technology and complementary application processing and support services. The higher education technology leader supports its partner institutions’ total enrollment goals by pairing CAS with its Enrollment Marketing (EM) platform as well as the recently acquired TargetX (CRM) and advanced analytics software Othot.