Behind the Scenes: New Recruitment Efforts

By Madonne Miner

Aug. 21, 2017

Why did Weber State University hire a consultant to help with recruitment, and who is Ruffalo Noel Levitz, anyway?

Not long ago, WSU Vice President for Administrative Affairs Norm Tarbox challenged members of the President’s Council to analyze WSU’s enrollment figures. Over the past couple of years, while some of the other public institutions of higher education in Utah have been growing, WSU’s enrollment has been flat.

In addition, compared to Utah’s other public institutions, WSU attracts the lowest percentage of out-of-state students: around 10%, compared to a high of 30% at SUU.

Why Should We Care?   

These facts about enrollment affect WSU in a couple of different ways:

  1. Utah’s state legislature has been moving toward a “performance funding” model for public universities. In other words, we receive funds when we hit certain performance measures, one of which tracks enhanced enrollment numbers. Flat enrollments do not help us.  

  2. Another way we support our operations is through tuition revenue. If we want to pursue initiatives that cost money, we need to generate tuition revenue — especially out-of-state tuition revenue, which is almost twice that of in-state.

Granted, these two reasons are somewhat mercenary (“pragmatic” would be the nicer term), so let me offer two more high-minded reasons:  

  1. We provide students a truly fine education at WSU, and we have capacity to offer that education to more of them.

  2. While doing so, we have an opportunity to diversify our regional students’ experience by bringing in students from a much broader geographical area.

Who’s Ruffalo Noel Levitz?

President’s Council got excited about the idea of pursuing a non-resident recruitment initiative, but quickly realized we needed help.

We looked to other schools for models (Montana State has engaged in a particularly successful out-of-state enrollment project) and sent out a request for proposals. Ruffalo Noel Levitz, a major consulting firm in the field of enrollment and development, provided us with the most impressive package of services.  

Do you have questions or comments about this article? Please contact Madonne Miner at