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Comparing Key Enrollment Metrics by Institutional Market Position


Institutions vary considerably in the patterns they experience in discount rates, yield rates and enrollment demand. Those patterns and trends vary to significant degrees by empirically-defined institutional market position. Assessing or benchmarking such metrics should begin with appropriate comparisons to similarly positioned colleges and universities.

Private Non-Profit Freshmen Yield, Discount and Ratio of Applications to Matrics by Market Position Tier: Private Non-Profit Colleges and Universities FY2004 – FY2017
enrollment metrics by market position data chart


HCRC’s approach to defining a college’s market position starts with an index using various public-domain metrics regarding the student, academic and demand profile of the institution. Every college is percentile ranked by that empirical position. This chart shows three trendlines for all private, not-for-profit institutions segmented by 7 bands of market position, from the lowest at a 0-30th percentile rank to the highest in the 95th to 100th percentile, with a total for all institutions at the bottom right chart. The lines show trends over thirteen years in the freshman discount rate and the freshman yield rate (graphed to the left y axis), and a ratio of demand showing the number of applications received to enrolled freshmen (graphed to the right y axis).


Enrollment management leaders are often asked to compare their college’s enrollment outcomes with other colleges and universities or with national trends, and those outcomes often include discount rate, yield rate and applicant demand. Since trends and patterns in these and many other metrics vary considerably based upon the percentile ranking of institutional market position, the starting point for a college’s comparative self-assessment should commence with segmenting national patterns by market position to ensure appropriate comparisons. Any strategic self-analysis should therefore begin by placing a college’s own trends in a comparative context with similarly positioned institutions rather than comparing to overall national trends or to institutions in markedly different market positions, particularly to the most highly positioned colleges and universities that tend to get the most visible attention nationally.

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