Friday, November 09, 2007

Rural campus tries new marketing techniques to bring in new students

Like many small towns in the Midwest, the community of Morris, Minn., is shrinking. And that means the University of Minnesota Morris needs to look elsewhere to find new students, reports The Star Tribune in Minneapolis. With the number of high school graduates in Minnesota expected to decrease 3 percent over the next decade, the search might be getting even tougher, reports Jeff Shelman. (In Strib photo by Elizabeth Flores, a UMM admissions representative visits a Minneapolis high school.)

"It's a question of survival," writes Shelman. "Because of the shrinking rural population in Minnesota and elsewhere in the Midwest, Morris and other rural campuses need to recruit more students from the heavily populated corridor that stretches from St. Cloud to the Twin Cities and Rochester. The campuses have slashed their tuition for nonresidents, hired image consultants and started to recruit students as far away as Alaska."

The town of Morris has a population of 5,000, and it is about 150 miles west of Minneapolis, Shelman reports. And it is 45 miles from the nearest Target store. To entice students to this rural setting, the school will pay up to $500 for the visits of prospective students who live more than 350 miles from campus. The school also dropped the out-of-state tuition to the same price as in-state tuition. The school hopes the measures will help it meet its goal of adding 400 students by 2013. (Read more)

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