Executive Summary – Institutionalized Tactics

Strategic Enrollment Management Plan (2019-2023)

Dozens of tactics were completed in the SEM Plan (2019-2023). While many of these tactics were completed with no additional follow-up required, there were many other tactics that, once completed, became our regular, ongoing practice (institutionalized) at NIU.

This summary provides a list of the institutionalized tactics accomplished under the SEM Plan (2019-2023) that have helped — and are continuing to help — NIU achieve our enrollment goals. 

Executive Summary – Institutionalized Tactics (PDF)

Goal One, Strategy One

Refine and reinforce our brand identity to best differentiate NIU to our target markets.


  • Increase funds in advertising to increase our reach and impact, and commit to advertising budgets one year in advance.
  • Create and implement a universitywide procedure by which use of the Clearinghouse is mandatory before any marketing or advertising materials are produced, purchased, published or disseminated.

Goal One, Strategy Two

Leverage NIU’s brand and values to attract, retain and engage employees to serve as brand advocates.


  • All faculty and staff must annually receive search committee implicit bias education before serving on a search committee.

Goal Two, Strategy Three

Clearly define recruitment targets and create tailored, comprehensive plans to drive action.


  • Implement new recruitment marketing partnership that will include earlier communications with prospective students and parents, targeted name purchases, senior application marketing and yield enhancement for admitted students.
  • Engage new out-of-state markets through targeted recruitment activities (i.e. college fairs, high school visits, NIU-hosted receptions) and advertising campaigns — focus on Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana and Missouri.
  • Develop signature events (on and off campus) that engage diversity and cultural resource centers and University Honors, including their alumni, staff and currently enrolled students.
  • Implement a comprehensive two-way text messaging campaign that is responsive to prospective student questions 24/7.
  • Operationalize pathway/articulation agreements with top feeder community colleges.
  • Develop sustainable funding for transfer students through the use of a financial aid model.
  • Increase advertising and marketing efforts specific to online programs.
  • Develop signature events and programs (on campus and in Chicago, Elgin and Aurora) that engage the Latino Resource Center and Latino Alumni Council in recruiting and enrolling more Latinx prospective students.
  • Ensure there are at least two to three full-time, bilingual employees in the Office of Admissions and Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.

Goal Two, Strategy Four

Provide enhanced, responsive, and effective scholarship and financial aid options that will attract students and ensure their success.


  • Implement a survey on non-enrolled students to learn why they didn’t enroll and what it would take for them to enroll at NIU.
  • Implement findings based on the survey to better identify, predict and recruit students who may be less likely to enroll.
  • As allowable, continue to utilize university waivers or housing grants strategically as alternative aid options.

Goal Three, Strategy Five

Clearly define retention and completion goals and create tailored, comprehensive plans to best support the specific needs of our diverse student population.


  • Implement the use of Navigate (all colleges, student service units and resource centers) for tracking student success.
  • Develop strategic enrollment management teams, which include equity teams, within each college to continuously review student success data and identify local solutions.
  • Increase advising capacity to support reasonable advisor-to-student ratios of 1:300.
  • Ensure that every student has an advisor contact assigned in MyNIU.
  • Develop a coordinated approach for early alerts/progress reports utilizing Navigate and targeting courses with high failure rates and high equity gaps.
  • Include cultural competency/CODE training as part the redesigned first-year experience for all incoming freshman and Welcome Week experiences.

Goal Three, Strategy Six

Clearly identify gaps in academic achievement, and create tailored and comprehensive plans to reduce these gaps.


  • Redesign gateway courses and courses with high equity gaps to promote the use of engaging pedagogical approaches (math, English and literacy).
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