Case Studies

California State University Dominguez Hills

Location: Carson, CA

Objective: One of the nation’s most diverse campuses, CSUDH serves over 14,000 enrolled students as part of the California State University system. CSUDH’s Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Office initially contacted AACRAO to complete a thorough enrollment audit to identify what was working, what wasn’t, and how to fix it.

Challenge: CSUDH had not reached its enrollment targets in over a decade. Once AACRAO Consulting delved into the University’s situation, we discovered a myriad of challenges impacting their ability to manage enrollment effectively. One of the most pressing issues was the organizational structure of the staff, and distribution of tasks and responsibilities across multiple departments. We also identified a significant need for improved business processes in admissions, including the flow of student information necessary for making effective, timely admission decisions.

Solution: Following a comprehensive audit, AACRAO Consulting identified and prioritized the University’s admission and enrollment challenges, then prepared a realistic plan to address each one using CSUDH’s on-hand resources. We mapped out a clear and concise process for streamlining student information and admission decisions, including immediate improvements to the way the Admissions Office was processing high school transcripts.

On the personnel side, we worked closely to better distribute and assign responsibilities to the appropriate staff and departments. Following our recommendations, CSUDH consolidated its records and admissions functions under one department, dramatically improving those processes. We redefined the role of the Registrar’s office as well, shifting selected services to another department with the resources to improve it.

Beyond simply making recommendations, we continue to play an active role in implementing new processes, plans and strategies, as well as monitoring the success of these initiatives and continually refining them as needed. We developed a comprehensive communications plan that maps out outreach, recruitment and retention communication tactics, and work with the CSUDH staff to develop the content for the University’s messaging.

Results: As a result of the audit, restructuring and process improvements, in fall 2009 CSUDH hit its enrollment targets for the first time in 10 years. For fall 2010, CSUDH exceeded the number of freshman applications by over 2,000 compared to the previous year. The University has additionally admitted nearly 10 times the number of transfer students over the previous year. The communications plan developed by AACRAO Consulting also generated an increase in 5,000 visits to CSUDH’s website, translating to a 50% increase in hits.