Using WICHE data to inform your strategic enrollment plan

by Janet Ward, AACRAO Consultant

Campus enrollment leaders are tasked with developing strategic enrollment management (SEM) plans to achieve specific enrollment goals tied to student body size, academic quality, mix (programmatic, race/ethnicity, gender, etc.), net tuition revenue, and outcomes (retention and graduation rates).  Effective SEM plans are informed by demographic and economic changes emerging within their state, region and across the nation.

A valuable resource focused on high school graduation trends is available through the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE;   While Knocking at the College Door, 9th Edition, a printed publication, is available, the interactive dashboards are easy to use and explore various sets of high school graduation projections (through 2032) and includes dashboards on:

  • Nation and Region Profiles
  • State Profiles
  • Change in Number of Graduates
  • Percent Change in Graduates

The dashboards are accessed on the website  Each of the dashboards provide filters that allow end users to select a range of years, regions and states.  Along with total high school graduates, the dashboards also provide changes by race/ethnicity.  It is important for enrollment leaders to understand the impact future student demographics will have on recruiting and enrolling students more under-represented students to achieve new student headcount goals.  WICHE dashboards will provide insight into shifting high school graduation numbers across the nation, region and by state.

The following graphic is of the Percent Change in Graduates dashboard when the when the filter for the Midwest region is applied.  While the entire nation is still visible, the Midwest region is highlighted and state specific information is available (second graphic).


While the map is a visual presentation of the percent change in high school graduates for the Midwest region, the dashboard also provides specific information at the state level.





















Using the Midwest filter, enrollment leaders can see how high school graduate demographics are changing.


The State Profile dashboard provides enrollment managers with a deeper view of state information beyond high school graduate data and provides insight into potential college applicants.   The State Profile dashboard includes information on adults 25-64 years of age related to educational attainment and the percentage with Associate degrees and above (broken about by ethnic group).  Additionally, incomes for households with children 0-17 years of age is provided, with data by ethnic group, which is useful for understanding a family’s ability to pay for college. The following graphic is for Indiana.