After four straight years of declining enrollment, the university announced that it has hired a vice chancellor for enrollment management.
Eduardo Prieto, who worked at Winthrop University before coming to UM, will oversee the new Office of Enrollment Management, which combines the Office of Admissions and the Office of Financial Aid. Prieto, who will not begin in this role until March 15 —pending IHL approval— will oversee a staff of 70 professionals in this new role.
According to an email sent to the university community, Prieto “will be responsible for designing and implementing the university’s master enrollment strategy, incorporating recruitment plans and strategic enrollment initiatives and leading financial aid optimization efforts using data analysis, enrollment forecasting and industry best practices.”
This year, the student population in underrepresented minority groups went down by over 100 students. UM’s retention rate, which represents the percentage of first-year students who choose to continue their education at the university, also fell from 86.6% last year to 85.7%. Before the pandemic began, the university closed Brown Hall, a traditional-style residence hall on campus, amid dropping enrollment.
Prieto, a 20-year veteran in higher education, has served in several capacities at universities including Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Oklahoma City University and the University of Oklahoma.
“As a first-generation college student, I witnessed early on the transformational influence and power of a college degree and experience,” Prieto said. “Whether a student is first-gen or multigenerational, I now enjoy witnessing firsthand the often life-changing journey students have as they progress throughout the college life cycle.”
Across the country, enrollment numbers in higher education are on the decline. College enrollment declined 2.5% this fall, according to data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. In total, colleges in the United States lost about 400,000 students this fall, twice the rate of decline in 2019.