Lifting the Veil on Enrollment Management

How A Powerful Industry Is Limiting Social Mobility in American Higher Education

The multibillion-dollar enrollment management industry markets admissions and financial aid strategies and algorithms to colleges to help them increase their revenue and U.S. News & World Report rankings. The firms that make up this industry have played a pivotal role in helping define the goals that colleges pursue and providing the strategies to achieve them, which all too often disadvantage low-income students and students of color. Despite how powerful and lucrative this industry is, few people outside of academia are aware of it or know what it does. As a result, these firms have received little attention in policy discussions—not a single congressional hearing has focused on their extraordinary influence.

Stephen J. Burd, a senior writer and editor in New America’s Education and Work programs, has edited a new book, Lifting the Veil on Enrollment Management, that aims to shine a spotlight on the industry and show how its products and strategies are limiting social mobility in higher education. Written by higher-education journalists, researchers, and former college leaders and enrollment managers, the volume is the first to focus on enrollment management as an industry. The book provides a history of how the industry came to be, identifies the major players, and shows how it has fundamentally changed the way that colleges recruit students and award financial aid, while operating mostly out of public view.

On May 16, join New America’s Education and Work programs for a discussion that Burd will moderate with several of the chapter authors: former enrollment manager Don Hossler; higher education journalist Jon Marcus; higher-education expert Jon H. Oberg; and writer and editor Beth Zasloff. Following the discussion, Zakiya Smith Ellis will moderate a lively conversation between New America’s Kevin Carey and founder and former executive director of the University of Southern California’s Center for Enrollment Research, Policy and Practice, Jerry Lucido, on how best to rein in enrollment management and reorient it to serve a greater public purpose.

The first 20 people to arrive at the event in person will receive free copies of the book. Lunch will be provided after the event.



Rachel Fishman, Deputy Director, New America Higher Education Program


Sameer Gadkaree, President, Institute for College Access and Success

Panel Discussion: An Introduction to and Critique of the Enrollment Management Industry

Moderator: Stephen J. Burd, Senior Writer and Editor, New America

Don Hossler, Provost Professor Emeritus, Indiana University Bloomington; Former Enrollment Manager

Jon Marcus, Author and Editor, The Hechinger Report

Jon H. Oberg, Expert on Higher Education Policy

Beth Zasloff, Writer and Independent Editor

Panel Discussion: Recommendations for Reining in and Reorienting the Enrollment Management Industry

Moderator: Zakiya Smith Ellis, Principal, EducationCounsel

Kevin Carey, Vice President for Education Policy and Knowledge Management, New America

Jerry Lucido, Founder and Former Executive Director of the University of Southern California’s Center for Enrollment Research, Policy and Practice