Title: A differential game model of incentive-based student recruitment, retention and faculty engagement in higher education

Authors: Tesa E. Leonce

Addresses: Department of Economics, Eastern Illinois University, 2841 Coleman Hall, Charleston, IL 61920, USA

Abstract: Many public and private four-year colleges and universities are facing the issue of declining enrolment. Several universities adopt a centralised approach to recruiting, where efforts are concentrated in the admissions function of the academic institution. These recruitment methods mirror a 'catch all' approach for prospective students across all academic disciplines. The concern with this centralised recruitment method is the level of detachment from key success/retention criteria that is unique to different academic disciplines. This study seeks to determine whether significant correlation exists between student recruitment methods and retention statistics among for-profit universities and to examine the efficacy of a more decentralised approach to recruiting students, much like the model adopted among athletic institutions. Overall, we find that actively engaging faculty scouts in recruitment and retention efforts via a revenue-sharing programme can be effective if: 1) achieving a progressively larger incoming students pool is a shared goal; 2) reaching enrolment sustainability is a priority, where marginal net growth of the stock is positive; 3) the bulk of the institutional revenues come from tuition fees, relative to independent outside sources; 4) the revenue share awarded to faculty scouts is perceived by them as competitive.

Keywords: student retention; renewable resources; revenue sharing; differential games; modelling; incentives; student recruitment; faculty engagement; higher education; universities; faculty scouts.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEED.2013.054102

International Journal of Education Economics and Development, 2013 Vol.4 No.1, pp.20 - 35

Available online: 21 May 2013 *

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