Perceptions and Priorities: The marketing to an recruiting of rural prospects by rural serving universities in West Texas and New Mexico



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In recent years, the use of market segmentation in higher education recruiting has garnered considerable research. Enrollment data in the form of response rates and yield rates provide vital strategic recruitment information to higher education institutions (HEI) assisting in the modification and development of marketing plans. There are two purposes to this study. The first purpose is to gain an understanding of how admission professionals perceive known barriers to rural student enrollment. While previous research has focused on identifying barriers to enrollment, this study fills a gap in the literature by examining the ways in which barriers shape the perceptions of admission professionals. The second purpose is to examine how universities present content on webpages relative to these same barriers. In essence, this study explores the connection between recruitment interactions and market segmentation by examining the commonly held perceptions of admission professionals and HEI website information in relation to the recruitment of rural student populations. Using both survey and descriptive content analysis, the study examines market segmentation and correlations in recruiter perceptions in the rural context. This study finds that while admission professionals perceive some barriers to higher education enrollment affecting rural students, the perceptions are inconsistent and often do not align with contemporary research. In addition, resources, information, and imagery presented on higher education websites do not reflect a recognition of the unique barriers to enrollment facing rural students. These findings have policy implications showing the need for strategic enrollment planning.



Education, Higher


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