Future Enrollment Planning Task Force Prioritizes Academics, Diversity and Meeting Students’ Financial Need

The university will move forward with the Future Enrollment Planning Task Force’s new undergraduate class profile target recommendations.

February 17, 2021

The George Washington University will move forward with the Future Enrollment Planning Task Force’s (FEPTF) new undergraduate class profile target recommendations, which prioritize academics, diversity and meeting a larger portion of students’ financial need in enrolling the fall 2021 new undergraduate class. 

The task force, composed of representatives from the faculty, staff and student body, was led by Jay Goff, vice provost for enrollment and student success, and Provost M. Brian Blake. In November, the provost charged the FEPTF with conducting data reviews during their discussions to develop target recommendations for the fall 2021 new undergraduate class profile, in consideration of a post-pandemic environment. The task force unanimously endorsed the recommendations.  

Dr. Blake encouraged task force members to think creatively and collaboratively and to be aspirational in their conversations. Over two months, the FEPTF discussed and prioritized various target factors for the new class, informed by a set of guiding principles emphasizing academic talent, diversity, a safe campus environment, an appropriately-sized student body and a high-quality student experience.

The FEPTF recommendations were presented to and received support from the Faculty Senate, university leadership and the Board of Trustees Committee on Strategic Enrollment.

“This task force, since its initial charge in late 2019, continues to represent a strong example of active shared governance, and their work is shaping GW’s future for the better,” Dr. Blake said.


The recommendations encourage the university to target a new student class headcount of between 2,475 and 2,550 first-year students in addition to a new undergraduate transfer student class of between 150 and 300. The FEPTF recommendation recognizes the importance of ensuring a deep and insightful learning environment at GW. The task force's proposal supports university efforts to maintain and improve the new student class in numerous areas, including the academic profile, underrepresented students and better financial support for lower-income students. 

“We know the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact across broad segments of the United States and internationally.  The task force wanted to provide an enrollment target that recognized the current environment and provided an aspirational vision for GW’s future student body,” Mr. Goff said.

In order to better balance academic program enrollments across the new student class and to ensure a rewarding student experience, the task force has recommended that close attention be paid to the mix of first-year and transfer students. The FEPTF also recognized the pandemic's continuing impact on prospective international students, anticipating a slightly lower headcount for new international students.

Given the significant changes of the last year, especially among college-bound students, the 2021 admission cycle is unlike any previous year. These recommendations will help guide GW’s enrollment professionals in considering applications for fall 2021. 

“I want to thank the task force members and all the individuals who provided data and professional insight to ensure the task force had the best possible information to inform our discussion and ultimate recommendations,” Mr. Goff said. “I think this is a great start to our long-term strategic enrollment planning process.”

The Board of Trustees offered praise and thanks for the hard work and dedication of GW’s enrollment management professionals, including their collaboration with the working group.

“As you can imagine, this has been an extremely active period for enrollment management and strategies,” Trustee Ave Tucker, chair of the Committee on Strategic Enrollment, said at the Feb. 5 Board of Trustees meeting. “I would like to thank Provost Blake, Vice Provost Goff, their entire team and the members of the task force for all of their great work this year.”

The FEPTF’s work has continued this semester, using the recommendations as a jumping-off point in discussions for a longer-term enrollment plan, which will continue to prioritize a dynamic student body at GW. At the request of the Faculty Senate, the university will integrate the task force’s efforts within the senate committees and operations.


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