Enrollment Continuum

Enrollment Continuum

Enrollment is still JOB ONE

Last year we launched an ambitious effort to increase enrollment for fall 2023. We called this the Enrollment Continuum, acknowledging a holistic approach to enrollment that goes beyond just recruiting and admissions to also examine barriers to persistence and graduation.

As a campus, we rallied around the idea that enrollment is Job One. We knew that we simply could not afford another year of enrollment losses. We launched the continuum with four teams, looking at: 

  • Marketing and Communications
  • Recruitment and Admissions
  • Program Investment and Assessment
  • Retention to Graduation

So how did we do? In a word, we did great. After five consecutive years of enrollment drops, leading to a 27.7% reduction in full-time equivalent students (FTES) overall, we are thrilled to share that not only did we stop the decline in enrollment, we actually managed to grow it! This has had a real and measurable impact on our financial outlook, allowing us to save many millions in our reserves that we thought we would have to spend.

We know our collective efforts as a campus worked. We spent real marketing dollars in telling our story and communicating our value propositions to prospective students and families. We invested in Spanish-language marketing to reach our fastest growing group of students. We made phone calls, sent emails, sent text messages, made YouTube and TikTok videos, and ramped up our digital presence to record levels. 

Most importantly, we made a human connection with prospective students through your efforts. Whether it was talking to a prospective student at Choose Chico, answering the phone when it rang, replying to an inquiry over email, or talking with a neighbor or friend about why they should choose Chico, each one of these small steps you took led us to our results today. We couldn’t be prouder of the way our community rallied around the charge that enrollment is Job One.

Now, as we look to fall 2024, we’re excited to roll out Version 2.0 of the Enrollment Continuum. Enrollment is STILL Job One for fall 2024 and beyond because we know we have to not only stop the decline in enrollment, but we have to grow  to maintain a sustainable and healthy budget environment for our campus. We also know our growth must come from a mix of undergrad Californians, graduate students, international students, and self-support students. We’ve also learned a lot from our first run at this, and we’ve taken the opportunity to refine our working groups. 

Our overall campus goal is to grow by 500 FTES (or more) for each of the next three years. We believe this is the level and pace we need to grow to reach financial stability. Keeping in mind that we grew 143.1 this year—we know 500 is attainable, but it won’t be easy. It will require each of us to continue building on our work so far.

You can learn more about our 2.0 groups below, as well as read more about the goals of the Enrollment Continuum mission. Thank you again for all the hard work that got us to where we are today, and for the work to come.

Enrolled Students—At a Glance

Fall 2024 Enrollment, as of April 10, 2024


28,616 (up 3%)


25,612 (up 5%)


1,772 (down 9%*)

* The good news is that intents to enroll are coming in post-Choose Chico at a rate slightly higher than the rate in 2023 just after the event. Despite this, we are seeing a decline in IEs year-over-year due to the combined impact of FAFSA delays and a long-advertised extension of the IE deadline to June 1. Given the rocky FAFSA rollout, we gave students more time to decide and they are taking advantage of it.

Understanding the Enrollment Continuum

Each group, co-lead by cross-divisional faculty and staff, is oriented around a framework of action to develop and implement immediate strategies and tactics that can impact enrollment for fall 2023 and beyond. The overall project is led by a small, agile steering committee that helps to ensure each group is maintaining an appropriate focus on the tasks, as well as resolving any barriers each group may be facing. As part of this work, the teams have engaged stakeholders and champions as well as the larger campus community to solicit ideas.

Diagram showing a student's journey from recruitment and admissions to enrollment to graduation

Strategic enrollment management looks at a student's journey from when they first hear about the school to admission and enrollment to retention and graduation. This coordinated strategic enrollment planning effort builds on work already completed and positions Chico State for success in the future.

Each component of the Enrollment Continuum project functions independently through a lens of shared action. This agile, collaborative approach allows Chico State to smartly plan to grow enrollment in a challenging environment and enable us to optimize existing prospective student pools and expand into new areas.

We approach this holistically through integrated planning, the leveraging of technology, revising policies and procedures that present roadblocks, and more extensive use of data-informed decision-making. We are also strengthening our efforts to serve our socioeconomically and culturally diverse, predominately first-generation student body and our identity as a Hispanic-Serving Institute.

We envision enrollment as Job One for all employees of Chico State. We ask that each employee participates by reframing their everyday actions and more specific activities, as determined by our enrollment team leaders.