HEOC assistant professor to study target communities of off-campus recruitment efforts by public research universities.
UCLA Assistant Professor of Education Ozan Jaquette has been awarded a postdoctoral fellowship by the National Academy of Education and the Spencer Foundation. The $70,000 fellowship will be used to support his research on the off-campus recruitment patterns of public research universities.
Jaquette, who teaches organizational theory and quantitative methods in HEOC in UCLA’s division of Higher Education & Organizational Change (HEOC), is examining the access to quality higher education for low-income communities that are often overlooked by campus recruiters.
“Unequal access to college is a persistent barrier to social mobility,” says Jaquette. “Policy discourse often blames students for not having high enough achievement or for not applying to the right schools but largely gives colleges and universities a free pass. The goal of the project is to figure out which communities that are being targeted for recruiting and which ones are not. That is a better indicator of their enrollment priorities than stated in their mission statements. The goal is to shift policy debates about access to higher education away from placing responsibility on families and students.
“The current policy debate says that low-income students don’t go to good schools because they don’t achieve highly enough and don’t apply to the selective schools,” he says. “So, the policy places the onus on students. But universities are purposeful about who they recruit; so the problem may be university preferences, not student decision making.”
Professor Jaquette argues that formal university policies to increase access may be public relations efforts, but knowing which schools and communities are targeted by universities’ recruiting efforts can yield concrete data about university enrollment preferences. A growing number of universities use Twitter to advertise off-campus recruiting events to high schools, community colleges, and local communities. Therefore, for the NAEd/Spencer Fellowship he will utilize Tweets posted by admissions recruiters at 40 public research universities to learn which communities are favored and which ones are ignored.
The NAEd/Spencer-supported study is informed by Jaquette’s prior research on public universities’ efforts to increase non-resident enrollment due to the greater revenue that out-of-state and international tuition can generate.
“I started noticing anecdotally that there is heavy off-campus recruiting in other states, generally focusing on affluent communities and private schools,” says Jaquette. “That got me thinking about whether universities were recruiting from nearby communities as aggressively.”
Prior to arriving at UCLA, Jaquette taught higher education finance at the University of Arizona, where he found that the campus aggressively recruited out-of-state students who were affluent but not academically high performers. In contrast, his local students tended to be “straight-A students from low-income communities [who] were not recruited at all. A community college would send them a brochure, and maybe a state university.”
In the future, Professor Jaquette hopes to study the role that marketing and enrollment management consultants play in higher education access.
“A huge consulting industry has emerged to help students identify and recruit ‘desirable prospects,’” he says. “I want to know which universities are hiring which firms and what impact these firms have on university enrollment management behaviors and access to higher education for under-served students.”
Jaquette served as the principal investigator for a study on “Exploring Change Over Time and Across Institutional Sectors in Student Loan Default and Title IV Financial Aid Revenues,” funded by the Spencer Foundation; and as project director on “Educational Experiences and Outcomes of High-Performing, Low-Income Students,” funded by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.
Professor Jaquette earned his doctorate in higher education from the University of Michigan, his master’s degree in social policy from Oxford University, and his bachelor’s degree in business economics from George Washington University. His most recent publications include the articles, “Creating the out-of-state university: Do public universities increase nonresident freshman enrollment in response to declining state appropriations?” for Research in Higher Education; “Tuition rich, mission poor: Nonresident enrollment growth and the socioeconomic and racial composition of public research universities,” for the Journal of Higher Education; and “Paying for default: Change over time in the share of federal financial aid sent to institutions with high student loan default rates” for the Journal of Student Financial Aid.
Courtesy of Ozan Jaquette