The Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice (CERPP) at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles analyzes enrollment issues through the critical perspectives of social science researchers, policymakers, and college and university practitioners. The creation of the center is rooted in the belief that college admission, student financial aid, and degree completion processes must become better informed, more expertly practiced, and more equitable. Moreover, the impacts of these processes must be better understood. To these ends, CERPP brings together individuals and groups to examine college enrollment issues and practices and better meet the collective needs of students, institutions, and society.
The USC Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice intends to facilitate a more knowledgeable, professional, and socially conscious academy through a number of activities. For instance, the center provides forums such as organized events, on-line communities, and written publications that allow scholars and practitioners to share their perspectives and generate ideas beneficial to the study and practice of enrollment issues.
In addition, the center seeks to conduct and sponsor research that is intellectually worthy and useful for practitioners. CERPP’s directors serve as the principal investigators for multiple research endeavors. The center also supports research by renowned and emerging scholars and publishes and disseminates findings from its original and sponsored projects to ensure these efforts have a direct and lasting impact on students, institutions, and society.
Further, the center intends to expand knowledge and expertise within the field of enrollment management. For too long, enrollment professionals have been without a formalized training mechanism, with many practitioners strictly learning from experience. CERPP seeks to ensure that current and emerging enrollment professionals are well-versed with regard to enrollment issues and effective methods for traversing the ever-changing higher education landscape as they aim to meet the needs of students and contribute to the wellbeing of society. The center is examining how to utilize new educational avenues, such as distance education, to help practitioners develop and hone their professional skills. Ultimately, both young and seasoned professionals will have the opportunity to benefit from a learning curriculum created and implemented by educators knowledgeable of the opportunities and challenges within the field, as well as the best, newest, and most important practices.
Finally, the USC Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice aspires to serve as a central hub for information relating to enrollment issues with the capacity to inform institutional, state, and national policy development. In effect, CERPP is at the forefront of collective efforts to improve access to higher education and maximize student success.
Today in America, a laser-like light is focused on the point of college access. National and state policymakers, college and university leaders, public education officials, national and local media, and parents and students alike view the college admission process as a gateway to future prosperity, health, security, and satisfaction. Why is the admissions office door the focus of all these hopes and dreams? What barriers exist within admissions processes that continue to separate many Americans from the opportunities and benefits of higher education? And, what can be done from an enrollment management standpoint to improve college access and facilitate success by way of persistence and graduation?