By The Gatepost Editorial Board
Since the Fall 2014 Semester, Framingham State’s undergraduate enrollment has dropped by 36%, according to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (MDHE).
Between the Fall 2021 Semester and the Fall 2022 Semester, Framingham State lost 243 undergraduates, according to MDHE. This is an approximate 8% decline in students.
Clearly, FSU has had an enrollment problem for some time, and granted, efforts are being made to fix it, but this is not enough.
We’ve seen the concepts for the new marketing campaign, and neither of them looks promising.
The two brand concepts presented in a survey that was shared with the Framingham State community as well as some prospective students are, “Proudly Public, Personally Transformative,” and, “We, the Future.”
We acknowledge that these are only ideas and the University may only end up using parts of these concepts or even neither of them at all.
And frankly, we recommend the latter.
The first concept’s main focus is Framingham State being a public institution.
How does that make us any different than our eight sister institutions that are also public and located in Massachusetts?
Being proud that we are public is great. Of course we are and we should be.
However, this does not give us an edge over the other higher education institutions in this state that are not only public, but are promoting their other qualities that make them exceptional places for students to get a degree.
The second brand concept is a strange approach to the University’s marketing.
Part of the concept states, “There’s a seismic shift taking place here at Framingham, and it’s changing who benefits from higher education.”
Is there a fault line underneath FSU that we didn’t know about?
This sounds like some sort of science experiment.
The one positive that comes from this branding concept is, “We, the ones who embrace the opportunities presented by this public university.”
This is the value of getting an education at Framingham State.
This University provides us with so many opportunities that enhance the education here. However, none of that matters without the conviction to embrace those opportunities.
We at The Gatepost have emphasized this for years in our editorials.
Engagement is everything.
We are happy the University is taking steps to fix our enrollment problems, but if this is the best we can come up with, then the future of this University remains uncertain.
In addition to embracing opportunities, we should also be emphasizing our small class sizes and the close relationships students are able to develop with their professors.
We should be celebrating our students and what they are able to accomplish at this University.
The administration should also be considering what marketing opportunities are available on campus.
We should be taking advantage of our academic Marketing Department and encourage those students to come up with brand concepts.
Make it a capstone project.
Make it a contest.
The students at this University are brilliant, and who knows the value of this institution better than the students themselves?
Framingham State is an amazing institution with so many opportunities and qualities that make it worthwhile.
However, no prospective student is going to know that if we are not properly marketing that to them.