AP: KU increases efforts to recruit legacy students

10/10/2012

LAWRENCE (AP) — The University of Kansas Alumni Association has started working harder to recruit the children and grandchildren of graduates after a fourth straight year of overall enrollment declines.

LAWRENCE (AP) — The University of Kansas Alumni Association has started working harder to recruit the children and grandchildren of graduates after a fourth straight year of overall enrollment declines.

"It's not lost on anybody that enrollment's not growing, and that's not healthy for the university," said Kansas University Alumni Association president Kevin Corbett.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports that as part of the effort, the association has created a director of legacy relations position. Joy Maxwell began the job in July, coming to Lawrence from Overland Park, where she was organizing alumni activities in the Kansas City area. Before that, she worked in the University of Kansas' admissions office.

As of fall 2011, about 22 percent of KU's undergraduates were legacy students — a number Maxwell thinks is too low. She said legacy students are a far better recruitment bet than other out-of-staters, noting that they know at least something about the school and may have grown up watching the basketball team.

"It's putting your money and your resources where you think you have the best shot," Maxwell said.

Part of her job is to spread the word about a scholarship geared to out-of-state legacy students. The biggest award — $11,675 annually for four years — goes to students who get at least a 28 on the ACT or a 1250 on the SAT and high school grade-point average of 3.5 or higher.

Maxwell combs the association's records to identify alumni who have children nearing college age and sends them personalized packages. She also fields tips from alumni around the country about youths who might be interested in the university, even those who wouldn't qualify as legacy students, and passes them on to the admissions office. And she urges alumni to promote the university to prospective students.

"We don't have to pay alumni," Maxwell said with a laugh. "They all have their own story. They can all act as salespeople."

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