Mid-America Christian University overhauled its enrollment services this week in a move university officials say will help manage growth.
The university eliminated its enrollment management division, outsourcing that department's services to Cincinnati-based education consulting firm Hobsons.
Hobsons will be forming similar partnerships with other universities both in the U.S. and abroad.
Buddy Shoe, Mid-America's former vice president of enrollment management, will be heading up a division of the consulting firm.
He left his position at Mid-America in April.
The move took effect Sunday, with the beginning of the new fiscal year. The university's President John Fozard said outsourcing the department would save the university about $5.5 million annually.
Eliminating the department meant laying off 44 university employees, Shoe said. Hobsons hired 33 of them.
Part of the reason for the move is the rapid enrollment growth the university has seen in recent years, Fozard said.
The university's enrollment has more than doubled in the past three years, rising from 762 students in the fall semester of 2009 to 2,050 this year.
The university hopes to see that growth continue, Fozard said. University officials hope to reach a total enrollment of 5,000 by 2016 and 10,000 by 2020.
Those goals include online students, who make up roughly 75 percent of the university's enrollment.
As a part of its agreement with the university, Hobsons will be opening one satellite campus on the university's behalf each year. Those campuses will be patterned after the university's north campus.
Located at NE 122 and Broadway Extension, the university's north campus opened last year. The campus only offers evening courses for working adult students.
Shoe said the firm is already working on a satellite campus in Dallas. The university has a strong recruiting presence in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, he said, so the area is a natural fit for a campus.
University officials have looked at a number of other areas, including Nashville, Tenn., as candidates for satellite campuses, Fozard said. University officials are also considering a number of other locations in the eastern part of the country.
The university also hopes to place satellite campuses overseas, Fozard said.
Because Hobsons has operations based in Australia and the United Kingdom, the firm is in a position to be able to help the university with that goal, he said.