GEM Resources

The Mission of NAGAP is to engage and advance Graduate Enrollment Management Professionals by promoting excellence and collaboration through education, research, and professional development.

In order to establish the best practices of graduate enrollment management (GEM) and to formalize the GEM field, NAGAP’s Research and Global Issues Committee conducted a multi-layered research study to discover, clarify, and record themes regarding GEM practitioners’ perception of GEM and how GEM fits within their institution’s strategic enrollment management system.

The researchers believe identifying best practices for GEM may be beneficial in creating visibility with senior leadership and facilitating knowledge of the similarities and differences between enrollment management at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Having a clear, consistent, and commonly accepted understanding of GEM can provide insights to inform institutions’ strategic planning processes.

Below you will find resources created as part of this initiative.

 Definition of GEM

One Sentence Definition:

Graduate enrollment management (GEM) is a systematic approach to managing the graduate student lifecycle from initial awareness to alumna/alumnus by integrating the core functions associated with the enrollment and support of a graduate student.

Expanded Definition:

Graduate enrollment management (GEM) represents a comprehensive approach to the methods by which an institution recruits, admits, supports, retains, and graduates post-baccalaureate students in their respective degree programs.  This dynamic paradigm includes codependent functions working congruently to strategically manage overall enrollment levels and the student experience.  These include enrollment planning, marketing, recruitment and admissions, academic advising, financial aid, student services, retention, and alumni relations. 

Regardless of staffing levels, utilizing an integrated interdependence model in GEM may create an environment whereby cross-trained professionals in a graduate office are able to support a student throughout their time at the institution.  This approach creates an environment that sustains differentiated student experiences.

GEM organizational structures have multiple models that range from decentralized to centralized, including a number of hybrid models, such as a centralized GEM office that works collaboratively with other decentralized departments. Two emerging concepts support institutional priorities that address various resource limitations, while simultaneously focusing on the student’s experience and the institution’s competitive advantage:

Integrated Interdependence Model:  

Integrated Interdependence Nexus Model:


Integrated Interdependence: The Emergence of Graduate Enrollment Management

NAGAP’s Research and Global Issues Committee has summarized the findings of a recent research study into a white paper.


AS U.S. COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES continue to grapple with rising tuition costs, increasing competition for scarce resources, and calls for more accountability (Selingo, 2013), institutions may look to strategically examine how to best recruit and retain students. At the forefront of enrollment is recruiting and admissions. At the graduate level, creating a full service graduate enrollment management (GEM) student lifecycle support operation with knowledge-based expertise in enrollment planning, data analytics, budgeting, advising, registering students, and financial aid is critical to both programmatic and institutional viability. The emerging concept of GEM may improve productivity, continuity and, above all else, create a differentiated student experience. This is especially challenging given that services for graduate students have been traditionally under-resourced as compared to undergraduate education and the GEM sector is only beginning to be formalized (Williams, 2008).

Download the full white paper here: Integrated Interdependence: The Emergence of Graduate Enrollment Management (GEM)

GEM Organizational Structures: Case Studies

NAGAP members discuss their experience working in an integrated graduate enrollment management environment.

These case studies represent a cross-section of institutions large and small, both public and private, that have taken steps toward integrating and addressing the comprehensive needs of graduate students through one office, rather than with individual offices across a university each handling a different segment of the student lifecycle.

Each of the institutions in these case studies handled the implementation of a unified graduate enrollment management plan differently and find there to be different strong points and benefits relating to their workflow and processes.

View summaries of the Case Studies


What is the Model in Your Office?

Do you have a case study of GEM in action? Please contact us at [email protected]

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