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Enrollment Matters

Mary Piccioli is an enrollment management consultant at Scannell & Kurz.

With freshman discount rates once again on the rise, it will be more important than ever for institutions to review whether their methodologies for developing a budget for financial aid are sufficiently robust.

Using a cohort-based budget approach is critical for understanding the implications of replacing a “cheaper” senior class with a more heavily discounted freshman class.

Bill Berg is an enrollment management consultant at Scannell & Kurz, a RuffaloCODY company.

A family’s willingness to pay for a college education relies heavily on an institution’s ability to articulate return on investment. Discounting tuition through scholarships and other financial aid is the most common approach to increasing a college’s perceived value, as these strategies reduce the net cost to the family.

Mike Sapienza

The variety of challenges facing enrollment leaders are well documented: changing demographics, increased competition for students, scarce outcome data— and the list goes on. Resources are also limited, and so it is critically important for enrollment managers to measure the ROI of the initiatives they take and then adjust as necessary.

Jennifer Wick is vice president of Scannell & Kurz higher education enrollment consultants, a Ruffalo Cody company.

Fueled by government agendas, national press and public opinion, higher education has in recent years come under increased scrutiny in the form of calls for heightened transparency and accountability.

Some of the U.S. Department of Education’s initiatives in response include:

Aaron Mahl is a consultant with Scannell & Kurz.

For many, Jan. 1 signifies a day of great college football bowl games, highly caloric leftover holiday food, and time with family and friends ringing in the New Year. However, for those working in financial aid offices at colleges or universities across the country, the start of the new year signals the beginning of financial aid season.

Bill Berg is an enrollment management consultant at Scannell & Kurz, a RuffaloCODY company.

The often-used businesses term “right-sizing” has in recent years become common in higher education. Though sometimes used as a euphemism for “downsizing,” it more rightly refers to an effort to optimize enrollment, human resources, programs and facilities—in other words, fixed costs.

There are a host of factors that should go into the analysis when an institution is attempting to match demand with its capacity to meet that demand.

Three separate surveys suggest that students and parents give strong consideration to advertised price. (Click to enlarge)

Have net price calculators, merit scholarships and tuition discounts rendered sticker price meaningless? Not according to numerous surveys on the topic.

The findings of three separate surveys over the past two years on the topic of cost and decision to apply suggest that students and parents give strong consideration to advertised price. A 2012 studentPOLL survey, a joint venture between the College Board and Art & Science Group, reported that more than one-half of families ruled out colleges based on sticker price alone.

Aaron Mahl is an enrollment management consultant at Scannell & Kurz.

Although managing enrollment efforts has never been easy, it was not that long ago when the traditional funnel was somewhat predictable.

As an admissions counselor in my early days, I could easily work backward to set goals for my territory, starting with my goal for the number of enrolled students. I then used historical data and three-year trends to forecast the number of admits, applicants and inquiries needed from my territory to achieve the goal.

Fewer and fewer institutions are meeting students’ financial need. Per The College Board’s “Trends in College Pricing 2013,” the average net tuition and fee price for students attending four-year public institutions increased by an estimated $1,180 (in 2013 dollars) between 2009-10 and 2013-14.

Jacqueline Gregory is director of enrollment management marketing for RuffaloCODY.

These days, institutions can’t say they fully “control” their recruitment and enrollment process—but they can adjust to how prospective students and their families are navigating it.