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AFFORDABILITY & FINANCIAL
AID COMMUNICATION
©ROBERTE. JOHNSON, PH.D.2016
Improving Your Strategic Recruitment
Communicatio...
Two Opening Questions…
• Old style “financial
aid” speak is dead.
• Why is talking about
price
• and cost
• and affordabil...
COST AND
AFFORDABILITY…
You can’t beat “sticker price” fear.
What is “affordable” to one family is
not “affordable” to ano...
A NEW AFFORDABILITY
ENVIRONMENT
Major media attention…
“Sticker price” shock will remain.
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 4
“How to pay for college” search trend…
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 5
Chronicle of Higher Education…
http://bit.ly/1l3n516
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 6
And in the financial media…
http://time.com/money/3768807/co
llege-living-costs/?xid=tcoshare
http://www.cnbc.com/id/10252...
From the Department of Education…
http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 8
Debate over the ability to compare…
http://nyti.ms/1PRKrjZ
College Abacus… New York Times in 2016
Bob Johnson Consulting, ...
MEETING STUDENT
EXPECTATIONS…
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 10
What do students want from you?
http://bit.ly/1RC625M
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 11
Ruffalo Noel-Levitz 2013 report…
http://bit.ly/1PHWFzx
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 12
How easy to find your NPC?
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 13
Where people expect to find it…
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 14
Does your NPC include scholarships?
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 15
What impact on enrollment?
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 16
Start on email, move to personal…
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 17
CONVERSION
COMMUNICATIONS
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 18
Channel mix…
• Website content at the start as students begin to
explore choices.
• After an inquiry, use the channel pref...
Timing and frequency (1)…
• Start at first contact using top task rationale
• After an online inquiry or other inquiry sou...
Timing and frequency (2)…
• At and after FAFSA filing time
• After receipt of SAR (if new to the database):
• Contact with...
COMMUNICATING
AFFORDABILITY:
THE PRIVATE SECTOR
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 22
WELLESLEY COLLEGE
7 “Basic financial questions” to a
FAFSA-free EFC estimate.
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 23
Before the NPC, a “quick” first step…
http://www.wellesley.edu/admission/affordable/myintuition
Bob Johnson Consulting, LL...
#1… Demographics
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 25
#2… Total family income
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 26
#3… Home equity
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 27
#4… Savings & checking accounts
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 28
#5… IRAs, 401Ks and such (optional)
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 29
#6… Value of investments
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 30
#7… Other children in college
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 31
Your expected family contribution…
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 32
CALVIN COLLEGE
Speaking in clear language to
“Families just like yours.”
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 33
Taking on “sticker price” syndrome…
http://www.calvin.edu/offices-services/financial-aid/affordability/
Bob Johnson Consul...
Families of all income levels…
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 35
“Sticker price” and “Actual cost”
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 36
Loan level & success after graduation…
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 37
Touting a low loan default rate…
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 38
COMMUNICATING
AFFORDABILITY:
THE PUBLIC SECTOR
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 39
UCLA
Clear intro to types of financial aid.
Emphasis on low in-state sticker
price.
44% of students pay no tuition.
Bob Jo...
Ask the question: Can I Afford UCLA?
http://www.ucla.edu/admission/affordability
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 41
EASTERN KENTUCKY
UNIVERSITY
4-Step Scholarship Estimator.
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 42
If you offer “merit” aid…
http://scholarships.eku.edu/estimator
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 43
COMPARING TUITION
COSTS
University of Texas – Austin
University of Wisconsin - Superior
Austin Community College
Bob Johns...
University of Texas at Austin…
http://www.utexas.edu/tuition/national.html
State residents… Out-of-state students…
Bob Joh...
University of Wisconsin-Superior…
http://www.uwsuper.edu/admissions/cost/compare-tuition-and-cost.cfm
Bob Johnson Consulti...
Austin Community College…
http://www.austincc.edu/tuition-and-financial-aid/compare-costs
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 47
EXPLAIN FINANCIALAID IN
NORMAL HUMAN
LANGUAGE
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 48
A glossary on your site…
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 49
The devil is in the detail…
• Net Price Calculator defined:
• “A tool to estimate financial aid eligibility at Williams
ba...
AT THE END…
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 51
4 key communication points…
• Cost & affordability are key concerns you can’t
ignore.
• To increase inquiries and campus v...
THANKS FOR BEING
HERE IN ATLANTA!
Bob Johnson, Ph.D. (248.766.6425)
bob@bobjohnsonconsulting.com
www.bobjohnsonconsulting....
APPENDIX 1:
MORE PRIVATE SECTOR
EXAMPLES
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 54
AMERICAN UNIVERSITY
Reducing tuition increases and merit
aid.
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 55
American U. gets serious…
http://www.american.edu/initiatives/collegeaffordability/
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 56
UNIVERSITY OF
FINDLAY
5 affordability myths.
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 57
Private sector cost mythology…
http://www.findlay.edu/offices/student/financialaid/Affordability-Myths
Bob Johnson Consult...
APPENDIX 2: MORE TUITION
COST COMPARISONS
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 59
State College of Florida…
http://www.scf.edu/StudentServices/Tuition/TuitionandFeesComparison.asp
Bob Johnson Consulting, ...
Elgin Community College…
http://elgin.edu/students.aspx?id=148
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 61
Mott Community College…
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 62
Ashworth in the for-profit sector…
https://www.ashworthcollege.edu/tuition/how-we-compare/
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 63
Texas Woman’s University…
http://www.twu.edu/costs/cost-comparison/
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 64
Nicolet College…
http://www.nicoletcollege.edu/future-student/high-school/comparing-costs/
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 65
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Affordabillity & Financial Aid Communication

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You cannot run and hide from today's interest in college cost and affordability. Making sure your that both your affordability message and your financial aid communication are strong and clear in the eyes of two key audiences—potential students and parents— is key to moving admitted students through the final stage of the recruitment cycle, and getting them to deposit and enroll. Emphasizing timing, frequency, and channel, this presentation offers insights into successful affordability and financial aid communication strategies.

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Affordabillity & Financial Aid Communication

  1. 1. AFFORDABILITY & FINANCIAL AID COMMUNICATION ©ROBERTE. JOHNSON, PH.D.2016 Improving Your Strategic Recruitment Communications Plan Academic Impressions Atlanta, GA June 6-8, 2016 Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 1
  2. 2. Two Opening Questions… • Old style “financial aid” speak is dead. • Why is talking about price • and cost • and affordability • and debt… • About as popular has getting a root canal? • Is this marketing smart? Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 2
  3. 3. COST AND AFFORDABILITY… You can’t beat “sticker price” fear. What is “affordable” to one family is not “affordable” to another. “Fill out the FAFSA” is not an answer. Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 3
  4. 4. A NEW AFFORDABILITY ENVIRONMENT Major media attention… “Sticker price” shock will remain. Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 4
  5. 5. “How to pay for college” search trend… Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 5
  6. 6. Chronicle of Higher Education… http://bit.ly/1l3n516 Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 6
  7. 7. And in the financial media… http://time.com/money/3768807/co llege-living-costs/?xid=tcoshare http://www.cnbc.com/id/10252039 7 Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 7
  8. 8. From the Department of Education… http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/ Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 8
  9. 9. Debate over the ability to compare… http://nyti.ms/1PRKrjZ College Abacus… New York Times in 2016 Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 9
  10. 10. MEETING STUDENT EXPECTATIONS… Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 10
  11. 11. What do students want from you? http://bit.ly/1RC625M Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 11
  12. 12. Ruffalo Noel-Levitz 2013 report… http://bit.ly/1PHWFzx Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 12
  13. 13. How easy to find your NPC? Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 13
  14. 14. Where people expect to find it… Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 14
  15. 15. Does your NPC include scholarships? Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 15
  16. 16. What impact on enrollment? Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 16
  17. 17. Start on email, move to personal… Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 17
  18. 18. CONVERSION COMMUNICATIONS Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 18
  19. 19. Channel mix… • Website content at the start as students begin to explore choices. • After an inquiry, use the channel preferred by the student if known. • Text, phone, email, letter. • If preferred channel not known, default to email. • For a financial aid award: • Letter for the award. • Selected prospects: phone call after the award letter. Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 19
  20. 20. Timing and frequency (1)… • Start at first contact using top task rationale • After an online inquiry or other inquiry source… • Two or three times during a 3 to 6 month inquiry cycle is not too often… assuming weekly email contact. • Include link to Net Price Calculator or similar estimator. • During a campus visit • After an application or admission • After receiving an application • For April 1 admissions • After an admissions decision • For rolling admissions Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 20
  21. 21. Timing and frequency (2)… • At and after FAFSA filing time • After receipt of SAR (if new to the database): • Contact within one week • After a financial aid award letter is sent: • Contact within one week • If you cannot contact everyone: • Contact by your recruitment priority: • Desired major • Enrollment probability • Ability to pay • Out-of-state students Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 21
  22. 22. COMMUNICATING AFFORDABILITY: THE PRIVATE SECTOR Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 22
  23. 23. WELLESLEY COLLEGE 7 “Basic financial questions” to a FAFSA-free EFC estimate. Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 23
  24. 24. Before the NPC, a “quick” first step… http://www.wellesley.edu/admission/affordable/myintuition Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 24
  25. 25. #1… Demographics Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 25
  26. 26. #2… Total family income Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 26
  27. 27. #3… Home equity Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 27
  28. 28. #4… Savings & checking accounts Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 28
  29. 29. #5… IRAs, 401Ks and such (optional) Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 29
  30. 30. #6… Value of investments Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 30
  31. 31. #7… Other children in college Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 31
  32. 32. Your expected family contribution… Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 32
  33. 33. CALVIN COLLEGE Speaking in clear language to “Families just like yours.” Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 33
  34. 34. Taking on “sticker price” syndrome… http://www.calvin.edu/offices-services/financial-aid/affordability/ Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 34
  35. 35. Families of all income levels… Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 35
  36. 36. “Sticker price” and “Actual cost” Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 36
  37. 37. Loan level & success after graduation… Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 37
  38. 38. Touting a low loan default rate… Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 38
  39. 39. COMMUNICATING AFFORDABILITY: THE PUBLIC SECTOR Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 39
  40. 40. UCLA Clear intro to types of financial aid. Emphasis on low in-state sticker price. 44% of students pay no tuition. Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 40
  41. 41. Ask the question: Can I Afford UCLA? http://www.ucla.edu/admission/affordability Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 41
  42. 42. EASTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY 4-Step Scholarship Estimator. Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 42
  43. 43. If you offer “merit” aid… http://scholarships.eku.edu/estimator Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 43
  44. 44. COMPARING TUITION COSTS University of Texas – Austin University of Wisconsin - Superior Austin Community College Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 44
  45. 45. University of Texas at Austin… http://www.utexas.edu/tuition/national.html State residents… Out-of-state students… Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 45
  46. 46. University of Wisconsin-Superior… http://www.uwsuper.edu/admissions/cost/compare-tuition-and-cost.cfm Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 46
  47. 47. Austin Community College… http://www.austincc.edu/tuition-and-financial-aid/compare-costs Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 47
  48. 48. EXPLAIN FINANCIALAID IN NORMAL HUMAN LANGUAGE Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 48
  49. 49. A glossary on your site… Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 49
  50. 50. The devil is in the detail… • Net Price Calculator defined: • “A tool to estimate financial aid eligibility at Williams based on family finances. The Net Price Calculator is the best source of early financial aid information for college planning. If you have a complicated financial situation and are unsure how to answer certain questions on the Net Price Calculator, please feel free to give us a call.” • Make this work better with… • Link to the NPC. • And a phone number to call… right here! Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 50
  51. 51. AT THE END… Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 51
  52. 52. 4 key communication points… • Cost & affordability are key concerns you can’t ignore. • To increase inquiries and campus visits: • Create website content that genuinely addresses fears people have. • And make sure people can find it. • To increase applications: • Use inquiry-stage email to introduce “affordability” content. • To increase deposits: • Follow-up financial aid awards with personal contact to review/explain details. Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 52
  53. 53. THANKS FOR BEING HERE IN ATLANTA! Bob Johnson, Ph.D. (248.766.6425) bob@bobjohnsonconsulting.com www.bobjohnsonconsulting.com @highedmarketing on Twitter Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC... @highedmarketing 53
  54. 54. APPENDIX 1: MORE PRIVATE SECTOR EXAMPLES Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 54
  55. 55. AMERICAN UNIVERSITY Reducing tuition increases and merit aid. Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 55
  56. 56. American U. gets serious… http://www.american.edu/initiatives/collegeaffordability/ Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 56
  57. 57. UNIVERSITY OF FINDLAY 5 affordability myths. Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 57
  58. 58. Private sector cost mythology… http://www.findlay.edu/offices/student/financialaid/Affordability-Myths Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 58
  59. 59. APPENDIX 2: MORE TUITION COST COMPARISONS Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 59
  60. 60. State College of Florida… http://www.scf.edu/StudentServices/Tuition/TuitionandFeesComparison.asp Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 60
  61. 61. Elgin Community College… http://elgin.edu/students.aspx?id=148 Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 61
  62. 62. Mott Community College… Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 62
  63. 63. Ashworth in the for-profit sector… https://www.ashworthcollege.edu/tuition/how-we-compare/ Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 63
  64. 64. Texas Woman’s University… http://www.twu.edu/costs/cost-comparison/ Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 64
  65. 65. Nicolet College… http://www.nicoletcollege.edu/future-student/high-school/comparing-costs/ Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 65

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