The clip above was taken from a webinar I presented last month – “You’re Probably Optimized.” The recording is still available if you’re interested in the broader context.
Look, I love discounting firms. I’ve worked with several of them, and their work is critical to the ongoing success of institutions. You must work to ensure your aid strategy is optimized.
I believe you’ve done that. If not, you’d be getting swamped out by your competitors who no doubt are doing that.
A new, tweaked, or streamlined discounting strategy, once you are optimized (or nearly so) , has only nominal potential to increase enrollment or revenue.
Definitionally, if the previous statement doesn’t apply, then you weren’t optimized to begin with.
Yet, here we are in August, and institutions are paying more attention than they should to what the new discounting model will be. Boards and cabinets have been trained to understand the importance of this … but they’re trailing on the uptick.
Enrollment leaders have come to see this, and embrace it, long ago. Because of that, the benefit for most institutions has already been realized.
If your institution was the first in your competitor set to embrace financial aid optimization, you had a genuine competitive advantage. Now, the best you can hope for is not to be set at a competitive disadvantage.
When evaluating the proper role of discounting in addressing the enrollment challenges in 2023, after you’re optimized, it’s best to think of it as a defensive strategy, not offensive.
If you don’t do it well, you’ll lose ground. But once you’re doing it, each year you refresh the model, you’re just keeping up.