The clip above was taken from a webinar I presented last week – “You’re Probably Optimized.” The recording is still available if you’re interested in the broader context.
This month, on college campuses across the country, enrollment leaders are spending a lot of time with their discounting partner (or internal team) coming up with a new strategy for the next year. Presidents, cabinets, and boards are going to ask questions – digging in with the hopes that this year the discounting model will provide the increase in enrollment and revenue they need.
I don’t mean to conjure up Miss Cleo, but I am pretty sure I can predict the future for 90% of institutions in the US by saying: it won’t do that.
Each year, the higher education news media reports on the latest NACUBO discounting study. Each year, they have an impossible challenge: find a new way to say the exact same thing.
Sure, the numbers are different. But the trajectory is the same, and is utterly predictable.
In last month’s webinar, I raised this question: does anyone believe that things will be different when this article is written next spring?
I’ll raise the same question here – would any enrollment leader suggest that things will actually be different this year?
Of course not. Because we are all already doing this. With exceptions, of course, it’s safe to say that Colleges and Universities in the United States have done the work and are optimized, or nearly so.
There are no new pockets of enrollment potential in your admit pool that your discounting vendor hasn’t helped you to identify.
There are not significant examples of net revenue “left on the table” that you’ve looked for.
Which means, you’ll continue down this path, as will your competitors.
You may do it only because your competitors will.
Perhaps they’re only doing it because you will.
Either way, the trajectory, the story, and most importantly, the results, are unlikely to change with an updated discounting model.