Now is the time for asking questions
about Pricing, Awarding, Messaging, and Recruiting
EMPROVE from Maguire Associates helps uncover the answers
The thick of the fall recruitment season is now upon us. For many institutions, this means the start of complex discussions about 2010-2011 tuition pricing and resource allocation for key enrollment functions such as admissions recruiting and financial aid awarding.
All institutions understandably rely on financial documents, historical evidence, and anecdotal input from experts throughout the organization to inform these discussions. In challenging times, however, these traditional sources of expertise and experience are often not enough to measure up to the difficult pricing and budgeting choices ahead. Tuition increase decisions may seem simple in concept, but such choices raise many interrelated operational questions such as:
Human Capital: The Maguire Associates Advantage
Our services are not out-of-the-box, “productized” offerings. With EMPROVE, you secure full access to Maguire Associates advisors and analysts around the clock. Our clients utilize us in this manner because they know we have seen every aspect of this business for over 25 years now – across many recessions – and trust us as a part of their institutional team.
Sure, it may be possible to find a piece of software or pre-packaged research or modeling from other firms that is slightly less expensive, at least in the short term. However, software and products contain only some of the pieces needed to solve complex problems and capitalize on serious opportunities. The most important resources are the people who stand behind services like EMPROVE and help you interpret, apply, adjust, and measure them every day.
You not only get new data, new information, and new knowledge when you collaborate with Maguire Associates, you get us, too – your human capital for investment in brainstorming, problem solving, troubleshooting, market analyses, or just plain talking things through as you shape the future direction of your institution. It’s a proven approach that generates better results, ensures greater accountability, and means less work and frustration on your end.
Now here’s a great question: How are you going to fit all of us in your office?
- How does our price shape our image in the marketplace?
- How do we build and sustain brand value that supports a given level of pricing?
- How can we increase revenue and meet student enrollment goals?
- How will price increases affect our discount rate?
- How price sensitive are our prospective students, and who among them are the most and least sensitive?
Customized and Timely Answers and Guidance
The EMPROVE – Pricing Optimization and Value Enhancement service integrates market research and financial aid modeling with highly collaborative, highly credible consulting that is too often missing from other approaches in the market today (See sidebar on The Maguire Associates Advantage).
The EMPROVE suite includes two core elements:
- Modeling Price Sensitivity: How much does money matter?
- A comprehensive analysis of your recent admission and enrollment outcomes;
- A statistical model – custom made from scratch, not generic like some other models – that identifies the factors and characteristics that are significantly related to the likelihood of a student choosing to enroll at your institution; and
- Trade-off scenarios that project outcomes based on changes to various drivers of enrollment, leading to a successful plan for first-year enrollment strategy.
Ultimately, you want to achieve an optimal price for your institution, one that resonates with your market while generating additional revenue. In the statistical modeling portion of EMPROVE, we help you accomplish this through powerful analyses that enable you to understand your institution's price sensitivity – how much your prospective students’ enrollment decisions can be influenced by the price you set and how key cohorts are influenced by net cost (after financial aid is awarded). This is how you can really know what institutional aid means to your market.
Then, using our proprietary predictive model, we work with you to envision a desired future enrolling class, creating statistical models of "what-if" scenarios. Learning what’s possible, what’s difficult, and what simply can’t be done with your current student application pool, we help identify and discuss what tradeoffs are necessary if you wish to, for example, increase class size, lower your discount rate, increase tuition, enroll more out-of-state students, or any combination of such aspirations and strategic priorities.
- Pricing and Value Market Research: What will influence students' willingness to pay?
- Testing different price points among sets of students and parents;
- Benchmarking tuition and discount rates against peer institutions;
- Identifying brand attributes and promises that drive perceptions of value, as well as application and enrollment tendencies; and
- Develop short and long-term pricing and value enhancement strategies.
Customized market research is essential for informing pricing decisions. Financial issues can serve as a barrier to a family's consideration of a college in at least two ways – their assessment of its affordability and their willingness to pay. Willingness to pay is associated with market value perceptions and expectations of return on an investment in your institution. As such, any comprehensive assessment of price sensitivity must include scientific analysis of student prioritization of a wide variety of academic and non-academic dimensions and their evaluations of your quality on those dimensions.
Multivariate techniques, such as regression and conjoint analysis, allow us to uncover forces "below the surface" that influence the opinions, decisions, and actions of families. These techniques consistently enable us to generate insights that far exceed a cursory look at the data, and help your institution build a long-term, evidence-based strategy for pricing and value enhancement.
Our analysis is translated into actionable recommendations that combine our customized research expertise with our more than 25 years in enrollment management.
Making the Best Choices
The reality is that there are never perfect options for managing your institution’s resources – setting tuition, creating authentic, engaging recruitment outreach efforts, and crafting mutually beneficial financial aid awarding strategies. These choices always present complex tradeoffs.
There is another clear reality, however, born of our 25 years serving higher education. It is that understanding the impact of various options before decisions are made provides far more effective control of institutional revenues and budgets in both the short- and long-terms.
So, what might this mean for you? We can all agree that there are no easy answers to questions of pricing, awarding, messaging, and recruiting, but there are wise choices. With EMPROVE, you can equip yourself with all of the best tools for making wise, evidence-based decisions in the stewardship of your institution. With our entire team at your side and on your side, you will be well positioned to make insightful, innovative choices that advance your higher education institution.
For more information about EMPROVE, Email Us, Call us at 978-371-1775,
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