Crafting a Class in Year Two of a Challenging Economy:
Put EMFASYS on Yield
Here’s the major question: After surviving last year, how will colleges and universities enroll this year’s class in ways that are financially sustainable? A first glance at the environment continues to look troubling, but you need not be a victim of circumstance. The key is to make sure that your operations are finely calibrated for this cycle, not the last one.
Here’s the answer: With predictive modeling and serious strategic consultation, you can act proactively and successfully with your financial aid awarding to place a real EMFASYS on yield.
Armed with expertise and experience gained from working with over 350 colleges and universities, Maguire Associates stands ready to collaborate with you to develop and implement strategies to help ensure that you deliver your desired first-year class.
Human Capital: The Maguire Associates Advantage
Our services are not out-of-the-box, “productized” offerings. With EMFASYS, 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 EMFASYS 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?
Enroll your class – and afford it, too
Enrollment decisions made by students and families are ultimately made in response to a combination of net cost – “How much will I pay out of my own pocket to enroll at your institution?” – and perceived value – “Is your institution worth what I have to pay?”
Maguire Associates will work closely with you through three essential stages and through the entire year – all the way to a successful enrolling class. We'll help you answer those questions for students and families in a way that positions you as their best choice come decision time.
- Understand the Past: Analyze Price Sensitivity. The first step towards optimizing your enrollment planning is a comprehensive analysis exploring whether and how your institution can award its financial aid more effectively. Without sufficiently detailed understanding of what has worked well and what has fallen short in the past, planning for the future is like running a marathon with your eyes closed – there’s no telling which direction to turn, how fast to run, or whether you can reach the finish line at your current pace.
EMFASYS™ (Enrollment Management Forecast Analysis System), our proven statistical model, will help identify not only how students at various levels of need and quality have accepted or declined your offer of admission in reaction to their net price, but also how much net revenue each category of enrolling students brought to the institution. The EMFASYS process begins with a thorough review of your financial aid awarding practices and an assessment of your prospective students’ price sensitivity – placing that information in the context of similar institutions, which provides you and your colleagues valuable insights into your student markets.
Not only do we focus with care on the intricacies of your institution, but we bring with us a broad knowledge of the marketplace and an ability to compare your results to many others. Our extensive experience navigating this process becomes your valuable asset.
- Envision a Possible Future: Tradeoffs and Difficult Choices. It is one thing to set goals based on what you want. It’s another to set goals based on evidence that demonstrates what is actually possible. Some institutions set targets for enrollment, test score average, discount rate, and class composition based on what is desirable or what budgets demand. However, an important component of sophisticated enrollment planning with Maguire Associates as a partner is uncovering the necessary tradeoffs.
The reality is that important enrollment metrics don’t move in tandem. You’re not trying to push a bunch of heavy objects all in the same direction. You’re trying to move a Rubik’s cube – the green row may be lined up today, but one turn changes everything.
If you want to be able to know what each different decision would mean to revenue and head count, for example, you need to create a simulation environment with a custom awarding model. Side by side with you, we evaluate your options, offer seasoned consultation, and help you identify what needs to happen in order to reach particular goals and how you can get there.
- Manage a Successful Present: Pick a Desirable Path. Unlike other more generic modeling offerings, Maguire Associates’ modeling and consulting approach is focused on supporting your institutional objectives – based on your mission, your identity, and your needs. We’ve worked with large and small public and private institutions, religiously affiliated institutions, and smaller specialty colleges – each of which has its own set of considerations and challenges. There’s no such thing as a cookie-cutter product at Maguire Associates (see sidebar on The Maguire Associates Advantage), and in our view, there’s no room for the generic when it comes to something as central and essential as enrollment yield and affordability for students.
Based on all that you learn from understanding your past, collaboratively sharing insights with us about the competitive landscape, and prioritizing the most important objectives through a process of reviewing options and making tradeoffs, the end result is that you’ll acquire the ability to select the awarding strategy that is truly the most meaningful and impactful for your institution – all while accumulating invaluable experience and knowledge for the many enrollment cycles still yet to come. And we’ll be with you the whole way to help you make it happen.
Take back control
As colleges and universities across the country work amidst trying circumstances to manage budgets in deficit, serve students with increasing financial need, and recruit prospective students in an ever more fragmented environment, there are few elements of the process that institutions can control. One crucial element of control is the strength of strategies focused on affordability and yielding a desirable mix of impressive talent and rich diversity.
Fiscal realities no longer allow institutions to rigidly parcel out financial aid as a budget management process in proportion to what the institution deems students deserve. Families no longer accept the notion that anyone other than themselves has the right to decide how much they “need” in order to decide to enroll at your institution.
It’s up to you to use the most effective tools to make your best offer, and financial aid has become the most powerful recruitment lever you can pull. Maguire Associates’ EMFASYS service is the higher education leader’s most effective, tested, and trusted method to help pull that lever in just the right way to be efficient, effective, and authentically you.
For more information about EMFASYS:
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