Your Higher Education Marketing Link of the Week… California Lutheran University: Sticker Shock Solution… 21 May 2021

Cal Lutheran’s Seldom Used Solution for Tuition and Fees “Sticker Shock”

California Lutheran UniversityFor near 30 years I’ve heard enrollment and financial aid professionals complain that too many potential students just don’t understand that few if any students at most schools actually pay the “sticker price” they see on an “undergraduate tuition and fees” website page. The formal price, they fear, may keep many people from seriously considering their college or university.

The problem is especially severe for private sector schools. How can we get them to understand how much less most students pay?

The Cal Lutheran solution…

Few schools use the California Lutheran solution: before displaying the formal prices that few pay, use a “Get Your Estimate” call at the top of the page to take visitors along to what they really want to know: How much will I pay at your school? Put the formal tuition and fees content further down on the page. Easy enough to see but not the first thing people will see. And thus, the “shock” is reduced. Maybe eliminated.

The exact opening words you can’t miss:

  • “97% of new students received financial aid last year. Learn about costs and financial aid options to see what you might actually pay.” And there’s the “Get Your Estimate” link to follow.

Fact is that at most schools you have to hunt about to find a link from the sticker price page to information on what you  might really expect to pay. At some schools, you’ll never find it. It isn’t there. You’ll have to “search” for scholarships or go backwards in the navigation to find the pathway. Some (many?) potential students won’t do that. They’ll just leave.

“What will I pay?”…

California Lutheran UniversityWhen you arrive at the nicely named “What will I pay?” page you can go right to the “net price calculator” to “Find My Estimate.” Or you might scroll down further on the page to see that the “average” financial aid package of scholarships, grants, and loans for new students was “$37,200” and that 97 percent of new students received some combination of scholarships and grants. That’s encouraging, but what you really want to know is “What will I pay?”

You might, after your visit here, never return to the “sticker price page.” That’s fine. That’s not the top task you came to the website to complete.

Follow the Link of the Week

Check an obvious but seldom used effort to counter tuition and fees “sticker shock” at Cal Lutheran’s page for “Undergraduate Tuition and Fees.”

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