Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… June 2021

June… The National College Decision Day May 1 deposit deadline is well past now and many (most?) colleges and universities recruiting high school students will continue their efforts through this next month. May your “melt” be limited and your additions what you need.

A recent survey of high school juniors reported that 75 percent felt they would not be admitted to a college without taking an ACT or SAT test.

  • That gives cover to schools that suspended the test result requirement for COVID to reinstate the practice. Public universities in Georgia have already done that.
  • Fact is we need more marketing transparency in college admissions so that students realize it is not difficult to gain entry to most schools.
  • Most admit more than 50 percent of applicants. Many admit more than 75 percent. Few promote that on their websites. If you want to reduce stress, do this.

A Link of the Week in May drew more opens and clicks than usual by a fair margin. If you missed it go to
Cal Lutheran’s Seldom Used Solution for Tuition and Fees ‘Sticker Shock’”.

Gerry McGovern continues his series on “Top Tasks Questions and Answers” on June 8. Ask Gerry any question you have on how to stop your website visitors from getting nibbled to death by tiny tasks. Register at “Top Tasks Questions and Answers.”

Join 872 higher education professionals on the members-only Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content group at LinkedIn. Request membership at

Follow along with 7,200+ people for my daily marketing updates on Twitter.

Forward this newsletter to a friend. Only email required here to subscribe for a personal copy.

And now, your news and notes for June.
Cartoon of the Month: “Back to normal” in a post-pandemic world

Tom Fishburne reminds us this month that “50% of US consumers expect brands to retain and improve upon pandemic conveniences… from e-commerce to online education to remote healthcare.”

Spark discussion on your campus about where a “back to normal” approach might have a negative impact on enrollment efforts when everyone reads “Back to Normal.”
Student Recruitment: Ranking Importance of 14 Criteria for Online Students

The folks at Terminal Four have done a nice summary of Wiley Education Services research into what motivates students searching for online programs. Special attention to most important factor of “Affordability” (51 percent) compared to “Reputation of the school/program” in second place (36%).

Finishing in 14th spot: “Alumni achievements” at 4 percent.

Rapid response time after an inquiry is critical: 21 percent completed an application in “less than 2 weeks” and 26 percent in “2-4 weeks” after starting their search.

More from the annual Wiley research report at “How have attitudes to online learning in 2020 impacted 2021 student recruitment?
Student Recruitment: Survey Results from High School Juniors

From a joint project of Niche and Tudor Collegiate Strategies you can quickly check 6 primary results and then move along to more detailed findings.

One point that stood out: 34 percent of the students reported starting their college search in their freshman or sophomore years (“or earlier”) and 25 percent had already “narrowed down my list of schools” by their junior year.”

Many were not impressed with the quality of the communication contacts already experienced: only 16 percent felt that responses to their inquiries were personalized. Most felt that information sent was “very transactional, impersonal, generic, and mass message sounding.” In other words, there is competitive advantage to be gained from investing in initial contacts that focus on know special interests. Academic program interest, for example, is something that almost all schools ignore now although it is routinely asked on inquiry forms.

More from high school juniors at “2021 Survey of Juniors Searching for College.”
Tuition Discounting: NACUBO reports a COVID Acceleration

Tuition discounting at 361 private sector colleges and universities increases to a record 2020 average of
53.9 percent for freshmen and 48.1 percent for all undergraduates NACUBO reported in May.

That the rate increased is no surprise. For first-time students it has increased every year since the 44.3 percent average for 2011-2012. The “all undergraduates” rate dipped in two of those years since at a 38.6 percent rate in 2011-2012.

Net tuition and fee revenue reported by these schools declined.

More from NACUBO at “Private College Tuition Discounting Continued Upward Trend During COVID-19 Pandemic.”
Student Recruitment: Impact of Financial Aid Jargon

Communicating with potential students about financial aid opportunities and processes might be the most difficult part of a new student communication plan.

Jens Larson reviews the perils and pitfalls in an 11-point Twitter thread. Jens starts with “Any jargon—literally anything at all—will throw a student off their game” ands with “If you’re not texting students, you’re doing communications wrong.”

Compare your financial aid communications with Jens’ insightful review.
Community Colleges: Pros and Cons of Offering Bachelor’s Degrees

Community colleges can now offer bachelor’s degrees in 24 states, under various guidelines and restrictions. Arizona is the latest and is the Focus of a new Forbes article.

Restrictions typically are placed on the type of degrees that can be offered, the geographic region, and the cost. In Arizona, for instance, the rules are not the same for the counties that are home to Arizona and Arizona State universities.

Personally, I support allowing community colleges to add bachelor’s degrees that are extensions of the associate degree programs offered. But for sure, not everyone agrees. See the “pros” and the “cons” and the states where bachelor’s degrees are now available at community colleges at “The Community College Bachelor’s Degree Continues to Grow.”
Social Media Marketing: Improving YouTube SEO Results

Desiree Martinez walks us through a variety of steps that will help increase the marketing impact your YouTube videos.

My favorite seems obvious, but is it? Create videos to answer the questions included in your FAQ sections (at least the ones you know draw visitor attention). Even better, ask your admissions counselors what questions they get most often as they speak with potential students. Craft video titles that include that answer those questions. Use the language that the students use in the titles. Kill the jargon.

More on how to craft marketing videos that work at “YouTube SEO: How to Rank in YouTube Search.”
Legacy Admissions: Colorado Says No

New Colorado legislation will ban legacy admissions at public universities.

The “publics” did not oppose the rule. CASE, on the other hand, did not think this was a good idea and countered with 3 reasons why legacy admissions are a good thing, related to freeing up financial aid resources and a better ability to predict who will enroll.

Will other states adopt similar legislation? No rush has been reported yet. More at “Legacy Admissions Banned in Colorado.”
Most Popular in May Newsletter: COVID-19 and high school students in Fall 2021

Most students in this Carnegie Dartlett survey plan to enroll somewhere in fall 2021.

  • 65 percent expect to be vaccinated. Only 12 percent will refuse if required to enroll.
  • Social distancing and mask requirements are not a problem for most students.
  • Only 3 percent anticipate delaying enrollment past September.
  • “No confidence” and “Low confidence” in ability to pay is high.

View and download the 24-page report at “Fall 2021 COVID-19 Impact.”
Be a marketing champion on your campus.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *