Weathering a Year of Increased Student Price Sensitivity

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Jon Boeckenstedt, associate vice president of enrollment management at DePaul University, and Joseph Russo, director of student financial strategies at the University of Notre Dame, offer advice on assessing price sensitivity as you look to weather the next year.

What No One Should Be Doing

Boeckenstedt advises against one common scenario in which a cabinet member asks enrollment management to begin with expenditure assumptions and then determine how much tuition must increase to meet the expenditures. Now more than ever, Boeckenstedt suggests, universities must assess what their market is willing to pay for the services they are offering. You may be charging too much (and straining your financial aid resources to take up the slack), or you may be charging too little. You need to know. You also need to distinguish between price sensitivity for different schools (for example, your business school versus your school of education) and for different classes (it may be advisable to consider distinct fee increases for freshmen versus returning students).

"Identify what you can reasonably charge and then decide what you can do with that revenue. Don't start with how much you need to spend."
Jon Boeckenstedt, DePaul U

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