Money Matters

Financial Literacy in the New Regulatory "Normal"

Best practices in campus efforts to educate students

Student financial literacy has been a growing concern, not only because of the connection to persistence and retention, but also in terms of success beyond college years that includes repayment of student loans and general fiscal responsibility in adulthood. We’ve likely all heard the stories of the $82 pizza, its price inflated by a check that bounced and resulting fees from the bank and pizza parlor. It shows the need for students to understand the consequences of spending money they don’t have.

The Role of Financial Aid and Retention

What the realities are and smart retention strategies

Typically, when institutions conduct exit surveys for students who withdraw prior to completing a degree program, featured prominently are financial aid, cost, or affordability. They usually garner one of the top slots for reasons listed for withdrawal prior to graduation. But research shows there are a number of other drivers that influence re-enrollment trends.

Setting Price in the New Economic Climate

Considerations beyond the institution's competitive market position

We have written before about the importance of considering your institution's market position relative to competitors when planning future price increases. When sticker price position is higher than "prestige" position (based on publicly available measures like test scores, U.S. News rank, and selectivity) institutions often see declining demand.

Who's On First?

Developing and managing endowed scholarship funds

Given the multiple goals and multiple players involved in developing and managing endowed scholarship funds, there are lots of opportunities for communication gaps, poor service, and less than optimal use of the funds. In an ideal world, endowed funds and annual gifts given for scholarship support would be used to take the place of unfunded aid in the offers made to students, freeing unfunded (and therefore unrestricted) resources for other purposes. However, many institutions are not able to achieve this efficient outcome for a number of reasons.

It's Not Just About Aid Anymore

Four ways to sweeten the offers to high-quality students

When competing for top students, many colleges are finding that offering merit awards or generous need-based packages is no longer enough to win the day. Academically successful students typically have multiple offers from which to choose. So, all things being equal when it comes to financial aid, how does a college compete for the best and the brightest? Here are four ideas for sweetening the offer to the student that everybody wants—because it's not just about money anymore.

State Aid Cuts

To replace or not replace, that is the question

It is no secret. Most state budgets are in terrible shape. Estimates from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities are that budget gaps for all states, combining fiscal years 2010 and 2011, will total approximately $375 billion. These budget woes have already begun to affect states' spending on higher education. Leading up to the 2009-2010 academic year, many states were considering or implementing plans to cut financial aid to college students. Some were in the news more than others.

What Admissions Officers Need to Know About Financial Aid

Key questions and answers on the aid application process and packages offered

Talking about affordability can be a scary conversation for a recruiter. That is part of the reason more and more institutions have moved to transparent merit policies and other "entitlements" with clear eligibility criteria. But even if recruiters have these tools at their disposal, they still need to be able to talk with confidence about need-based aid and that is where it can get complicated.

Financial Aid Strategies in Tough Economic Times

10 critical dos and don'ts

IN A RECENT MOODY'S SURVEY, almost 30 percent of private colleges projected declines in net tuition revenues for the current fiscal year. This is likely not because enrollments declined, but because more financial aid was spent in achieving enrollment goals. Officials at institutions whose discount rates increased this fall are wondering if this is the new cost of doing business or whether they spent more than necessary.

The drivers behind increased discount rates are many, including:

Customer Service in the Financial Aid Office

Best practices from the field

Budget Planning Breakdown

Ensuring a link between financial aid and enrollment projections

IN ITS SIMPLEST FORM, ENSURING the linkage between financial aid and enrollment projections is about two things: solid data analysis and communication. How many new and returning students will there be, and how much institutional grant aid will they require? Who needs to be informed of the projections, and when? Of course, the devil is always in the details. So let us break it down into the basic components.

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