Do Higher Ed Tuition Resets Actually Lead to Enrollment Growth?

Do tuition resets actually reset an institution’s enrollment growth trajectory?

Reported by Inside Higher Ed, The University of the Cumberlands will cut their on-campus undergraduate tuition by 57% next year, from a $23,000 sticker price down to $9,875. Like many tuition resets, this one mostly impacts the university’s discount rate, with students actually saving $1,298 a year on average – but with prospective students able to see a much less scary sticker price when college-shopping.

The problem is, these drastic tuition resets are often ineffective. Because the psychology of being offered a large tuition discount is real, and there is also often a real perceived quality signal with a high sticker price.

The takeaway? It’s important to understand how a tuition reset will place you in the market, and how you plan on communicating this value proposition over time. Because being the low-cost leader can be a great market position if you can afford it, but if that’s a drastically different position from where you are today, you must consider how you’re getting there, besides just crossing off an old sticker price, and crossing your fingers.

May you continue to fight the good enrollment growth fight at your institution today, and we’ll see you again tomorrow.

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Eric Olsen

Eric brings more than a decade of award-winning creative brand development, marketing analytics and higher education experience to Helix Education. Eric is a graduate of Bradley University and earned his MBA at Lewis University.