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Higher Ed

This is an unusual if not unprecedented time in the history of US Higher Education. The economic fallout has changed the rules of engagement for Higher Ed institutions and their stakeholders (applicants, donors, alumni, faculty, et al).

  • 529s and college savings plans are back to levels from 5-10 years ago
  • Endowments have been reduced up to 30%
  • Capital campaigns and projects have been delayed or cancelled

The value of a college/university education, under scrutiny even before the economy collapsed,
is bearing a greater burden now as applicants/parents adjust their attitudes about (1) debt in general, and (2) the specific trade-off between the college(s) they want to attend and what they can afford to pay.

Many insiders predict that the applicant talent pool will shift from top-tier private colleges to (lower-cost) state universities, under the belief that top students will be successful in any environment (both at school and post-graduation) and without the significant debt load.

Financially, each of the three traditional sources of revenue for Higher Ed institutions (tuitions, endowments, capital campaigns) will require a stronger, sharper message to compete in this changing environment. These messages will need to provide compelling points of differentiation
to its stakeholder groups

  • For student applicants and their parents: Why is $40-$50k/year not only a fair cost for attending our school, but also a great value? How will attending our school give a graduate
    a competitive advantage in the job market?
  • For charitable donors: In a rigorously competitive market for the charitable dollar, why
    give to our institution? Why give more than you may have planned? And why give now?
  • It comes down to a simple question: what is the real value of your school’s brand? Only a small, elite group of schools are able to rest comfortably with their application and yield rates. For the majority of schools, the margin between economic viability and a downward fiscal spiral is very, very slim.

    Contact us to learn more about developing an effective brand strategy for your institution.