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Enrollment Marketing for Higher Education

This is a legitimate and common question for prospects and families to ask. Staff can count how many times this question comes up in conversation, but do you know how many times this question is posed while searching for the answer on your website?

Recently, we presented research on the most common pages searched on college and university websites. When we asked prospective college students about the most difficult web page to find, 9 out of 10 said, “tuition and cost to attend.”

Whether we are looking for a college or buying a new stove, we all know how frustrating it is to not find what we are looking for on a website. Patience is short. If the cost is hard to find, the perception is that it’s being hidden on purpose.

It makes sense for the location and content of the tuition page to be under the control of enrollment management and marketing. How tuition is communicated reflects on the brand of a college or university. It’s about accessibility and messaging. The best practice is to tout on value, but when someone asks for the cost, the answer should be direct and easy to find.

From a rhetorical position, I wonder why so many college and university websites communicate cost on a page labeled “Financial Aid.”  It sends a message that tuition and financial aid are one in the same.

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