RaiseMe and our partners recognize that the competitive landscape of enrollment has created an environment in which financial transparency and genuine connection are key to student success. For private institutions such as Springfield College, this often means helping students examine sticker prices closely and ultimately illuminating the actual cost of attendance. Stuart Jones, Ph.D., the Vice President Enrollment Management at Springfield, expands: “The predominant stereotype private colleges have to overcome with prospective students and their families is the assumption that “private” means too expensive and likely unaffordable. In fact, it is estimated that approximately 40% of graduating high school seniors won’t even consider a private college based on that stereotype. Financial transparency by each institution is paramount in combating this misperception.”
Springfield College builds a college-going culture emphasizing financial transparency through its partnership with RaiseMe. Springfield’s RaiseMe micro-scholarship program allows students to roadmap their path to college starting in the 9th grade, and to view institutions like Springfield College as a viable college destination.
While tracking their progress to becoming application-ready, Springfield’s student followers gain an early indication of what they can expect to receive in scholarship dollars should they be admitted and ultimately enroll. Bringing cost into the conversation early in high school has been a critical part of Springfield’s engagement with prospective students.
The Important Challenge of Financial Transparency
When students have an understanding of the true cost of higher education and how their scholarship options impact it, they’re better able to determine their path to college. Stuart explains, “Various national surveys of high school seniors now reveal that affordability is the most important factor for them in choosing a college. For many years, the most important criterion was academic quality, but now that is second in comparison to college costs.” Providing clarity around scholarships and financial aid is now critical for colleges.
Financial transparency can be complicated for many institutions, however. The first step Springfield took was to centralize the information as much as possible by making sure scholarship and financial aid information was complete, comprehensive, and located in easy-to-find places within university materials (including the website). Springfield then began presenting the information to students at an earlier stage. Nicole Levine, Springfield’s Director of Undergraduate Admissions mentions, “It’s important for students to know that the work that they complete in high school (from freshman year through senior year) can determine what kind of scholarship they can be eligible for. If students understand this from an early age, they can be motivated to work toward earning a higher scholarship.”
On RaiseMe, high school students are encouraged to join the platform and begin earning micro-scholarships during their freshman year. As students report different activities they are involved in or the classes they take, they are awarded via RaiseMe micro-scholarships and can see that colleges and universities value those micro-steps towards getting college-ready.
The RaiseMe experience allows students to make informed decisions as they see that colleges are invested in their high school accomplishments. In fact, 81% of RaiseMe student users report that their confidence in their ability to succeed in college increased as a result of earning micro-scholarships on the RaiseMe platform. For many students, getting this kind of clarity around available scholarships will significantly influence where they end up applying.
*Survey result shown sourced from RaiseMe’s Impact and Efficacy Whitepaper
The Impact of Personalized Communication
In addition to financial transparency, the RaiseMe and Springfield College partnership helps Springfield personalize its communication with students. As the enrollment space becomes noisier, finding a differentiating voice and authentically connecting with students are essential pieces of the enrollment puzzle.
Springfield College utilizes multiple communication tactics to reach high school students. Students will receive a blend of emails, messages from counselors, and phone calls. Nicole and her team are starting to utilize RaiseMe’s messenger feature, the RaiseMe message center, which allows her team to filter for specific groups of RaiseMe students and send a custom message. Additionally, Springfield can filter for students who indicated they intend to apply and contact that group directly regarding their application status.
As students continue to share their experiences and achievements on RaiseMe, partner institutions can gain a better understanding of each individual. Nicole and her team are able to view the application status of students as well as their academic interests, extracurricular activities and volunteer experiences in which they become involved. With the ability to get to know students on a deeper level, Springfield can now communicate the most relevant and impactful information about the institution, including relevant student groups or academic programs. As mentioned before, Nicole and her team can leverage the RaiseMe platform to activate this communication plan as early as possible in a student’s high school career to create deeper engagement.
The thoughtfulness with which Springfield approaches its student recruitment fits perfectly with RaiseMe’s strategic model for enrollment management. By combining financial transparency and personalized communication, Springfield enhances its ability to attract high-quality students who enter as prepared as possible to achieve success in college and beyond.
Learn more about how RaiseMe works with colleges here.