Campus Visit Trend: "How much financial aid did 'they' give you?"

Each month the Experience Team from TargetX will share with you a Campus Visit Tip, Trend and Talk. All of the “three T’s” are designed to give you a bit of insight into the work we do, the people we work with, and the places we pull our inspiration from. Here is this month’s “Trend”.

Ten years ago the number one question parents asked during a campus visit was, “What’s the party scene?” Then after the tragedies at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois the priority question by parents was “How safe is this campus?” After our economy tanked the mainstream media began beating up Wall Street, then they singled out the mortgage industry; now they have their sights on higher education. Especially with student indebtedness and with the cost or value. Now parents ask, “How much does it cost?”or “How much financial did did ‘they’ give you?”

These are personal questions. But the media has created this uncivil buyers market. In reality I wish students could respond with, “Well why don’t you tell us how much money you make?”

Nip this question and trend in the bud. Address it now and set your guides up to manage it. Trust us, they all tell us it’s an issue.

How to remedy and reverse this disturbing trend:

1. Insure that your information session and/or meeting robustly answers the financial questions; upfront and with transparency.
2. Make certain that parents are given the stats about your campus, how to get in and pay for it prior to the campus walk/tour. If you don’t parents will derail the tour with their financial questions.
3. Empower, train and reassure your student guides that they do not and should not answer the “How much did ‘they’ give you in financial aid?” question. Train them to boldly defer and remind parents that, “We know that college costs are top of mind but, federal, state and institutional aid qualifications change every year and the person to better answer these questions are admissions and financial aid staffers. And if you’d like to chat with one after the tour, remind me at the conclusion and we’ll get you in front of the person to answer your question best.”

If we don’t reverse this trend the situation will get worse and it’s not fair to your student guides.

TargetX Campus Visit Consultants have worked with hundreds of colleges and universities to make their campus visits memorable, authentic, and effective. They blog regularly about their experiences within the campus visit and the greater business community.

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