enrollment

2017 discounting benchmarks: How do your rates compare?

Wes Butterfield

May 5, 2017

RNL recently released the 2017 Discounting Report which provides discounting benchmarks from nearly 300 colleges and universities that worked with the company last year to strategically allocate their financial aid.

discounting benchmarks: 10-year trend for private colleges and universities

discounting benchmarks: trends for public colleges and universities

Since the Great Recession of 2008, we’ve seen a steady increase in campus discount rates. These increases are due to a number of both internal and external pressures. The internal pressures can be caused by an institutions’ desire to grow or attract a stronger or higher quality group of students. Some of the external issues are the shifts in demographics, reductions from both federal and state sources, and changes in student behaviors. In most cases, campuses only have a handful of options. They can challenge “willingness to pay,” which is not a bad strategy but errors in this area can be costly, or they can strategically use their financial aid dollars to help meet their institutional needs.

Discounting benchmarks by region and population

In the 2017 report, we segmented our campus partners’ data into public and private institutions. In addition, we have provided regional comparisons of the data for private institutions to help answer the question about whether the location of a campus can have an effect on discount rates.

For the first time, we’ve also broken out data for transfer students. This “under the radar” population has traditionally been neglected from analysis, but we know this has become a more important group for campuses to meet their new student targets. Do these students have the same enrollment behaviors as the first-time-in-college population? Are discount rates higher, lower or the same as other populations of students?

Download the report for the full discounting benchmarks from our campus partners and feel free to reach out to me or other members of our financial aid services team with questions about our service.

Free webinar on managing your discount rate

How can these discounting benchmarks inform awarding strategies and help you manage your discount rate? Attend our free webinar on May 17. I will be co-presenting and sharing awarding strategies that are helping campuses use their resources more efficiently so they can increase the enrollment impact of their awarding. Learn more and register for the webinar.


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