What Is a Deposit Actually Worth in 2023?

Adam ConnollySenior Vice PresidentMay 11, 2023
College Enrollment Deposit Blog: image of students at their desks in a college classroom
Is the deposit as much of an enrollment indicator as it used to be?

Long gone are the days of admission offices counting college enrollment deposits on May 1 and beginning to plan out their summer conference tours. Even the days of deposits rolling in on May 1 and admissions feeling confident that a high majority of those students would be in a classroom on census date seem like an eternity ago. Chief enrollment officers and colleagues of mine beg the question—which seems so valid now—what is a deposit actually worth now?

New NACAC guidelines, a post pandemic competitive landscape, and the continued concern families have about tuition costs have made projected enrollment numbers very uncertain. The college student enrollment deposit or potential “commitment” has now morphed into another stage of the ever-fluid enrollment funnel. The good news for an admissions team is that a deposited student is still very much a yield opportunity.

With that in mind, here are three top tactics you can use to re-recruit your deposited students this spring and summer.

Speak about value often

Remind your deposited students why they chose your institution through personalized video, attending on-campus spring or summer orientations, getting them connected to their advisor, and offering virtual platforms for peer-to-peer interactions. They chose your institution for a reason, so leverage that message in a variety of interactions leading into their arrival for the fall semester.

Don’t underestimate the value of financial literacy

Projected net tuition revenue is just that—projected. Create a robust family engagement communication plan that allows your campus the opportunity to walk through the bill and balance for their student. This is a prime opportunity for your campus to incorporate value messaging into what is sometimes a difficult conversation. (See this blog on financing messaging for additional strategies.) A changing practice in our field has new student bills going out earlier and more concrete payment dates due prior to move-in weekend. Accounts receivable numbers have increased over the last three years, so getting a student’s bill paid or payment plan approved assures revenue projections are firm and a student commitment stands firm as well.

Bridge programs, cohorts, and early retention tactics pay dividends

Recruiting students by different subpopulations is not a new idea, so how about on-boarding them to your institution in the same way? Large one-time orientations came be overwhelming for many students and their families, especially if they are first generation and going through the orientation process for the first time. While the lift for a campus may be a bit more during the summer months, the return could pay major dividends in terms of fulfilling enrollment and early retention practices. How can your campus have specialized cohort summer on-boarding for your honors students, special scholars, bridge students, and/or other pipeline recruited students? An easy indicator to measure success is measure year-to-year retention of those same type of students with and without the specialized on-boarding program.

A college enrollment deposit remains valuable

The importance of a currently committed, deposited student has maybe never been higher. The question still remains: what is a college enrollment deposit worth in 2023? The answer is still “a lot.” It is a student’s opportunity to achieve something no one can ever take away from them—a degree and an experience that will shape their lives forever. A deposited student is still worth a great deal, it just depends on how much a campus wants to invest in that group determines just much the value really becomes.

If you want learn more about strategies for increasing yield and reaching your enrollment goals, reach out and we will set up a time to talk. We can share what’s working for our campus partners and how we can help you.

Talk with our enrollment experts

Let’s talk about how you can find the optimal strategies for digital marketing, inquiry management, financial aid awarding, optimizing yield, and other key actions.

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About the Author

Adam Connolly has over 20 years of experience in higher education.  He served as vice president of enrollment management and marketing at Coker University prior to transitioning to RNL. At Coker University, Adam led an...

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