Michigan Technological University

Michigan Technological University Case Study

In 2005, Michigan Technological University (Michigan Tech) struggled to predict net revenue and unfunded tuition totals for incoming classes. While the university did not desire to significantly increase enrollment, growth among specific student populations was key to achieving success.

As a public research university with 82 percent of students enrolled in STEM programs, Michigan Tech desired to increase the number of female students in a predominantly male student body and enhance campus diversity while increasing the academic profile of incoming freshmen. With these established goals, the university partnered with Ruffalo Noel Levitz to use strategic financial aid research and consulting to develop a data-informed plan for distributing aid and pinpointing factors that influence student enrollment for these specific populations.

With tuition and funding determined, in part, by the state legislature, financial aid research enables Michigan Tech to test multiple “what-if” scenarios, which allow the enrollment management team to simulate and understand the impact of changes in the admit rate and tuition rates at various levels.

Since fully adopting the Ruffalo Noel Levitz Enrollment & Revenue Management System™ in 2005, the university has achieved the trifecta: increases in enrollment, a decreasing discount rate, and increases in net revenue. Specifically, the university has worked closely with their consultant to make significant gains in out-of-state recruitment initiatives, leading to a sizable reduction to the discount rate for this population with a steady rise in the average ACT and academic profile.

Notable achievements

  • Between fall 2012 and fall 2013:
      — Enrollment increased by 8.3 percent (115 students)
      — Yield rate increased by 0.5 percent
      — Average ACT increased from 26.1 to 26.4
      — First-year and transfer net tuition and fee revenue grew by 16.5 percent
      — Discount rate was reduced by 1.5 percent
  • 6 percent increase in female student enrollment between fall 2005 and fall 2013
  • Since 2005, average ACT has steadily trended up by 1.5 points
  • Between 2005 and 2013, net tuition and fee revenue has grown by 22.9 percent
  • Well north of 55 percent in 2005, the university’s out-of-state discount rate has decreased by more than 10 percent


“We appreciate the grueling day and a half when our consultant visits campus and rakes through our data for a postmortem analysis of exactly what happened and any trends from the previous recruitment cycle. That’s a really valuable day.

“This service allows institutions to fine-tune your annual and strategic plans while looking for the strengths within the marketplace of the institution. It’s not simply a turnkey approach—it does not come fully assembled. But if you’ve done your homework, [Ruffalo Noel Levitz] can turn your financial aid program from a traditional program to a tactically strategic operation.”

John B. Lehman
Associate Vice President
Enrollment, Marketing, Communications

Published with the permission of Michigan Technological University

©1998-2018 Ruffalo Noel Levitz, LLC. All Rights Reserved.