- Colleges and universities are spending more money on recruitment to attract students in an increasingly competitive field, and Noodle Partners CEO John Katzman calls it an arms race in need of regulation.
- For Inside Higher Ed, Katzman writes that people are paying attention to the spending spree on campus amenities but not the runaway costs of student recruitment, which ultimately increases the cost of higher education without improving services for students.
- Katzman suggests a bill that would limit subsidized student loans to the actual cost of education or a new U.S. Department of Education regulation that would limit tuition sharing deals at schools whose marketing budgets get too high.
When for-profit colleges and universities focused on aggressive recruitment, it got them in trouble. They started paying outside marketing firms a share of tuition, providing an incentive to bring in any student, rather than one who could be successful in the institution. Traditional colleges and universities need to be wary of similar scenarios as competition spurs them to bring in more students and online education frees them from spatial constraints.
Low-cost online degree programs that still require colleges and universities to spend just as much, per-student, on recruitment run up against another issue. In a recent edition of Higher Ed Live, Helix Vice President of Creative and Marketing Strategy Seth Odell questioned the long-term sustainability of competency-based programs, specifically, which are offered as cheaper alternatives for students but will have to save money somewhere to make up for the still-high marketing spend.