John Fees is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of GradGuard™. Fees is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he received a bachelors of science degree in History and is also a graduate of Harvard Business School where he completed a Masters in Business Administration. John Fees lives in Phoenix, Arizona and is married to Melissa Soza Fees, Ph.D. and is the father of five children. He is the Treasurer for the Arizona College Success Arizona, a Director of College Parents of America, Founding Director and investor in Tonto Creek Camp which provides service leadership experiences to 8,000 students annually. He is also an active member of University Risk Management and Insurance Association and the Professional Insurance Marketers Association.
There are several gatherings of higher education officials that I find to be filled with essential truths.
One such truth seems is that higher education if facing a confidence problem from the communities, students and families they serve.
Three statements that illustrate the point:
- According to an Inside Higher Ed Survey of college and university presidents, an "overwhelming majorities of presidents of all types say the public has been swayed by misconceptions about how they operate and as a result public confidence in higher education is waning.'
- Ruffalo-Noel-Levitz national tuition discounting study shows an average 41% discount rate is used by schools to fulfill their admissions goals.
- A report from CNBC that says more than half of college students worry that they may not graduate.
As a result, I am pleased to participate in a panel discussion at this week PDG Bursar 2018 Conference on the topic of The College Confidence Index and Transparency: Helping Students and Families Take Informed Action. The panel includes myself and industry leaders - Daniel Durazo, Allianz Worldwide Partners and Cheryl Cooper of Tuition Management Systems
In my experience working with colleges and universities, I have found student financial services professionals and bursars to know the some important truths surrounding the reality of their campus. These professionals have essential knowledge of their colleges and universities. For instance, bursars and student financial services leaders know:
- if the admitted class can actually afford their college or if they cannot;
- how many students withdraw from school or persist to complete their degrees;
- how dedicated a campus is to operating in a transparent way where financial responsibility agreements are in place and institutional policies are clearly disclosed to families;
- the pain of a surprised parent, when they learns that a school does not provide 100% refunds for withdrawals or will not replace stolen or damaged property;
- and yes - they even know how many students default on their student loans.
The higher education professionals attending this week's Bursars 2018 conference understand that Recruiting the right students is essential to producing the Revenue and Retaining these students. These three activities will enhance the Reputation of the institution and help attract students and families who have confidence to make the necessary investment in a higher education.
Next week we will make the PDG conference presentation available to download. Until then, feel free to download my most recent presentation from the 2018 NACUBO Student Financial Services event.