There's a Lot you Can Learn from your NPC: Data from the Latest Enrollment Cycle

Amy Jenkins
June 20, 2024

While the FAFSA fiasco continues, making this current enrollment cycle feel like it will never end as leaders continue to look for creative solutions to support students, work tirelessly to get out aid, and monitor announcements from ED on a 24 hour basis, there is a little voice in everyone’s ear reminding us that the next cycle is about to begin.  How can that be? So as exhausted as that makes us all to even contemplate, we thought we’d share some insights about NPC usage from the past 12 months.

When do students use an NPC?

We know that knowing the cost to attend a school is a significant factor in a student’s decision-making process - in fact, 80%+ said it is one of the biggest considerations they will have.  So we were curious about when students care the most about cost.

We analyzed 350K students over the past year and identified that 42% of them used a net price calculator while they were in the “Researching” phase compared to 21% who used it while they were applying, 33% who used it after they were admitted and 7% who used one once they were enrolled.  This differs over the course of a year, but at any given point in time, students who are considering attending (researching and applying) are significantly more than students who have been admitted or are enrolled.

This underscores the importance of having an NPC that is easy to find, and easy to use, for students as they consider which schools to apply to and to attend.

How do students access an NPC?

We have heard time and again that students want things to be mobile so we looked at that too.  97% of college students own a mobile phone and most of them are on it all the time (an average of 8-10 hours on some sort of device!).  With these stats in mind, we assumed many students would use an NPC on their mobile device – and we were right! 46% of students accessed the NPC on their mobile device (with a lot more iPhone than Androids).

How much does ease of use matter?

Students want things to be fast and they want them to be easy (I mean, honestly, don’t we all?) so we dug into that too.  From conversations with our schools we generally hear that with their current NPC they see anywhere from 10-30% completion rates (or lack the data to track completion at all).  Taking a look at other NPCs in the market, we saw some that promised students it would take just a few minutes with others saying it would take more than 10 or 20.  designing Meadow Price, we knew we wanted to make it quick to complete.  According to the data? Mission accomplished:

  • 73% completed the NPC and received an estimate
  • 75% received their estimate in under 5 minutes

Ensuring that your NPC is easy to use, and works well on mobile, will increase the number of students that access it and complete it.

We know that at this point in the year everyone is trying to catch up, hoping to catch their breath and crossing their fingers and toes that next year will be easier. An NPC that is accurate, easy to use and provides you with data to drive decisions can help. Ask us how!

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