What We Learned from 100K Students

Amy Jenkins
October 11, 2023

If I am being honest, a little more than a week ago I noticed how quickly the number of students using Meadow’s NPC was climbing and wrote a note on my to-do list to write this blog post.  And then I casually moved it to my to-do list for a few weeks from now because I thought, “I’ve got time before we reach 100K.”

But on Sunday afternoon I looked at the data again (as you do, in a start-up) and my jaw dropped.  100K was in the rearview mirror.  The actual number of students who received a personalized and accurate estimate from Meadow was now closer to 103K.

So I decided it was time for this post.

In less than 18 months, Meadow has started work with 40+ schools, enabling them to eliminate sticker shock and increase enrollment on their campuses.  We do this work at small campuses like Saint Martin’s and large ones like Auburn.  We do it in schools with significant amounts of merit aid (like Allegheny) or military aid (like AMU) or a focus on state and federal aid.   At this point the answer to “can your calculator handle our complex packaging?” is almost always “YES!”  We are not so naive as to say we’ve seen it all….but across those 40+ schools, we have seen a lot!

So I did a little digging to learn more about the students using our NPC.  Here are the top 5 things I learned:

  • If you make your NPC easy to use, students will actually use it. 74% of students who started the process to get an estimate completed it
  • 81% of students got an estimate in under 4 minutes (7% of students got distracted by TikTok we think).  Many other NPCs can take 20 minutes or more
  • The majority of students complete the net price calculator on a mobile device (over 50%) and there are 3x more students using it on an iPhone than an Android.  Most NPCs do not work well on a mobile device, so students may drop early if using something like the Federal Template.
  • 62% of students indicated they were using the calculator as part of researching compared to 30% who said they were applying, and 31% and 6% who said they were accepted or enrolled.
  • 40% of Meadow users have an EFC of $0-5K and saw they would qualify for a significant amount of aid, including Pell - helping to reduce the anxiety around cost and increase application rates

Meadow also recently updated our calculator to be able to both calculate a student’s EFC and SAI.  The learnings are still early here but a few things we are seeing:

  • On average, student SAI is $100-150 less than their EFC
  • Many students are moving from $0 EFC to -$1500 SAI
  • The biggest decrease we saw from EFC to SAI was $5200
  • The biggest increase we saw was $43,000

We know the next 100K students are going to come faster than the first 100K did (I kid you not, over 100 students used the calculator while I’ve been sitting here writing) and we are excited for this journey.  Every estimate we deliver is one more student that understands affordability, sees possibility, and more strongly considers enrolling in one of the great institutions who have placed their trust in us.  Looking for an NPC students will actually use?  We got you.  Join us on the path to 1M.

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