Television Ads for For-Profit Universities Could Backfire Friday, Mar 9 2012 

The standard pitch for the for-profit university industry has been daytime and nighttime television commercials. For-profit colleges often set a cutting-edge standard in terms of business practices and setting the standard for advertising higher education. Television commercials for for-profit universities present a vision of higher education as tech savvy, culturally diverse, flexible, student-centered, and to some extent, a bit hip. Many institutions have improved their focus on serving older students to cater to adults with a one-stop admissions process, personalized counseling, and compressed course terms that are easier for working adults to take on.

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Although television advertisements for for-profit universities have seen increasing success in the past decade, recent advertisements have been tainted with lawsuits and complaints over their recruiting practices. For-profit universities have come under recent fire for promising a glittering future after three years without a high school diploma or a GED. For-profit universities spend less than one third of what public universities spend on educating their students, even though the for-profit universities charge nearly twice as much than the public universities for tuition.

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Kaplan University, for example, is one among several for-profit colleges whose recruiting tactics are facing scrutiny in court cases and at the U.S. Department of Education, where officials are now weighing new regulations. The same issue could apply to the University of Phoenix, which is spending tens of millions on its own well-regarded, adult-focused ad campaign, using “I am a Phoenix” as its theme. The high cost of education to cover these marketing expenses is putting students in very bad positions financially. Furthermore, the low quality output of these major for-profit institutions is leaving students with little chances of finding any type of gainful employment.

#TwitterCollegeAdmissions Thursday, Mar 8 2012 

Twitter is a quick and easy form of social media that is becoming widely used for admissions departments in non-profit and for-profit universities to advertise to prospective students. When posting a tweet there is a 140 character maximum, so it is an easy way to quickly post something about the school. Twitter is widely used in the 18-34 age group, which appeals to the profit-schools that recruit adults looking to go back to school. At University of Phoenix, “the average age of these students is between 33 and 36 for undergraduate and graduate students respectively” (http://www.e-mentor.edu.pl/artykul/index/numer/20/id/446). Twitter is not as widely used in the high school age and younger age group, with less than 14% of the users. Even though not many high school students use twitter, non-profit universities are still using Twitter as a mode of communication with the students because of the quick, easy, and inexpensive use of Twitter.

Graph of Twitter users ages:

http://www.businessinsider.com/14-twitter-charts-you-must-see-2010-6#twitter-is-not-for-the-kids-12

Non-profit universities use Twitter as a medium to connect with prospective students.  The schools tweet and upload pictures on Twitter and try to generate interest and engagement with high school students, with the end goal of the students applying and possibly attending the school. The admissions departments of the non-profit universities use Twitter to advertise different aspects of that make their school different and stand apart from the other schools.

Lori Green, Director of Undergraduate Admission at Loyola University Chicago:

“Twitter actually allows us to reach a larger audience than prospective students alone. I enjoy connecting with current and future students on Twitter, but it’s also been great to network with parents and other members of the higher education community. I try to tweet about topics that are relevant to all of these multiple audiences. I also make an effort to use Twitter as another way of sharing the information I write about in my blog.”

http://doteduguru.com/id7776-admission-office-uses-twitter-promoted-tweets.html

Tulane University’s admissions department (@TulaneAdmission) uses Twitter to engage with prospective students:

-Update prospective students about upcoming events:

-Engage with students

-What sets Tulane apart from other schools

https://twitter.com/#!/TulaneAdmission

 

For-profit universities also use Twitter to attract prospective students. The student base of these schools are very different from for-profit universities:

“Most college students today are older, part-time students with full-time careers and outside responsibilities. These students don’t care about athletics or social organizations. Adult learners are simply not in college for the “experience”. Instead, they want practical, solid skills they can use on the job and to further their careers through promotion and advancement” (http://www.e-mentor.edu.pl/artykul/index/numer/20/id/446 ). The admissions departments for these schools recognize that their prospective students want to further their careers by attending school and use Twitter to show the need for education.

Instead of focusing on the individual attributes of the school, University of Phoenix’s Twitter (@UOPX) to update followers with current news updates and tips for job searches:

-Current news updates with links to articles

 

 

 

-Job search tips

 

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/#!/uopx

 

Post by: Maddie Gunter

 

http://www.businessinsider.com/14-twitter-charts-you-must-see-2010-6#twitter-is-not-for-the-kids-12

https://twitter.com/#!/TulaneAdmission

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/feb/26/business/la-fi-facebook-college-20110226

http://www.e-mentor.edu.pl/artykul/index/numer/20/id/446

https://twitter.com/#!/uopx

Universities Embrace Facebook! Thursday, Mar 8 2012 

Why wouldn’t colleges want to advertise on Facebook? Facebook boasts nearly 800 millions users and of that nearly 55% are between the ages of 18 and 34.

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http://newsroom.fb.com/content/default.aspx?NewsAreaId=22

 

Facebook offers side bar ads, increased ad influence with their “like” button, and even allows you to choose who you want to advertise to based on location, age, etc. But is there a difference in the way for profit and non-for profit colleges advertise using the Facebook medium?

 

            One non-for profit college, University of Kentucky, utilizes Facebook’s new “check in” feature on its campus. The University has two tabs on its campus where students can check in. The idea behind implementing this is that students will check in and have their location broadcast to all of their Facebook friends (hopefully some still in highs school deciding on colleges). Students check in at sporting events, classrooms and other places.

 

http://adage.com/article/adages/college-marketing-effort-facebook-places/145732/

 

            Other non- for profit colleges, including Tulane University, have their own Facebook pages with information regarding the school and they allow students to post about the university. The page can allow people to say they studied there, worked there, and even went to grad school there. This information shows up on someone’s basic information when you search for him or her, allowing for the maximum number of people to be exposed to the name of the university without even realizing it. Students can also write statuses about the many activities going on around campus (Crawfest, USG elections, etc) and tag Tulane University in the post.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tulane-University/107977025891872

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http://www.makeyourbuildingswork.com/wp-content/themes/mybw2011/images/case-studies/tulane.jpg

  

            For profit colleges such as University of Phoenix also utilize Facebook pages where people can like the page. While these for profit universities might have more likes on their page, they cannot rely on some of the aspects that non-for profit universities can. For profit colleges tend to not have athletics and on campus events such as Crawfest at Tulane. The Universities’ page is chalk filled with posts that it writes about itself, but it does not have the same personal aspect that Tulane’s page does with all the student posts about the University activities they are participating in. While for profit universities’ facebook pages may be larger in their likes, non-for profit universities have a more personal connection to show its viewers and potential students.

 

http://www.facebook.com/universityofphoenix

 

 

Posted by Margaret Roberts 

Welcome to Our Home(Page). Thursday, Mar 8 2012 

During the student recruiting process, a college or university’s admissions website is a crucial element. It is often one of (if not the) first points of contact that a student (and often his or her parents/guardians as well) has with the school. After logging on to numerous home pages for both typical and for-profit colleges and universities, the differences were substantial.


For the typical college or university, prospective students often look for the the admissions home page, which serves as an important touch point, used to draw the student in to wanting to learn more about the school, and eventually to apply for admission. Often, the site highlights the unique attributes of the school and its students.

Often, the websites will have videos of students saying why they love their college/university, and provide facts about the school (usually including the school’s ranking on some list).

In essence, they are trying to show the student why THIS SCHOOL is the one he or she wants to go to. They try to attract students by their unique elements, often trying to explain why the college or university belongs on the prospective student’s list of schools to visit and/or apply to.


Many of the schools even have blogs written by students, as a way to market the school, and let prospectives get a feel of what it would like to be a student there.

For for-profit universities, websites seem to be more about getting information about the prospective student. While the home page often tries to evoke emotions related to getting a degree:


…it appears that the main goal is to get the potential student’s contact information. As the video College, Inc. demonstrated, for-profit universities view their call centers as a crucial element to achieve high enrollment numbers. And after watching the video, and then visiting the home pages of several for-profit universities, it was quite obvious that the websites are designed to get as much information from prospective students, in order to be able to call them personally and persuade them to enroll.

The first attempt is a banner at the top of the homepage telling the potential student that he or she can “talk to an advisor” (or similar phrases) by calling the number…trying to get the prospective to dial the phone on his or her own.

If that does not work, submitting information to “learn more” (or similar phrases) requires the prospective student to fill in his or her personal information (phone number, address, etc), which will allow the university to then continuously call, email, mail, etc. the student in the hopes of persuading him or her to enroll.

 

So while a college or university’s website is a crucial element in its recruiting process, it seems that typical universities and colleges take a much different approach to marketing on their home pages, than for-profit universities and colleges. The question is, which would you prefer?

Posted by Amanda Zingone

 

 

Sources (in order of appearance): 

http://achieve.strayer.edu/?mkwid=snsSBV6Ms&pcrid=20593278109&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_content=strayer+university&utm_campaign=louisiana+hv+strayer

http://www.nyu.edu/admissions/undergraduate-admissions.html

http://admission.tulane.edu/about/index.php

http://admission.tulane.edu/

http://www.bc.edu/admission/undergrad/

http://admissions.yale.edu/home

http://www.nyu.edu/admissions/undergraduate-admissions/is-nyu-right-for-you.html

http://admission.tulane.edu/students/

http://achieve.strayer.edu/?mkwid=snsSBV6Ms&pcrid=20593278109&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_content=strayer+university&utm_campaign=louisiana+hv+strayer

http://www.phoenix.edu/vr/aptm?channel=srch&v8=domaintest&category=TSCODE_NKV9GV&user3=1&user2=brnd&user1=cpc&cm_mmca13=1&cm_mmca12=brnd&cm_mmca11=cpc&destination=phx_sem&gclid=CIzd-aWa1q4CFS2htgodbC0naw&placement=srch&mktg_prog=brnd&version=text&distribution=na&keyword=university+of+phoenix&initiative=gen&provider=google&cm_mmc=dir-_-srch-_-google-_-gen&cm_mmca9=na&cm_mmca8=aptm&cm_mmca7=university+of+phoenix&cm_mmca6=t1srch&tscode=NKV9GV&cm_mmca5=text&cm_mmca4=Exact&cm_mmca2=srch&cm_mmca1=brnd&vrefid=s207714636_9800967031_4561iuf9g3q501317&creative_desc=exact&pvp_campaign_int=24310_0917_9_95&pvp_campaign=14210_0917_9_95&classification=t1srch&unit=dir#rc1


You’ve Got E-mail Wednesday, Mar 7 2012 

In the college recruiting process, schools often flood prospective students’s inboxes with tactics to spur interest.  Schools get this information from Educational Testing Service (ETS), the National Research Center for College & University Admissions™ (NRCCUA®), the American College Testing Program (ACT) and a variety of other sources.  So how do colleges know which students to recruit?  Colleges choose the academically qualified students to send e-mails to, knowing well that it needs to be distinctive to be noticed.

Colleges make prospective students feel special in several different ways.  First, a college will personalize the e-mail and address it directly to the student with his or her preferred name.  Next, the college will invite them to an on-campus event, which could really just be taking a tour.  Furthermore, colleges will tell them they are getting a “free” or “exclusive” application, when in reality it is the same application for everyone.  Lastly, the college might try to cater the e-mail specific to interests the student lists on a standardized test or forms.

Here is an example from Tulane…

 

So what’s the difference between For-Profit College e-mails and typical colleges?  For-Profit College e-mails emphasize urgency.  Enrollment at for-profit colleges grew greatly during the recession, but now enrollment is down and recruiting is increasing to continue profits.  Undergraduate new-student enrollment fell 25.6% at DeVry University, a for-profit college, in the quarter ended June 30 2011.  Recruiters will use any tactics possible to secure an e-mail address and flood one’s inbox with e-mails to entice prospective students.  The e-mails could say they have a nursing degree, when in reality the “degree” is just an associate’s program and certifies people to draw blood.  The e-mails are frequent and often misleading.

Example of a For-Profit College E-mail

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http://kcwheelwright.com/university-of-phoenix/university-of-phoenix-email-campaign-and-redlines/

E-mails sent from for-profit colleges are different than typical colleges because they are for the benefit of the school, as opposed to the benefit of the student.  In the long run, students should want to go to college to better themselves in education and continue their careers, not be enticed by false advertisement.

Sources Used:

https://www.mycollegeoptions.org/Core/SiteContent/Students/Advice/College-Resource-Center/College-Search-and-Selection/College-Recruitment-Mail.aspx

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904279004576524660236401644.html 

http://academeblog.org/2011/10/25/high-pressure-recruitment-tactics-at-for-profits/

Posted by Elisabeth Whitehead

American Airlines—Finances Indicative of Price Changes? Saturday, Mar 3 2012 

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 http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/nov/29/american-airlines-chapter-11-bankruptcy1 

Most people are aware of the financial obligations that accompany flying. Nowadays most people are also aware of the financial obligations that are accompanied with having to change flights for any reason at all. But is American Airlines being truthful?

One man details the truth about his experiences with American Airline. When booking with American he noticed that his previously booked flight was scheduled for a pm time when he clearly remembered booking in the am. Despite any arguments about how this came about he knew he must change the flight. When speaking to American representatives directly on the phone, they quoted him over $500 worth of change fees. Before agreeing he checked out the prices online himself. Not only was the flight almost $50 cheaper than the representative had quoted, but there were also several free seats on the flight that he needed to get on.

There are also several stories centered on people paying significantly different prices for relatively same seats with coach section. I myself was flying on American Airlines and began to chat with the person seated next to me only to find out that we had booked on the exact same day and our tickets were not at all the same price. How can American Airlines justify this? One seat being significantly more for what reason. One cannot help but wonder if these price quandaries are indicative of American Airlines financial slump. It is no secret that American Airlines is not doing well. Many articles have been written on their financial situation but one need only look at their financial statements to easily see the effect.

Not to mention American Airlines is only one of many airlines that is not doing well, and American’s market share is about 22.5%. This does not look good for airlines or the many people that will attempt to fly within the next year for reasonable prices.

American Airlines Financial Report 2010

Revenue22.2 billion

Net loss 471 million

Operating expense 21,862 million

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http://www.centreforaviation.com/analysis/delta-takes-over-nyc-64874

http://onemansblog.com/2007/05/19/american-airlines-leaves-me-hanging/

http://www.aa.com/i18n/amrcorp/newsroom/fp_3q2011financials.jsp?v_locale=en_US&v_mobileUAFlag=AA

Posted by Margaret Roberts

Employees at American Airlines are Upset AgAAin Friday, Mar 2 2012 

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American Airlines has once again made headlines for employees being upset with the company American Airlines announced plans at the beginning of last month to restructure the company. This restructuring would lay off an estimated 13,000 employees, terminate pension plans, and shut down maintenance facilities. Employees at American Airlines have been increasingly disgruntled since the Company filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2011. Hundreds of employees have been publicly protesting layoffs. As one flight attendant, who has worked for American Airlines for 32 years, says, “At first, I thought the bankruptcy might be a good thing. But now after what the company put on the table, it’s frightening. It’s scary. I feel like I have a gun to my head and that my career is over.”

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On the other hand, company representatives declare that this restructuring plan is a necessary, albeit tough choice. Representatives say they will reach out to meet with union leaders to reach compromises that will be more satisfactory to employees.

http://impactnews.com/articles/american-airlines-employees-protest/page-2.html

Posted by Aimee Domingue

Thanksgiving Round-trip Nightmare Friday, Mar 2 2012 

If you asked anyone (say, that you found in an airport on any given day) to say the first word or phrase that came to his or her mind when they heard “Thanksgiving,” you would get a pretty standard set of answers: “family”; “pumpkin pie”; “being grateful”; “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade”; “turkey”; and “TRAVEL.” As the holiday season commences, millions of people travel to see family and friends for the Thanksgiving holiday – any many of those people do so by air. On the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving  (and the Sunday after), airports see their heaviest traffic of the year. And come Monday morning when every-day-routines resume, many of those people have airplane “horror stories” to tell.

This past Thanksgiving, I was one of those people. I left for home on Tuesday evening, and returned Sunday afternoon, and my experience on both travel days caused way more stress than was necessary. On Tuesday, I arrived at the airport in plenty of time. I did not want to pay the $25 fee for checking my bag I opted to carry on my suitcase along with the “personal item” allowance. Everything went relatively smoothly given how crowded the airport was…I was dropped off, through security and at my gate with an hour and a half to spare. So I chatted with fellow students on different flights home, and then eventually made my way to find some dinner to bring with me onto the plane.

40 minutes prior to takeoff time, I was at my gate, food in hand, ready to board.  And 40 minutes later, I was still standing at my gate, food in hand, with absolutely no information as to why the plane had not even arrived! Why had no one informed us travelers as to the delay (let alone the cause)? I would guess it had something to do with the fact that there was not a single person at the gate desk. Not one. Some fellow students from my hometown and I began trying to figure out what was going on… The TV monitors told us that we were boarding (if only that had been true) and the TV at the gate desk had already switched to the next flight scheduled to leave out of our gate. And still, there was NO ONE around to ask what could possibly be going on. I decided to walk to another gate and see if another gate attendant could possibly provide me with a little information. However, every other gate was for the different airlines! No one other flights from the same Airline were leaving from our terminal. So the most that anyone could tell me was that I should use one the “black phones” to call some concierge help desk. At this point, I called my mother, and while I went to use the “black phone,” she called customer service. And of course, after we both got off our respective calls, we both had different answers. SHE was told that we would leave at 6pm. I was told that the flight was delayed (really…is that why there is no plane?) and that according to her most updated information, we were scheduled to leave at 6:45pm (the flight was originally scheduled for 5:30). When I asked why there was no one at our gate to give us this information, she told me she would send someone “right away.” At 6:15, we were still sitting there – no one at the desk, no plane, and no more patience. Again we called on the same “black phone,” asked the same questions, and got the same answers with a variation of time – 7pm and “she would figure out why no one was at the desk.”

Eventually everything worked out – the plane arrived, the gate attendants arrived (where they had been, we will never know), and I finally boarded the plane and ate my (now cold) dinner. Needless to say my flight experience was not a good start to the holiday. However, the next four days were great – full of family, friends, food and relaxing. When it was time to head back on Sunday, I again got to the airport in plenty of time. This time however, issues began as soon as I walked into the airport. I was headed back with a lot more luggage (warmer clothing, food to get me through finals, etc.) so I needed to check a bag. When I arrived at the ticket counter, I was told that the entire computer system was down. Cash was the only form of payment accepted for checking bags because they could not take credit cards (luckily we had $25 in cash). They had to handwrite the baggage ticket and handed me a little slip of paper (my baggage claim note), and then told me that I would need to get a ticket at the gate—I had not printed my ticket at home (which was a first, and after my experience most definitely the LAST, time I had not printed my ticket prior to arriving at the airport), so they handed me some slip of paper to get me through security and told me to talk to the gate attendant.

Getting through security was simple – no issues there – but as soon as I got to the gate, problems grew. While I had no printed my ticket, I had checked in, so I knew my seat on the plane was reserved. However, the gate attendant told me that since I did not have a boarding pass, I would have to wait a minute before he could take care of me. No problem (I thought), I could be patient. But then they informed us that waiting “a minute” really meant that I (and a few other passengers in the same predicament) would have to wait until everyone else had boarded the plane, because they had to make sure we had enough seats. Could we pull up our tickets on our phones perhaps (they asked) so that we could show them we had a seat? (Uhh…no? Is that even possible?). Then, once everyone at the gate had boarded, and we finally thought we were good to go, we were informed that we had to wait until the last call, to make sure that they had room for standbys. I explained that I was NOT a standby, that I HAD a ticket, but that THEY had not given me one at the desk because of an issue in THEIR system. The gate attendant looked at me like I was insane and kindly repeated that I had to wait until he knew he had room for standbys. He then proceeded to call over the speaker system telling any passengers for our flight that were not at the gate that this was the last call for boarding. Finally, less than 10 minutes before our flight was scheduled to take off, he told us that he thought no one else was coming so he could probably do us a favor and let us know, even though he was “supposed to wait” to let any of us on until 5 minutes before scheduled departure. Luckily the rest of the trip went smoothly.

While in both cases, everything turned out fine in the end, I will never again fly with them. I am going to stick with my usual airline and know that even though everything will not always go exactly as planned, at least they will have people keeping passengers informed.

Posted by Amanda Zingone

Sources:

http://airconsumer.dot.gov/reports/2012/February/2012FebruaryATCR.PDF

http://www.dallasnews.com/business/airline-industry/20110707-american-airlines-and-eagle-rank-at-bottom-of-consumer-data-for-may.ece

Traveling as a Valued Customer Friday, Mar 2 2012 

When I am looking to fly home to Dallas for the weekend from school, I always check the ticket prices and the flight schedule for American Airlines before I look at any other companies. I try to fly American Airlines whenever possible because I am part of American Airlines frequent flier program, called the AAdvantage Program. For every flight on American I receive frequent flyer miles that I am able to redeem later for tickets. Since I have traveled a lot with my family on American Airlines, I have been able to achieve the AAdvantage Gold elite status on American Airlines. This elevated status allows me to receive many different perks for my loyalty to American Airlines. I am able to receive upgrade perks which include complimentary upgrades to first class if there are seats available, upgrade to a window seat without charge, and sometimes I am able to upgrade a friend who is flying with me.

Through my AAdvantage Gold status I also receive a higher priority of customer service by American Airlines. I am able to use priority lines when checking in for my flight and at the security line. This priority customer service makes me not want to travel with other airline companies because I will not receive the same quality of customer service. Also when I am booking my flight I am able to have access to picking preferred seats on the plane, which are closer to the front of the plane. Through my status I am also able to save money by not having to pay baggage fees, which are usually $25-50 a flight, and I also receive discounts on hotels and car rentals. Through my AAdavantage Gold status I am able to save time and money when I am traveling on American Airlines, which makes me continue my loyalty with the company. When traveling on American Airlines I feel as though I actuall am a valued customer.

Cites used for information:

http://www.aa.com/AAdvantage/aadvantageHomeAccess.do?anchorLocation=DirectURL&title=aadvantage

Posted by Maddie Gunter