Tuition reset leads to increase in applications

Megan Postol

News Editor

Since Utica College announced a radical tuition decrease earlier this semester, the admissions office has noticed a significant increase in applications. “Our application volume has increased,” Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Jeffery Gates said. “Our strategy has changed in that we can have an earlier conversation about college costs and value. Families who would not consider Utica in the past are now putting us on their list for consideration due to the tuition reset.” The admissions office saw a sharp spike in applications directly following the announcement of the slash in tuition price. The college received a lot of attention, including national coverage, after announcing the cut. The reset takes effect next fall. The cost of tuition will drop from $34,466 to $19,996. After factoring in the average rate of room and board, the sticker price for cost of attendance will total $30,430. “Early on in October we were experiencing double the number of applications and the growth of applications is now around 15 percent,” Gates said. “It is very early in the college admissions cycle.” Gates told the Albany Business Review that UC has a rolling admissions cycle and usually receives about 5,400 applications a year. He said he anticipates the college will receive close to 7,000 applications this year. This fall, UC saw a record class of 650 incoming freshman and 150 transfer students. Gates said that the goal for the upcoming academic year is an admitted freshman class of 625 and a transfer class of 170. He expects class sizes to remain constant over the next few years. “What we hope is that families who are interested in a private, personal, individual educational experience will come and talk with us and visit campus to see all of the opportunities that are available here,” Gates said. The record number of students attending UC this fall will have an impact on the growth and stability of the college. If the increase in applications continues, the college will have to be more selective in choosing candidates to accept. Because of the college’s limited space, UC will have to tighten the admissions standards. Effective marketing strategies, in conjunction with the tuition reset, have proved successful in recruiting applicants. Assistant Vice President for Advancement/ Marketing and Communication Kelly Adams said marketing efforts this year have been consistent with the strategies, tactics, and investment of the previous two years. “The objective of our marketing strategies is to raise brand awareness levels and promote UC to prospective students as well as their parents,” Adams said. “In short, we want to increase familiarity and favorability of UC.” That has included broadcast, out-of-home, and digital media campaigns, mostly concentrated in the upstate New York region as well as select out-of-state regions where UC recruits significant numbers of students. The biggest draw for recent applicants has been the increased affordability of tuition. “While our marketing performed very well the past two years, it’s fair to say that more people have taken notice this year due to the reset announcement,” Adams said. M