Nurture families and avoid melt amid FAFSA uncertainty

Keeping Students and Families Engaged Through the Enrollment Cycle

Month: May 2024

Lara SalazarBy Lara Salazar|May 7, 2024

What a long, strange admissions cycle this year has been! Historically, when we think about yielding students, there has always been the idea of preparing for the potential melt that we might experience. Usually it’s over the summer, post orientation, when students might get cold feet, or feelings have changed and the school where they deposited is no longer the one they want to attend. As experienced enrollment professionals, we try to combat these scenarios with thoughtful communications and innovative experiences, where we can show students that, yes, our school is where you belong.

It’s likely that this year we’ll be running into similar reasons why students change their minds, but in addition to the normal melt we’ve come to expect and prepare for, we’ve also had a difficult year awarding financial aid due to the challenges of a restructured FAFSA, updating calculations in SAI (Student Aid Index) to account for inflation, and delayed release of information to schools. It’s going to be more important than ever to make sure you’re doing everything possible to help students figure out their financing for college, and to reduce melt by proactively engaging students and their families through the spring and summer.

Keep Up Engagement

This year, providing personalized outreach and opportunities for students and their families to connect with your campus, faculty and staff, and other resources will allow you to show your commitment to providing the best possible experience for students looking to enroll at your institution. Ideally, offering tailored campus visits promoting academic experiences, offering one-on-one financial aid counseling to students and their families, and building connections between current and future students will help maintain engagement levels and continued interest in attending your school.

Keep Communicating

In addition to your outreach efforts, it’s going to be more important than ever to communicate timely information to students about their financial awards, acknowledging the delays and when they can expect to learn more information, and how you are prepared to support them through this process. By providing this information, you’ll save the students and their families the anxiety of not knowing what is going on. While you may not have clear timelines laid out internally, it is also important to show your prospective students that you’re supporting them, that you understand how difficult decision-making can be, and are continuing to work diligently in partnership with them to make their experiences as beneficial as possible.

If you’re looking for other ideas to help diminish melt, check out my earlier blog post, 5 Tactics for Preparing for Summer Melt. And if you need additional ideas to address summer melt or other pain points you’re currently facing, please reach out to us. Our experienced strategy team would love the opportunity to help you succeed in meeting your enrollment goals.

Our Arms Are Full: Spark451 Earns 18 Educational Advertising Awards

Month: May 2024

WESTBURY, NEW YORK — Higher education marketing firm Spark451, a Jenzabar company, is proud to announce that 18 of their recent marketing projects — launched in cooperation with their valued partner institutions — earned recognition at the 39th Annual Educational Advertising Awards.

“We are incredibly proud of the work we do, and it’s an honor to once again have that work be recognized by our industry peers,” says Irene Scala, Executive Creative Director at Spark451. “What makes these wins even sweeter is knowing that they are the result of true collaboration between our team and our partners, and that, above all, they’re garnering results and helping our partners reach their goals.”

This year’s award-winning work includes:

Gold Awards

Longwood University: Out-of-State Options Postcard

Longwood University

Category: Direct Mail (Gold)
Project: Out-of-State Options Postcard

Longwood University: RIC

Longwood University

Category: Imprinted Materials (Gold)
Project: Never Miss a Connection

Manhattan College Downloadable Brochure

Manhattan College

Category: Online Publications (Gold)
Project: Advance the Future of Healthcare Digital Program Guide

Molloy University: Admit Brochure

Molloy University

Category: Other: Misc. Collateral, Special Promo (Gold)
Project: Welcome to the New U

New York University

Category: Annual Report (Gold)
Project: 2022–2023 Impact

New York University

Category: Misc. Interactive Media (Gold)
Project: NYU Yield Queuing Video 2023

Rockland Community College

Category: Search Pieces (Gold)
Project: Discover Your Brightest Future

WCC: Yonkers Wall

SUNY Westchester Community College

Category: Installations (Gold)
Project: Building Minds. Building Futures. Environmental Graphics

The New School Travel Brochure

The New School

Category: Search Pieces (Gold)
Project: Create a World That Doesn’t Exist Yet

UMS Viewbook

University of Medicine and Health Sciences

Category: Student Viewbook (Gold)
Project: Discover Personalized Medical Education

The University of Minnesota Morris

Category: Other Social Media Content (Gold)
Project: Sustainability Is Everything and Everywhere

Silver Awards

Manhattan College

Category: Digital Video Ad — Less Than 2 Minutes (Silver)
Project: Welcome to Manhattan College

Bronze Awards

Longwood University Travel Piece

Longwood University

Category: Search Pieces (Bronze)
Project: Connect With What Matters to You

NYU Publication

New York University

Category: Publication/External (Bronze)
Project: Military-Connected Student Resource Guide

New York University

Category: Special Event Materials (Bronze)
Project: Hologram Fan

Merit Awards

Longwood University Viewbook

Longwood University

Category: Student Viewbook (Merit)
Project: Understand How It’s All Connected

Reach out to discuss how Spark451’s award-winning team can help your institution gain a competitive edge.