The Higher Ed Marketer
The Higher Ed Marketer

Episode · 11 months ago

Why You Need a Loan Repayment Assistance Program


To succeed at higher ed marketing, you need to understand the challenges prospective students face.

For example, what hurdles do they need to overcome to attend your school?

Often, a major hurdle is the prospect of borrowing money. That’s why offering loan repayment assistance programs, or LRAPs, can make a huge difference with enrollment.

Peter Samuelson, President at Ardeo Education Solutions, joins the show to explain what LRAPs are, how they’re used, and how higher ed institutions benefit from them.

We discuss:

- How colleges and universities can use LRAPs

- The research into the benefits of LRAPs

- The “College Is Worth It” research initiative

- The difference between income share agreements (ISAs) and LRAPs

Email Peter if you have any questions about LRAPs.

To hear more interviews like this one, subscribe to Higher Ed Marketer on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your preferred podcast platform.

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Higher Ed Marketer in your favorite podcast player.

You are listening to the Higher Ed Marketer, a podcast geared towards marketing professionals in higher education. This show will tackle all sorts of questions related to student recruitment, dontor relations, marketing trends, new technologies and so much more. If you are looking for conversations centered around where the industry is going, this podcast is for you. Let's get into the show. Welcome to the High Red Marketer podcast. I'm troy singer and I'm here with my cohost and Talka truck collector, Bart Taylor, and today we're going to talk to Peter Samuelson and he's with our dao education solutions and with Peter we're going to have a discussion on how colleges can help grow their enrollment and improve their value proposition through loan repayment assistant programs. Yeah, it's been a really good conversation with Peter. I'm excited to share this with everyone and I think that before the Higher Ed marketers out there are like I thought this was a show about marketing. It is and I want you to pay attention to it, because what Peter Talks about with these l wraps, it's kind of the short version of the loan repayment assistant programs, L rap. What he talks about is the idea of how you can leverage these in your marketing to help students find security in going into your school, especially if they're having to take out debt and maybe their career isn't one that's going to be a high paying career at the end. So a lot of thing is talking about, you know, the prospective students needs, their perception, their realities and how we can market and provide them tools to help them, you know, get over the barriers of applying to your school, of accepting and depositing your school and then ultimately, you know, becoming matriculated there. So it's a good conversation, so be sure to stay stay tuned. Here's our conversation with Peter Samuelson. Is My pleasure to welcome Peter Samuelson of our dao education solutions to the Higher Ed Marketer podcast. How you doing today, Peter? Very good, troy, thanks for having me on the podcast. Great to join you. It is our pleasure ...

...and we can't wait to hear everything you'd like to give us about how colleges can utilize loan repayment assistant programs to enhance their enrollment. But before that, if you can give us a little bit about you, your role and how you came up with this idea? Sure things. So My name Peter Samuelson. I'm the president and founder at our dao education solutions. We've been doing this for some years now, helping colleges grow their enrollment by really helping students go to college. And this just comes out of my personal life. I was coming out of college at Greenville College Down There St Louis, heading to law school and wanted to go to Yale law school but couldn't afford it. Right that classic phrase that students sale the time is I can't afford it, and so I put in my deposits to go to University of Chicago Law School and then discovered the Yel had this great program. They called it a career options assistance program, but every law school who copied them calls it a loan repayment assistance program and lay up for short and the promise was come here, borrow a ton of money, pay us that borrowed money and when you graduate, if your income is low, will make your loan payments for you. So just a great program that said, yeah, I can go to get a law school, I can do public interest work when I graduate. I'm not going to be burdened by a load of debt because I can go do anything I want afterwards. And that gave me the freedom to go to Yale instead of Chicago. Had A great experience there. I use the program for a year afterwards to do human rights work in Sudan and in Hong Kong, and so really affected where I went to school, how I started my career. I ended up on Wall Street, paid off the loans like most people do, which was great, but was just delighted to have that freedom to go anywhere I want to do anything I wanted. That is wonderful. And then from that experience the idea from Ordeo arrived. But sure so, a few years later I was looking to join the board of a college where my mom taught. So I grew up in McPherson, Kansas, the home of central Christian College. Small little school right, totally different experience from Yale. Totally different student body, but really the same enrollment problem, which was they were admitting lots of students. Doing all that marketing work to bring the students... bringing the applications, admit the students. And then seventy five percent of students who are admitted said no, we can't afford it, we're going somewhere else. Obviously lots of reasons that go somewhere else, but you know, the dominant reason to not attend after being admitted was we just don't want to borrow the money. Right. And so I thought, you know, we need the same program Yale has. Let's tell these students, let's say we're sure you're making a good economic investment, we're confident you're going to get a good job. Most of you write, and that's true at most colleges. You know, eighty percent, ninety percent of graduates do get a good job. But there is that bottom group of students, at ten or twenty percent at every college every year who struggle to get a job. They come out with student loans. That burden really hurts and everyone hears about those, right, if you've got a nephew and Nie, a daughter, son at a CO worker at work, you hear about those, those hard cases. So I thought, why don't we make the same promise you all made to me? And let's make let's give students the comfort and the confidence they need to come here and matriculates and get the value of this education. I love that idea because I think that not only are you solving a real world problem. I mean much like you know, you experienced yourself at Yale being able to go out and then do some social impact type of law, but I mean, you know, a lot of the really good schools for for you know, really good types of education. Sometimes, you know, it's challenging, and I'm thinking of some smaller private colleges right now where, you know, a lot of their going to graduate, a lot of nurses or a lot of teachers or a lot of pastors and faith based leaders, and sometimes those careers don't have the largest incomes. And you know, take a lawyer. I mean what's one thing, a lawyer and a doctor being able to pay back and being able to provide that for them, but just for the for folks like you who called into ministry to be able to go to a really good Christian, you know, private school. It's not the same as going to community college. So I'm saying that really plays out well with us. Is as well well it does. You know, you mentioned teachers teachers are just a great example for us because when a teacher lands at full time job,...

...usually a union base job, right, they get a good pay. But so often when a student gets a teaching degree and starts their substitute teaching and they're also working at starbucks and for that year or two until they land the full time Gig, they're not making that much money. And we help a lot of those students, a lot of those graduates. And then you mention the ministry. Right, a lot of people, as they are high school seniors, go into college. If they're looking at a Christian college, they're very often wondering, am I going to head into some ministry related job? And through college they make that decision. Some do, many don't, but it's nice for that to still be an option for them if they have an l wrap in place and know that they don't have to worry about the income when they graduate and they can pursue that calling if they want to pursue that calling. So let's talk about how a college and university can benefit by promoting, by marketing l wraps and how they can utilize it to enhance their enrollment. Sure so you know, when people ask me what I do? I say I help students go to college, and that's really what we're doing, is we're helping students go to their first choice college and that of course helps colleges. So our economic model is we sell this program to colleges, colleges give it to their students and the way a college does this as they sign up with us and then we work with that college to help them figure out which of their perspective students should they give these l raps to. So they can look at their segments and anywhere that they have low yield. So out of states student Sudents is off at a segment where they have really low yield, right. Or maybe low EFC students, or maybe it's the nonathletes, or maybe they're going to add l wrap to some of their scholarship students who aren't getting the top scholarships just to suitet in it and make that deal a little better for them. Right. Maybe they're restarting a major where they want to rebuild that major, or they have a brand new major where they're trying to draw some attraction to it. So anywhere where they have a segment where the yield is lower than they want they can add l wrap into that offer to those students and help out. And then almost every college, as they go from March, April May and they've sent out those financial aid awards and they're waiting for students to show up. In August or September, they...

...suffer summer melt and they have a whole bunch of students in their funnel that go stale and quit talking to them. So you can definitely use l rap as a tool to respond to summer melt and to work with the stale funnel through the late springing through the summer to find those students who have said I wanted to come but I'm nervous and I'm reluctant to borrow and change that equation, turn that no into a yes. That's great. And then, and then I'm guessing that sometimes, you know, looking at the data. Then I'm sure that you have some data that shows that students who you know, have the security of this type of way to not only begin their college career in matriculate, but also then to retain and actually, you know, complete and graduate. I'm sure that that security for a student and their family probably does play in a lot to the retention? Is that true? Absolutely, definitely boost retention and graduation rate, sometimes by quite a bit. Now depends on why the student came. If the student wanted to go to your college and l rap enables them to go, it's going to boost retention rate by probably about ten percentage points all the way through graduation. If you were their second choice or they weren't that excited about you, but I'll wrap kind of twisted their arm and said go ahead and try it, not going to see a retention boost with that group of students, but certainly there's a big boost with students who view your specific college as the place they want to go, their preferred choice. Right. And then what about I know you've done some some research and working with Ruffelo Nol levits are now on some some of this data and kind of how this impacts the during Roman decisions and, I guess specifically the SOC and come in Firstgen type of students. You've talked a little bit about that, but anything specific to the RNL research that you've kind of discovered? Yeah, we do research with every year. We do it internally. A lot of our clients do their own research, but this last year we did a big survey with Rufflonel leavitts had a really great sample size. Was Fun to work with a partner, with someone like ourn l to do it and just got the same results we always see but, you know, even more detail than we've often seen. So they did a survey a one fifteen hundred students in the summer who had and had not matriculated but had been...

...offered l rap. Sixteen percent of those who matriculated said they would not have matriculated except for L rap. And what was really interesting is thirteen percent who did not matriculate said they would have matriculated if they had been offered l rap. Right. So that's just a huge group of students. I'll there that these colleges could have successfully recruited if they had gone ahead and make the offer. And then you mentioned students of color, first generation low income. One of the great details we got out of this are inhale study, because it's bigger than the ones we've done before, is the impact was almost twice as big for students of color, first generation and low income. Specifically, twenty four percent of students of color said they would not have come without being offered the all rap twenty seven percent of those whose families had incomes below a hundred thousand said the same thing, and twenty four percent of those whose parents did not have a college degree of the same thing. And when you talk to colleges, every college today wants more students of color, more first generation more students from low income backgrounds. Right those are the students who have the biggest social need to get that the advantage as the college offers, and it's really exciting that our program makes such a different, big difference in letting them go to the college they want to go to. I think that's great and I love the fact that it's not only marketing this to the college is to help them understand it, but then giving the college as tools to be able to market to the students. Because, I mean, I know at myself as a first generation student and showy it was also a first generation student. You don't know what you don't know when you're walking into college, and so you know when you're talking to mom and dad and saying, Hey, I'd really like to go to this school and they're like, oh, we can't afford that. Well, I'll take loans out. Will you can't afford that with your career, having something like this and being educated and having the student be able to say, well, my college amissions counselor showed me this. I'd never heard of it. What do you think? That? I think builds that security, builds that trust and obviously builds that that ability for them to go. So that's that's really exciting. I know that one of the things kind of we're talking about there, because, I mean you talked a lot about students of color and low income and first generation students, sometimes Tho as the ones that are going to be most impacted, but sometimes are the ones...

...that are often on the fence of trying to figure out is college worth it, and and I know that that that's some, you know, some research that's being done under that title right now, College Worth it research initiative, and so tell me a little bit about how you guys are involved in that and what's going on with that as well. Sure. So, you know, we love talking to families and students when they have those questions about is college worth it? Can I really afford it? One of the things we do is when our college partners offer lap to students is we run a whole media campaign at cadence with them. We email them, send them postcards but, most importantly, we get on the phone and we talked to them because we want to explain how this l rap works and often in those conversations we get to rebut some of those common misconceptions about is college worth it, and when you read media articles, it's really easy for the media to write a story that talks about some student with hundred thousand a debt. Only one percent of undergraduate graduates come out with a hundred thousand a debt. The people with hunder thousand dollars of debt are doctors and lawyers and, like you said, no one's worried about doctors and lawyers paying off their loans. Right. The average undergraduate only has thirty three thousand in loans when they come out of college, but the media stell stories and says on average they have ninety four thousand. Right. So there's this huge misconception and that does such a disservice to these families where the students, like you said, they want to go to a college. They asked mom and Dad and mom and dad are skeptical. Right, you can't borrow that much. And if they really think they have to borrow a hundred thousand to go to college. That's totally going to dissuade them because they can't do that and they're the job they get isn't going to pay that back right. But when they learn they only have to borrow thirtyzero probably on average, that's much more viable, especially when they have the safety net that l rap gives them, the promises them. If, in for whatever reason, you have struggled making those loan payments, getting a better income as you graduate will help you out. What's really exciting for us on the back end is we help twenty, five thirty percent of graduates who struggle right out of the gates, but within a year most of them get really good pay raises. It's really fun to see that over the course of a year after graduation so many of them find that much better job, whether it's a...

...substitute teacher getting the full time job or the person in some business career getting a promotion, whatever it is, within a year or two almost all of them have seen significant income growth, which is nice. That's great. So Peter has we were talking about all that. One of the things that I have in mind. I mean my kids. One of my kids go to Pretty University and I know President Mitch Daniels, and we've had Ethan Braden, the vice president of enrollment, on the show couple times. But I'm always influenced with a lot of things I hear from purdue and I've been aware of our Daoh and before you are Our da Oh, you were l rap and you've been doing this for a number of years. Since then I've heard the initiative from from at least from purdue, this back of boiler. It's the idea that you know, alumni will basically invest in students of need and other people that might typically qualify like for an l rap, but they would basically be investing in them with with a return on that investment later on. It's more of an investment tool for the alumni than it is a safety net for the student. So tell me a little bit about that and how that relates to what you're doing. Sure so, in some ways it's very similar. Both we and, if you know, that's an income share agreement, is the generic name for that back of boiler program. And you mentioned for due right a great school. Mitch has been a great leader in higher education doing a lot of innovative things and there's a lot of interest in higher ed financial aid. Right. How do you finance student loans and income based repayment is both what's is is as do and what l reps do right. We're going to look at your income after graduation and use that in some way to determine how you finance your education. The really big difference between ISA as and l wraps is every school has a few students who just can't borrow that last five thousand dollars they need and the is Isa fills that gap and provides the actual cash they need for that last five thous we don't provide a loan as L rap. We don't fill that gap, we don't solve the need for that group of students. What we do is work with a much larger group of students who have available to them the loans to borrow, whether federal or private..., and they just don't want to borrow and we make them comfortable borrowing all of those student loans that are available. So I think that the use case for is is as and l raps are quite different with different groups of students. A college can certainly do both I think we can help them work with more students and I think students have been very, very happy with the l raps we provide across, you know, hundreds of colleges now over the last ten years. That's great. Thank you. As we bring our conversation to a close, we always ask our guests is there a topic or a takeaway that you could offer that would be immediately implementable by someone, especially someone that's considering a program like yours? So I think something immediately that they could take away and do is most clients of ours, most college partners who use L rap, they start in the spring and they do a pilot with a few students. This is the perfect time to start right financial aid awards have gone out the door or are going out the door. Admissions counselors have students who are raising their hand and say I'm reluctant to borrow that money, I can't afford it, I don't want to borrow colleges who are interested in intrigued by this idea should just sign up with us for a pilot and let their admissions counselors make this offer to a few of those students who raise their hand and what they're going to find out is are going to find out the power of that promise, the power of that a rat promise, to really turn that skepticism of around and turn that no, I can't come to a yes. I can come and I'm excited. So We'd love to see people just try it out, tested on a few students and see if it works. That's wonderful and, Peter, thank you so much for being a guest today. You've definitely brought some wonderful information. Just want to make sure we've covered everything that you would like to have covered today and is there anything additional that you would like to add? You know, delighted to be on your show to day, Troy Bart, thanks for having us. If anyone has any more questions about this, you know we are always eager to talk about it. Our website is our DAO aardo dot org. My own email is Peter at our Dal Education Dot Org. Would be happy to follow up with any...

...questions any of your listeners and thank you very much, Peter Bart. Would you have any final thoughts that you would like to share? Yeah, I think that this is a really good example of when we're looking at higher ad marketing, really understanding the needs of your perspective students and understanding what would be the challenges that they might need to overcome. I mean, we talk about messaging a lot and we talk about branding and we talked about ways to make sure that we're answering the questions that students have. I mean that's that's basic, you know, marketing one hundred and one. But I think this is a good example of sometimes, as hired marketers, we might not go deep enough to understand what those true issues are that's keeping them from coming to your school. It might not be the fact that they don't like your school. It might not be the fact that you don't have their major, it might not be the fact of anything that you typically think of. It might be the fact of their own fear of being able to repay it back their loans or or be able to be successful enough to afford an education. And so I think that what Peters talked about today is really important for us, as highed marketers, to really understand the full spectrum of the of the student, understand the full spectrum of the families and what their concerns are and then, as high ed marketers, as enrollment professionals provide the tools and the education to them to allow them to make those decisions to actually matriculate and graduate successfully from your school. You know, certainly it's better for them to get into your school and graduate and be successful alumni and always have good things to say about your school then to just turn away and go to some place that they really didn't want or never end up in higher education to begin with. So I think these are some really good marketing lessons all the way through and and what a great opportunity to talk about a tool like this that could be part of the marketing tool kit for enrollment and going from there. So thanks again, Peter, for being on the show today. Thank you for thank you, troy. That brings us to the end of a wonderful episode. The High Ed Market of podcast is sponsored by Kaylor solutions and education marketing and branding agency and by Think, patented, a marketing, execution, printing and mailing provider of Higher Ed Solutions. Thank you all for joining us. You've been listening... the Higher Ed Marketer. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. If you're listening with apple PODCASTS, we'd love for you to leave a quick rating of the show. Simply tap the number of stars you think the podcast deserves. Until next time,.

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