You can't distinguish yourself from others by doing what they do.
You can't distinguish yourself from others by doing what they do.
Just prior to student arrival, a top UNC official said- "Our biggest challenge is managing our anxieties."
Just as quickly as students arrived on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus to move into their dorms and begin the semester, 11 Covid-19 clusters quickly formed. Within a week, UNC shut down all live classes in response to nearly 1,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases prompting students to move off-campus or return home.
In reference to the quote above, a great colleague of mine, Leah Zimmerman, told me once that "words are hard to formulate under stress or fear."
At the core of a college leader's anxiety rests the fear of losing students and their tuition fees to online studies versus bringing students on campus under a false belief of safety but getting their tuition dollars.
I've said all along that colleges just need to get the students on campus for one day for setting-the-hook into the money. So far, most have elected to grab the money.
With mounting student test-positive cases around the country, just about 30,000 as of now, it's the students and their parents who are left scrambling and disenchanted.
In just the last few days-
Colorado College put 150 arriving freshmen students into isolation-quarantine due to one person testing positive.
Ohio State suspended 228 students for partying; several other colleges have incurred similar suspensions.
Marist College locked down its primary freshmen dorm due to the positive test of a party-goer.
Michigan State canceled all of their campus activities... oh, just two days after tuition fees were due.
Here are my three top takeaways so far with many more colleges yet to have their students arrive.
1. There are no surprises here; college students will party without taking necessary precautions. You just can't legislate against it and believe it will work. Everyone knew this was coming. But suspensions of students? That's a harsh reality and a lifetime black-eye!
2. There are no refunds coming either; Colleges have implemented hardline disclaimers preventing tuition refund-claims for compromised study arrangements. Student petitions citing "a drop in the value-proposition" are popping up on college campuses demanding refunds, but still falling on the deaf-ears of college officials.
3. This shows how desperate colleges are to get our money; they want to cite their expenses as justification for maintaining their fee structure and for keeping the money. I thought in business we needed to prove our worth, not prove our cost. Isn't this, the value-proposition, being taught in Business school? Hmmm...
You see, Bernie Madoff defrauded clients of approximately $65 Billion. With an estimated industry value of $250 Billion per semester of college, I figure colleges, with all the compromised experiences in place, are worth at best half of it, maybe $125B...but they will keep all of it.
My math tells me that families of college students will be defrauded of $125B, double that of Bernie Madoff. It's the greatest heist since Bernie Madoff, and I'll leave it at that.
If you're unsure what it means to you, plan a call with me, book here.
Or chime in by joining our College Clarity FB Group
Stay tuned for a big announcement coming soon!
A top college official said this week-
"Now we have to deal with parents...we much prefer dealing with the students."
No kidding...they've created their entire business model centered on building student-appeal, rather than meeting market/ parent needs.
It's August 2nd, but not any ordinary August 2nd. This is the month typically when millions of people begin their trek towards college campuses around the country.
However, the elephant that's been standing in college board rooms since mid-June is now getting attention.
Where the college rhetoric has been- "We're opening campus in the fall", the reality is taking shape differently than was hoped.
Colleges have been madly driven and desperate in their attempt to protect their golden-goose business model and luxurious lifestyles through these challenging times.
They are highly incentivized to bring the students on campus for at least one day. Doing so serves to set their hook into the money.
Announcing a limited-attendance or stay-at-home online study policy will result in a significant drop in student attendance, projected as follows.
Tier 1 schools could see a 10% -15% drop in attendance, which is costly but not life-threatening.
Tier 2 schools could see a 20% -25% drop in attendance, which is financially devastating.
Tier 3 schools could see a 30% drop in attendance, which will seal their doom.
The elephant, aka Covid-19 Pop-Up Hot Spots, was outside hanging around since the beginning after sending everyone home in March.
When half of Clemson's football team, made up of the strongest and fittest men on the planet, tested positive within two weeks of practice in mid-June, the elephant entered the room to heed its fair warning to college officials- bring students on campus and hot-spots will form.
But the elephant's fair warning fell mostly on deaf ears.
Now that the upcoming fall semester is quickly approaching, colleges are scrambling to decide upon their fate. It's a matter of announcing online-study policies risking tuition dollars versus announcing open-campus policies risking Covid-19 infected students.
So far, the trend is that colleges with a lesser financial risk are quicker to announce highly restrictive campus policies tied to online studies.
For the most part, colleges are intent to minimally get their freshmen class on campus for hooking into the longer income stream. They can risk having unsatisfied college seniors, but they can't risk having freshmen no-shows.
Each college will show their hand in the coming days. Stay tuned for more...to plan a call, book here.
What would you do if you were the decision-maker?
A top UNC official was recently asked- "What's your biggest challenge right now?"
She said- "Managing our anxieties."
Managing their anxieties is exactly what they're doing, but to what end?
So, have colleges lost their mind?
No, they have not lost their mind but they have lost their vision. And when you lose your vision, you lose your sense of direction.
They are driving 100 mph in dense fog. College officials are blinded by their intense and desperate need to get kids on campus.
It is their only way to get a hook into the money!
It is well-conceived that a 25% - 40% "no-show" rate awaits many colleges who announce a shutdown campus in favor of stay-at-home online studies.
This will be financially catastrophic to most colleges.
However, they have lost their sense of direction by thinking they can bring several thousand teenagers onto campus and successfully conduct responsible social-distancing policies. Really, how can that work?
We're dissecting all of this for you in our College Clarity FB group, join us here.
Coronavirus shook the college world in March with immediate campus shutdowns sending students home to complete their semester online. College officials scrambled for the next month desperately trying to preserve their ability to keep the student's money. And keep it they did, wrongfully so.
Why is it wrong? Because they didn't fulfill the obligations for which they were paid. The learning experience was greatly diminished. We call that "over-sold, under-delivered"...not exactly a novel concept!
The three months following were spent delivering sound-bites designed to appease their customer-base...fend off the wolves!
It all began with Brown Univ. President Paxson proclaiming- "The reopening of campuses in the fall should be a national priority!"
I safely say that's her priority. Our national priority should be to make college accessible and affordable to mainstream America while delivering the desired outcomes of the students. Can I say—jobs?
However, college officials have made it clear that their intention is to reopen campuses in the fall. They know that once the semester begins, they've hooked the money. They've become consumed with how to do this, not if they should be doing this.
Here's my point. College officials have spent four months working to protect the business enterprise over protecting the student's interest.
I support the creative solutions being devised. The combination of live and online study for classes gives flexibility to the student. After all, this is the future of college education, so get used to it.
But the elephant has now entered the room. With the fall semester scheduled to begin in a month, we have student-restrictions being drafted, college sports getting canceled, college-towns voicing concerns, professors petitioning their objections, and parents unwilling to pay full price for the lesser experience.
Everyone is wondering how we're going to do this, not if we should be doing this.
The reality is that a student's on-campus experience will be torturous, chaotic, and fragmented to no one's satisfaction.
Does anyone think that a student wants to be told they can't go out, be subjected to a nose swab every two weeks, have to pre-order their meals, get their temperature taken everywhere they go, and be quarantined for two weeks when a friend tests positive? No.
What's the true value here relative to its cost?
What I see right now is a compromise-mandate placed upon the student/ parent, but not the college.
Now's the time for colleges to rise to the same level of standard that we expect of ourselves. That's simply to do the right thing and do it for the right reason.
For the first time in years, they need to listen to and accommodate the interests of us, their customers.
To finish, I was listening to a UNC official a few days ago. She said- "We now have to deal with customers when we prefer to deal with students."
Imagine that...they have to pay attention to us. That makes them uncomfortable.
Parents, what do you think, should we be sending kids back to college and what are you willing to pay?
If you'd like to hear more about this, I'll be hosting a class next week on Zoom...stay tuned.