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Does your college website pass the 10-minute tuition search challenge?

2 min read

Recently, Akil Bello, the Senior Director of Advocacy and Advancement at FairTest, posed a question to the higher ed community on Twitter:

Tweet: "Here is a challenge... Please choose a college (set a timer for 10 minutes) go to the colleges website and find the cost of Tuition, room, and board. Report back how long it takes you to find this information."

There were a myriad of responses, and one in particular that caught our eye: 

Tweet: "19 seconds at @EWUEagles. It also includes all the tuition and fee amounts (and links to sources) for all the WA public universities. Our local community college also does it that way. We also let net price by income, fwiw."

That is Jens Larson, the Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management at Eastern Washington University. We should disclose that EWU is a client of Mongoose, and explain why that’s extremely relevant. 

EWU is able to help students find the information they need quickly (19 seconds!) because they’ve put the time and effort into understanding the importance of creating a website that functions to serve their students. Coupled with a streamlined navigation, EWU’s customized chatbot, Swoop, is able to address the needs of students swiftly and efficiently.

Because EWU runs a specific financial aid playbook through Harmony, the staff can closely monitor and address the concerns of their students, such as in May when the University experienced a spike in requests to the CARES act.

Meet Swoop, EWU's Chatbot

Chatbots like Harmony and Swoop guide students, parents, and prospective students to the information they need while also answering questions and handling repetitive tasks. In the age of instantaneous information in the palm of our hand, why should it take more than a few minutes to find tuition costs, application status, or academic programs?

Tuition and expenses are big factors in the decision process for students. It can be difficult for an institution to be transparent about costs, but chatbots can help provide value and clarity.

While it might not seem like a big deal, having a chatbot that can immediately respond to a question like, "Does the food court have any kosher options?", is extremely satisfying for someone with this concern. 

Timing is everything

Students want and need information, and the time in which your school’s website delivers that valuable info could be the difference between whether or not they choose to go to your institution. And, for current students, easily obtainable and organized information brings them that much closer to reaching their goals.

If your website isn’t providing the information students need, immediately, you’re turning them away.

Want to learn more? Check out the features of Harmony, a chatbot designed for higher ed.

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