College at a discount, or Extreme College Couponing!

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 10:  The Groupon logo is di...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

The Chicago Tribune reported last week that a Chicago-based private university, National Louis University, is offering a Groupon for one of its  graduate-level courses. The course proposes to help someone who has no teaching experience, nor much exposure to teaching, determine whether this is a career path they might wish to follow.  [H/T to Jenna Johnson at the Washington Post‘s Campus Overload]

NLU is offering a discount of nearly 60 percent on tuition — the three hour course usually costs $2,232, the Groupon offers it for $950. If someone signs up for the course, gets interested in teaching, and wants to enroll in the Master’s program, they will need to apply for admission and be prepared to complete 33 more credit hours at the regular rate (an additional $24,552 + fees, housing, etc.).

I particularly like GOOD’s take on this. See the full post here.

Call me old-fashioned, but you can figure out if you want to be a teacher for free. Thanks to budget cuts, schools are pretty short-staffed, so if you want some field experience, all you have to do is call a school and ask to volunteer in a classroom. You’ll be able to talk to teachers about the pros and cons of the profession and learn how to earn your credential. Or you could head to the library and check out one of the many books written by teachers after their first year in the classroom, or read online about the issues and trends impacting the field.

Even if you count gas money, the cost of a DIY “class” will cost a tiny fraction of National Louis’ $950 sale price. True, you won’t earn three college credits for figuring out if you want to be a teacher, but students taking the class aren’t guaranteed acceptance into the school’s master’s in teaching program. If they aren’t admitted, they’ve paid a lot of money for credits they can’t use. Wouldn’t it be nice if a full education was affordable for everyone without a one-week coupon?

We’ve long been reading about net rates and tuition discounts, but this — a coupon — is a first. Given the combined conditions of tough economy, higher ed bubble, and almost nonexistent job market for college grads… do you think we’ll see more innovative discounting?

Perhaps, and especially if it gets the name of your university into the national press.

If, as has been reported, the vendor receives about 50 percent of the Groupon purchase price [there is no way of knowing the details, since Groupon says every deal is negotiated case by case], then NLU spent about $27K to offer 15 Groupons. Care to estimate how much they netted in exposure in national media and the blogosphere? See below just a few of the article links that popped up on my search…

If you were the admissions officer for a relatively unknown University, wouldn’t this tempt you?

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Filed under Paying for College

3 responses to “College at a discount, or Extreme College Couponing!

  1. My favorite book on marketing is “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing” by Al Ries and Jack Trout. Rule #3 is the Law of the Category (my fav rule): if you can’t be first in a category, create the category to be first in. National Louis University did just that by offering a tuition discount via Groupon. You ask in your post “do you think we’ll see more innovative discounting?” Yes, and if not in the form of cost reduction, in the form of other innovative incentives to attract students (and/or media coverage). Props to NLU for trying something new and making it their own.

    • I agree with you, Kelly. I think a lot of college marketing people – both on staff and consultants — are working on ways to stand out. This certainly deserved more attention than one more customized letter or postcard offering ’10 Secrets About Getting Into College!’.

  2. Pingback: College at a Discount, part two. | Dr. StrangeCollege or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Journey

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