53: Eastern Michigan University’s In-State Price Match for International Students w/ Dr. James Smith

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Dr. James Smith, President of Eastern Michigan University, discusses how they’re looking to stay competitive with international recruitment in a politically challenging market with their TRUEMU global rate tuition plan.

You're listening to enrolment growth,university from helic education, the best professional development podcastfor higher education leaders looking to grow in Romant at their college oruniversity, whether you're looking for fresh endromant growth techniques andstrategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let'sget into the show, welcome back to anroman growthuniversity, a proud member of the connect Edu podcast network, Imeri,Colson AVP of marketing, ATD healets education and were here today withDctor James Smith, president of Eastern Michigan University, Doctor Smith,welcomed the show. Thank you very much Eric my pleasure to be here reallyexcited to talk with you today about different ways. Institutions can staycompetitive with international recruitment and a politicallychallenging market. Before we dig into that dtor Smith, can you get thelisteners a little bit better understanding of both eastern MichiganUniversity and your Woll there? Certainly, this is my third year'spresient here at Eastern Michigan, I...

...came after a seven year presidency inSouth Dakota. Our campus here in Ipsilanti, is situated between theCities of Detroit and Ann Arbor. We have about twenty hosand studentsundergraduate and graduate. We are a regional, comprehensive university andwe look a lot like regional comprehensives all over the Midwest,with probably one or two exceptions, in that our diversity numbers are greaterthan most and our split undergraduate and graduate probably fluctuates alittle bit more than many of our competitors yeah. It's that diversitynumber that I'm so excited to talk with you about today. You recently announcedyour true EMU global rate tuition plan. Can you give us a high level overviewof this plan and your hopes behind it? Well, the simplest way to describe itis about. A year ago we went in state and out of state with the same tuition.Obviously as a historic State...

University, there was a period of timewhere our instate rate was different than our out of state rate and our outof state rate was different than our international rate as applied toundergraduate students, so think of it as as a typical president or vicepresident or enroment manager, would think of it is there were stairsteps.The least costly of the first steps was our undergraduate instate and then astep up for out of state and then that third step would be international toabout two years ago we did instate and out of state being the same, and now inthis last board meeting, which was in late June, we equalized instate out ofstate and international at the undergraduate level. So historically,many institutions have focused on recruiting intentionally full payinternational students in order to help balance out other discountand studentpopulations from a total revenue standpoint. But given the downtrend ininternational student interest within the current political climate, do yousee this global right tuition plan as a...

...necessary strategy to effectivelycompete for international students? Well, I can't speak for otherinstitutions Eric, but I can say for us: We are a believer that the workplace isindeed global, that our campus needs to be international, that our studentsneed to have friends, colleagues and others in their undergraduate classwork and certainly in their graduate class work as well that come fromaround the globe. They're going to work in a very global environment, they'regoing to have global connections and interconnections in order to do thatand do it, as you said, in a time of I might use the term distress, we thoughtit was best to say: Let's make this simple. If you live in Alabama, you say:Pay The same amount that you do. If you live in Michigan. If you live inArkansas, you pay the same amount as you do. If you live in Michigan, if youlive in Casak Tan, you pay the same...

...amount as you do. If you live inMichigan, so we were comfortable with that. We do understand. Others have astrategy of saying we are a premium quality and quantity that students wantto be a part of, and they index those numbers very differently. We werereally focused on globalization and fitting with the work that we've done.Hashtag. You are welcome here work, but we really wanted to say. We don't onlybelieve this in a marketing sense. We believe it in a budgeting sense and thefinancial sense of the university overall offering your instae tuitionprice international students effectively makes eastern Michigan oneof the most affordable options in the country for international students.You've also made deep efforts with, as you mentioned your you are- welcomehere, creative campaigns to welcome and support your international studentpopulations. How critical is international student in Roman growthto your overall strategic plan? Well, first, thank you for the the littleline on that we may be one of the most...

...affordable, we're hoping that messageup translates around the glow and it is it's true, and it is part of of whatwe're willing to say and we're excited about saying. But overall we felt likethis was a strategy that fit with you or welcome here and fit with us as aninstitution and to not do what we just describe really was counter to themessage that we were sending to our current international students, an ourfuture irenational students. We have about a thousand undergraduate graduateinternational students. We want to double that number to two thousand andwe thought this was the way to get from one thousand to two thousand in afairly aggressive manner. You mentioned how you made this change to your titionrate for out of staters last year. How have you responded to critics nowconcerned that out of state and international students are are gettingthe same tuition benefits as instate...

...students from state tax? Payinghouseholds well well, well, unpack that in a couple different ways. First, ifyou look at undergraduates like myself in the late S, states like Michigan andOhio and Indiana we're paying about seventy eight percent of the overallcost to educate an undergraduate student. The student himmer herself waspaying in the in the twenty percent between two thousand and twenty two totwenty five percent. That's actually flipped on its head. So now we see thatthe vast majority are not inconsequential, but the vast majorityof the money coming to us very consequentially is coming from thestudent, not inconsequentialis the money coming from the state, so thatdivide is not as great as it once was. That's one of the first things that Isay has we unpacked that question? Secondly, we have seat capacity in anumber of our undergraduate programs, so we are not opening up new sectionsjust because we have students that are...

...coming to us from around the country oraround the globe were actually maximizing the seat capacity that wehave. Certainly I in define majors, and we want to continue to do that. I justcame back from a three three country tour where I was in China. I was inSouth Korea and I was in Taiwan and I can tell you that the reception therefrom both students and alams has been very, very positive with regard toequalizing the tuition rate across the board for both instate out of state andthen now adding international, terrific stuff, Dr Smith. Finally, any next steprecommendations for other institutions who are maybe up against nervous, INGand Roman growth goals and they're looking to be more internationalstudent friendly. Well, I think you have to you, have to do strong analysis,and we didn't walk into this with thenotion that we can make this decision and a few days or a few weeks, we spentthe better part of a year, looking at...

...the costs and looking at theopportunities and as our CFO would say, the lost opportunity cost of not doingthis, and as we put all that together, we saw this is something that workedand worked well for Eastern Michigan University. We know that we haveinternational student interest and demand. We want to make it as welcomingit being the process of getting to campus as welcoming as humanly possible,we're also located about twenty five minutes from Detroit Airport detroits,an international hub. We have air flights that come to US literallynonstop from all parts of the globe, so we knew that was a significantcomponent as well. I can't tell another institution that this will work well,for that. I can only say that when we looked at it within the context ofEastern Michigan University within the...

...context of what we are doing with theUR welcome here, campaign, which again has had really phenomenal response, notonly within our local community, where we have banners of our students fromeighty different nations hanging all around the city, but really from ourregional peers, our regional colleagues and nathonally and internationally. Wefelt this was all a good fit for us to say that I think it's a good fit forsomeone who might be listning on the west coast or the East Coast. I can'tsay that I would say to them that I think it does tell a very strongmessage to international students who are looking at your institution whenyou say we are so committed to this. We are willing to walk out on a limb thatlots of other places aren't willing to walk out onto tetre Smith thanks somuch for your time today. What is the best place for listeners to connectwith you if they have any followed questions? I'd be happy to takequestions. We have a presidential account here at Eastern Michigan, whichis pretty creative Eric. It's president,...

...at Emish, Emich Dot Edu woe'd be happyto take questions. Wilter, kraft, whos, our vice president for communicationsthat I will certainly get as much information back to your listeners aswe can again. I would just say that it has worked for us and the eyes ofthose who are considering, obviously itill, take us about a year to reallydetermine if it is the success that we think it's going to be, but yeah we'revery positively disposed. Awesome, good, Luckand, thanks against so much foryojoining a to dctor Smith. My pleasure, thank you attracting today's new post,traditional learners means adopting new enrolmant strategies. Kelics educationsdata driven enterprise, wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquelyhelping colleges and universities thrive in this new education, landscapeand Helex has just published the second edition of their enrollment growthplaybook, with fifty percent brand new content on how institutions can solvetoday's most pressing enromant growth...

...challenges download it today for freeat Helock's, Educationcom playbook you've been listening to enromentgrowth university from heliks education to ensure that you never miss anepisode subscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thankyou so much for listening until next time.

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