It sometimes feels like the students and administration just don’t quite see eye to eye. Our perspectives are just too different. This can obviously lead to clash, but it also leads to some funny quirks. For example, the recent board of trustees meeting featured a point on some positive news for UConn: Prospective students are choosing it over other universities more than ever!
This is great news for all of us, administration and students alike. More students means more funding and resources put into the university. The way it was talked about at the meeting is a little humorous, though. For example, when compared to Boston University, UConn is “winning” by being picked over half the time.
What is most revealing toward the aforementioned disconnect, however, is Susan Herbst’s offerings of reasons why this change is occurring. She proposed that this could be the result of the Honors college, improved tours and recreational facilities. While these factors are all definitely important, they ignore the elephant in the room.
Most students at UConn, when asked about why they are here, will not be saying that they were just completely enchanted by the tour. No, instead the Connecticut residents at least will all be raving about the price compared to other universities. Of course UConn is still expensive, but it is so much cheaper than most of the other options of its caliber. This is not meant to be a reductionist statement, though: That’s a great thing! If anything, it should be brought up every time UConn is talked about.
However, especially to a board of trustees meeting, there are things that are useful to state and things that are not. It is perfectly reasonable to want to bring up the points that Herbst did in order to keep attention and funding on those aspects. Still, I think there is a more formal way to state just how much of a draw UConn’s price is: it has a great value proposition.
What UConn offers for its price point is insanely far beyond the usual scale for American universities. By every metric, UConn is fantastic, and all for a fraction of the cost of its competitors (for in-state students). This should be marketed to every prospective student, and it should be brought up whenever a decision related to the university is made. Especially in the current “college market,” UConn has a very strong brand to go off of. In order to continue to stand out, then, it should play into this as much as possible. It should embrace its great value proposition.