Higher Ed Marketing and Branding

Episode 8 January 16, 2023 00:36:05
Higher Ed Marketing and Branding
College Is Worth It
Higher Ed Marketing and Branding

Jan 16 2023 | 00:36:05


Hosted By

Vi Nguyen Justin Gillmar Drew Melendres Jonathan Shores, Ph. D.

Show Notes

The College Is Worth It Podcast, welcomes to the show Deborah Maue, SVP of Enrollment and Marketing, Aurora University. Deborah Maue joins the podcast to talk about higher ed marketing and branding. Deb is an expert and thought leader in higher ed marketing. After a successful career in consumer packaged goods, Deb has worked as a higher ed consultant and in-house at a number of large, successful private institutions. We discuss how colleges can improve their value proposition in the face of questions about cost and value, her thoughts on the college experience as administrator and a parent, and some of the unique programs at Aurora University.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:04 You're listening to the College's Worth It Podcast, where you'll learn from leaders who are transforming higher education and helping to ensure that a college degree will pay off for this generation. And the next, explore innovations in higher education with us in each episode. Speaker 2 00:00:21 Hi everyone, this is Justin Gillmar. You are listening to The College Is Worth It Podcast. Today I'm excited to be speaking with Deb Maui, who is the Senior Vice President for Enrollment and Marketing at Aurora University. Deb has extensive experience in higher education, marketing and enrollment management, and on this episode we talk about what makes Aurora University distinct, including their program for neuro divergent students and ways they are addressing affordability. We also discuss reviews on how to make sure college pays off, both from an administrator's perspective and from a parent's perspective. Finally, we talk about how college admissions has changed over the years. So with all that, let's get started. Hi, Deb, welcome to the podcast. Thanks for being here. Speaker 3 00:01:04 Thanks so much for inviting me. Speaker 2 00:01:06 Why don't you introduce yourself. Tell us what you're doing now and about your work at Aurora University. Speaker 3 00:01:14 Okay. Happy to. I have spent the last 15 years in higher ed marketing after spending the first 15 years of my career in consumer package goods marketing. Um, I'm currently senior vice president for enrollment and marketing at Aurora University in Aurora, Illinois, second largest city in Illinois and in this role I lead a team of about 30 enrollment and marketing and communications, uh, professionals. Speaker 2 00:01:41 Okay, great. Thank you. Can you tell me a little more about Aurora? Speaker 3 00:01:46 Yeah. Be happy to. So, Aurora has about 6,000 students. We're a private, not-for-profit institution. And about 4,000 of our students are undergrads. And we have about a thousand, uh, students in our AU online program. And then the other thousand are graduate students. We are at a Hispanic serving institution. About 55% of our students are Hispanic, which reflects our location. It's very Hispanic area. Uh, we are division three athletic school. We have a lot of top ranked athletics programs, and we have a long history of serving populations who are underserved in higher education. So, as I mentioned, we're a Hispanics serving institution, but we also just launched, um, a new program called the Pathways Program which is for Stu College capable students on the autism spectrum, which is a really, very underserved population in higher education. And we're one of the only schools in the Midwest that has a program targeted to students on the autism spectrum. And we just, uh, opened a new residence hall that was built specifically with the needs of NEURODIVERSE students in mind. Oh, wow. And so we're very proud of that program. Speaker 2 00:03:06 Yeah. That's super interesting. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, can you share a little more about what led to that program and that, uh, and the creation of the dorm? Speaker 3 00:03:16 Well, we're always looking for opportunities to, as I said, to serve populations underserved in, in higher education. Our president has a particular interest in this group, given some family background. And, and so it's always been a passion of hers. Okay. And, um, so we started looking at it about three or four years ago, go traveling to other institutions across the country doing, doing similar programs. Really, there aren't very many. And we wanted to, we wanted to really have an impact with this program, which is where the residents hall came from. Okay. So it was built, as I said, with the needs of these students in mind. Although it does house all, all different, you know, neurotypical and neurodiverse students as well. But in terms of the textures, the types of fabrics that are used, the colors Oh, wow that are used. It's all, all created with the needs of these students in mind. We have quiet rooms where they can go, not so they're not disturbed. Um, so it's really, I think, a unique building and we're very proud of Speaker 2 00:04:27 It. Yeah, you should be. That's really interesting. That's neat. Uh, I've never heard of that before. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, so while we're on the, the topic, what are some of the other things that make Aurora distinct? Um, maybe thinking about it just from a brand perspective. You're a branding expert. How, how do you think about the AU brand? And its distinctives? Speaker 3 00:04:49 Every higher ed institution says that they're focused on student success <laugh>. So that makes it challenging from a communication standpoint. But AU truly is every decision we make is, made with, the question around the question, does this benefit our students? And how does this benefit our students? And if it doesn't benefit our students, we don't do it. That's great. So we very focused on, on student success from the point they come in until a point, they graduate and beyond, uh, we meet students where they are. We do a lot of handholding and we provide a lot of individualized support to our students. Our low, low cost, sets us apart. We are the, we have one of the lowest tuition prices of any private college in Illinois. We are a tremendous value. And then, we have, um, really built up our focus on student success, in terms of career outcomes. Speaker 3 00:05:53 So we have partnered with our alumni, to create programs, uh, to really expose students to different careers and help them understand, what they need to do to prepare for different types of careers. let's face it, the typical college student hasn't been exposed to a lot of different types of careers. They've, they've, they know about doctors and lawyers and accountants, but, they really don't know about a lot of careers that are out there. So we bring in every Sunday night we have a Zoom program where we bring in an alumni, with a different career specialty to talk about their, their experiences. And these are not alums who affect, who have 10, 20, 30 years of experience. They're their alumni with maybe five years of experience who are doing really interesting things in healthcare, in finance, really, you name it. Speaker 2 00:06:41 Cool. That's, very interesting and unique. Thank you. Um, so you are, as we mentioned, you're an expert on higher ed marketing and branding. It seems to me that there is more than ever now a question, a narrative, possibly around, Hey, maybe college isn't such a good idea. College is too expensive. College is maybe not worth it. Yet, you know, I think those of us who are in the business know that, you know, almost as well, let me edit, redo. Those of us who are in the higher ed business know that the ROI is still as strong as ever. What are you seeing in the landscape? What are you seeing at AU? What are you seeing across higher ed in terms of how colleges are thinking about addressing these questions of affordability and cost? And is college worth it? Speaker 3 00:07:49 So, first of all, let's talk about whether college is worth it. Okay. So I'm the first of all, I'm the first person to say college isn't for everyone. And I would never say that every single person should go to college, right? Yeah. There are alternatives out there. I am never going to know how to fix my car, and I am always going to be dependent on auto mechanics who know how to fix my car. And so there are alternate paths to college, but for the typical person who would have considered college in the past, college is still a good value, right? When you look at longitudinal studies that, that track college graduates over time, you see that people with a college degree make significantly more money throughout their lifetime than people without a college degree. That was true years ago. It's true today, right? So college is in, in the grand scheme of things, college is still, quote worth it, right? and is a good investment. Speaker 3 00:08:57 It all comes down to, as you said, it all comes down to the value, which is what are you paying for college versus what you're getting out of it. And that's really where I think the, the conversation needs to be is for an individual student, given what they want to major in, how much should they be willing to pay for college? And how much debt should they be willing to take on? Right? I think there is a, there's been a, there's so much conversation now that debt, college debt is bad. Right? And that's just not true. you know, some college debt is good, right? Um, at unfortunately, and that, I'll pick on the media for a minute. You know, the media likes, likes extreme stories, right? So the media likes to portray stories of, of undergraduate students who graduate with $120,000 in student loan debt. Speaker 3 00:09:59 Well, that's just not typical. I mean, those stories are outliers, right? And those students were not, frankly, those students who took on that much debt were not advised well, right. Throughout the process. And shame on everybody who interacted with that student and, and led that student to believe that that was a good idea. The typical student loan balance is more like $28,000, right? And when you look at the payback, the 10 year payback of a, you know, monthly payback of a $28,000 loan, it's really not that much money, right? Um, it's a few hundred dollars a month. And so for someone who has a steady job, that's a very manageable, manageable monthly outlay. Um, and so I think that's, that's where the conversation needs to be, is helping ground people in the reality of what we're really talking about. Speaker 3 00:10:54 Yeah. but then when you talk about an individual student, as I said, you really have to look at how much should you be willing to pay, and how much debt should you be taking on given what you want to do. Right? Right. So, I'll give you an example. My son, wants to be a teacher and, you know, he, he got into really good private schools, and I would've had to pay $50,000 a year to send him to that school. Right. And it's just not Griff it to pay that much money. He fell in love with a mid-tier state institution, got really good scholarships because of his gpa. And he loves it. And he's going to come out with the teaching credential that he needs to be able to go and teach. So he will come out with, you know, he'll come out of undergrad really with no student loan debt, so that he could, it, he could take out student loans for grad school and still be able to pay them back right. On a teacher's salary. So, on the other hand, if you have someone who wants to be an engineer, then maybe it is worth it to take on more debt at a you know, a more prestigious brand name school Yeah. Because they're going to be able to pay it back. So I think we need to get away from this big picture. College isn't a good value. Um, you know, everyone's taking on too much debt to really looking at individual situations and encouraging families to do that. Speaker 2 00:12:28 Yeah, I totally agree. You know, one of the ways I think about it is in almost every case, investing in college, even if you have to borrow, is going to pay off. The one exception to that is if you take out loans and you don't finish college, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that's the thing that I think traps many people. Maybe most of the people who have, you know, issues with debt, you know, might fall into that, into that spot. You know, whether they are, um, underemployed or unemployed and don't have the means to pay off that debt without the degree. So I think that's one of the, and that's also one of the areas that gets misunderstood a bit. I mean, once you start, once you take out that debt, you've got to finish, you've got to obtain the degree, so that you have the means to pay for the debt. Speaker 3 00:13:16 Yes. And a lot of what we do at AU is counsel, students and families about their, um, how much they're going to have to pay Yeah. And how much they would have to take out in student loans. Yeah. And we have a lot of difficult conversations with students and families, particularly students from out of state Yeah. Who will need to live in the residence halls, um, you know, possibly, um, need to take out a lot of loans to be able to, to pay their, their bill again, because of, of being, you know, resident students. Um, and we have really difficult conversations saying, this may not be the best choice for you. Yeah. What is your plan for how you're gonna pay your bill? Because we, to your point, we do not want to have students who come for a year or two years and take on a lot of debt Yeah. Speaker 3 00:14:08 Um, that they, that they can't pay back and then not be able to not be able to finish school. Yeah. So we say to a lot of students, really, there are great community colleges out there. Your best option is to go to community college for two years. We will work with you throughout that whole process to make sure that every class you take will transfer so that you can come in in year three and four and, and graduate on time. And with a lot a a lot less expensive and a lot and a lot less debt. Speaker 2 00:14:38 Yeah. Yeah. Totally agree. I think. Good, good stuff. Good insight. Um, you mentioned your son, and I know you have three kids. Three kids mm-hmm. <affirmative>. I do. Uh, let's talk about, you know, the same question, but from more from the parent standpoint, right. So we can, we can think about it, we can all kind of relate to the context of, you know, the higher ed administrator and we're, we are all trying to do the same things and grow our universities and help them thrive. But now, you know, put yourself in the parent, the, you know, kind of the parent seat. How do you think about this? Do you think about it differently at all from a, from a parent perspective when it's you that's writing the check? Speaker 3 00:15:22 Well, I try not to. Um, and, and in particular, I try not to get caught up in the, the prestigious brand name Yeah. Conversation. Yeah. You know, unfortunately, I think that that a lot, that the college choices that our, that our kids make has gotten sort of wrapped up in as a measure of our competence as parents. Right? So it's a way to measure your success as a parent is what schools your kids get into. Right. Um, you know, when I graduated from high school, nobody congratulated my parents on my getting into junior college. Right. Because I, you know, yeah. They paid the bills, but, you know, I did it. Um, and now it's, it's become this kind of award Yeah. For parenting. Totally. And I get that as a parent. I totally get that. And so I try to keep my administrator hat on when I'm thinking about my own kids, but it is hard to do. It is hard to do. And, and, you know, if you look at it from a, you know, brand image standpoint Yeah. it makes sense that you want your kids to be able to go to school with a great brand name. Right. Um, but you really have to say, okay, let's try to separate the brand name from the actual quality of the, the education and the value of the education. Speaker 2 00:16:57 Yeah. Agree. You know I am also a parent about ready to send my oldest, uh, to college next year. And it really is an interesting perspective, you know, thinking about it from that, you know, that side of things. And, you know, more than more than anything, I want her to choose the school that's the right fit for her. Um, keeping in mind, you know, ROI and, you know, is it going to pay off? Um, and of course all the schools that she's thinking about, you know, certainly will. Um, but there's also that, that parent competitiveness and it, there is mostly among the parents that, that drive some of that. and, you know it is what it is, but it's an interesting thing to think about. Mostly, you know I want her to, to make the right choice for her, and I hope she makes a good career choice. And I'm, you know, you know, trying to help advise her along the way, staying, you know, an appropriate distance. And of course keeping, you know, our ability to pay for it, you know, in mind. But, you know, um, at the end of the day, we know it's a great investment. We know wherever she goes is going to be a good choice for her. Um, but fun to think about it from the parent standpoint. Sometimes Speaker 3 00:18:15 it is very interesting to watch. Yeah. Um, and I'm glad that I, that I do know about that. The, that I do know about the the inside workings of it. Um, you know, as I said before, I'm so glad my son ended up at a place where he loves, he's so happy. and it does happen to also be the least expensive option. Yes. So it, it worked on, it worked on a lot of levels. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:18:49 <laugh>, good parenting, Speaker 3 00:18:50 <laugh>. Oh yeah. Let's chalk it up to Matt <laugh>. Speaker 2 00:18:53 So you mentioned your undergrad at, uh, junior, Speaker 3 00:18:57 Adam Speaker 2 00:18:58 Junior, in Pennsylvania. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, why don't we go backwards a little bit. Tell us about your personal higher ed, uh, experience. What schools did you attend and how did you wind up there? Speaker 3 00:19:10 Yeah, so I grew up in nowhereville Central Pennsylvania. So while my parents had gone to college, I didn't have a lot of exposure to different higher ed institutions. Because I grew up in a pretty depressed area where not, you know, not a lot of people went to college. And so my focus was really on schools that were close to home. Um, and so we just went to a lot of different schools in, in Pennsylvania. And, um, and I had never even heard of Jutta, but we were on a trip to out to Pittsburgh to visit a number of schools. Okay. And, um, I was asleep in the car and I noticed that, like, I woke up because the car stopped and I said, where are we? And my dad said, we're a junior college. Speaker 3 00:20:04 There's the admissions office. They have a scholarship for left-handed students, which I happen to be left-handed. And so go in and talk to them. And I'm like, you know, just woke up. And so, um, so I went in and I, everybody I talked to was just so helpful and nice and the campus was lovely and I felt at home and it just was a great fit from, from the first moment. And then that became the school to which I compared everything else. Yeah. Um, I went to one, um, I will not mention the name, but I went to a, a very highly ranked institution and the admission counselor said, you're going to every moment that you're here as an undergrad, you're going to hate it. And then once you graduate, you're going to realize what a great education you got. And I was as a 17 year old, I was like, yes, sign me up for that. Yeah, Speaker 2 00:21:01 That sounds fun. Speaker 3 00:21:02 <laugh>. Speaker 2 00:21:04 Um, so truly they had a scholarship for left-handed Speaker 3 00:21:08 Students. They did. I didn't get it, but they did have Speaker 2 00:21:11 Scholarship. You were left-handed enough. Speaker 3 00:21:13 I guess that <laugh> Speaker 2 00:21:16 It is funny, you know, as much effort that goes into the college search Right. And making a, a wise decision how oftentimes random it can be mm-hmm. <affirmative> Right. And, and unpredictable it can be. And yet have such a, you know, profound impact on your life mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, in ways that you could never, um, have predicted mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So, so you went to Juta for undergrad mm-hmm. <affirmative> graduate school. Speaker 3 00:21:44 Yeah. I, uh, so I, when I got, when I was at Jutta, I, uh, started out as a chemistry major and changed my major to marketing in my, uh, sophomore year after I just took a random marketing class and fell in love with the concept of marketing. And so I pretty quickly decided that I wanted to be in consumer package goods marketing, wanted to be a brand manager. Um, and so to do that I needed to get an mba. So I worked for a couple years, but with, with the, you know, uh, business school in mind. So because I wanted to do marketing, I, I said, I'm gonna try to get into the best, best business school for marketing. And at the time, that was Kellogg and at Northwestern and I applied in, I got in, so I, I went to the full-time program at, and that was the, that was the best two years of my life because I had worked for two years. And so I knew what the working world was actually like. And then going back to school full-time was, it was incredible. Speaker 2 00:22:43 Yeah. Yeah. So thinking about your, uh, college, uh, admissions experience, enrollment experience, um, Speaker 3 00:22:53 We're going back away, so I don't know how good my memory is, but, Speaker 2 00:22:57 But what are some things that have changed since then from your perspective? Speaker 3 00:23:05 Wow. Like everything. Um, so, well first of all, I guess first of all, students are looking at a lot more schools they're applying to. They're looking at more schools. They're applying to more schools. Yeah. And, and there are, you know, great things that have happened, like the introduction of the common app that make it really easy for students to apply to multiple schools. Yeah. Um, so, so students are applying to more schools, which just, you know, simple math means that if you're not expanding the number of seats at any one institution, it's gonna make it more difficult to get in. Sure. So there's this, I think, perception that it's hard to get in anywhere when the reality is it may be harder to get into one institution, but overall your cha, if you have the same academic, you know, performance, you're gonna, your chances are are great that you're gonna get into at least one. Speaker 3 00:24:00 Sure. Um, so that's, that's one thing I, that's certainly the cost, um, ha has gone up. I mean, we, we could talk for hours about the why's of why, why tuition has, has gone up by so much, but when I was, when I went to college, it was possible to take out modest loans, have a job, and put yourself through school Yeah. Without any help from your parents. Now I was fortunate I did have some help from my parents, but, but I had a lot of friends who put themselves through school and that was doable. And that is very, very difficult now, it's not impossible, but it's very d it's, it's much more difficult to do. Um, so I, I think the, the, there is just a lot more conversation about student loan debt now. Yeah. Cause while a lot of people took out loans when I went to college, they, they weren't, it wasn't that much. And it was, you know, very doable to payback. So, um, so I think that is, I, I I think that's, I think that's the other thing. Yeah. Um, that's really changed. Speaker 2 00:25:11 Yeah. Interesting. All right. Taking, Speaker 3 00:25:15 I mean, am I missing any, what, what would you, how would you answer that question? Speaker 2 00:25:18 Well, yeah, like, like you, I, um, I went to college a long time ago. Um, and a lot has changed. I, you know, was the first, first student or first person in my extended family to, to go to college. So I really went in totally oblivious, had no concept of cost, uh, loan, you know, put the paper in front of me. I signed it. I just went, went to college. Cuz that's what my friends were doing. Um, and so I think it's become, you know, to contrast from that, I think it's become so much more heightened. Right. There's, the expectations are higher, uh, both on the, the, the student and the family and the expectations of the colleges are much, you know, are much higher now mm-hmm. <affirmative> from my perspective. Right. It's, you know, this is not a decision to be taken lightly. Um, it's, you know, even with my own daughter, as we're starting to plan ahead for next year, I mean, it's the first thing that anybody asks her and she's already, you know, sick of talking about it to some degree. Speaker 2 00:26:25 Um, you know, it's such a focus. It's, there's so much emphasis on it and, you know, so much scrutiny. It's such a, you know, such a big purchase that it, you know, gets all the scrutiny that comes along with that. Um, and, you know, they're more marketing, more advertising, more money, uh, spent on recruiting students. So it, it just feels like a different, um, almost a totally different animal, um, now than it, than it was back then, which was a little more passive, at least in my recollection. There are some colleges pick a couple that you wanna apply to and go Yeah. And maybe they'll, maybe they'll call you on the phone and, and, and try to talk you into it. Maybe they'll send you a postcard. But I don't recall getting the bags and bags of direct mail. Um, which by the way, my daughter completely disregards all of them dismissed. Oh yeah. All of them. And says they already emailed me. Um, you know, so that's totally, oh, Speaker 3 00:27:22 She ignored that. Those too, right. <laugh>. Speaker 2 00:27:25 Right. But the, you know, the emphasis on the marketing and the brand building, um, and the advertising seems, you know, 10 x what it was back then. Speaker 3 00:27:34 Yeah. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:27:35 I agree. All of that, all of that leads to I think, a little more stress on the students and the parents. Um, you know, and making that decision. Speaker 3 00:27:43 Yeah. I think that's a really good point. The stakes seem so much higher now. They do that it puts so much pressure on, on these kids. I, I mean, I didn't feel that anywhere near that kind of pressure, um, about choosing a college. And, and I, I just see it now with, I've seen it with all my kids and their friends. They're just so much, so much pressure around Speaker 2 00:28:04 It. So taking the, taking the question in the other direction, you know, from your seat in enrollment management, um, you know, thinking, uh, thinking about the future, what are some things that, you know, you see on the horizon? Maybe changes coming to how, you know, colleges present themselves to students, how they recruit students, how they market, um, you know, to just the, um, to the enrollment management function and discipline in general. Any thoughts about the future? Speaker 3 00:28:37 Um, well, I hope we're getting s we're all getting smarter about how to target the right students. I think there, there was a period of time when, uh, at this, my, my oldest daughter went to college, um, 11 years ago. And so, um, when she was getting information from colleges, she was just getting so much information from these random colleges around the US and I would think, why are you spending your money? Yeah. Um, on sending things to someone in, in Illinois. It just doesn't make any sense. So I think that we have now, we have a lot of tools that allow us to, to better target prospective students based on historical modeling of the students who have come to our institutions. And so it allows us to, to really better focus on the students who are likely to be a good fit and likely to be interested and likely to have the academic qualifications. Speaker 3 00:29:33 Um, certainly digital marketing allows us to, to target them, um, very much more narrowly as well. Um, so I think that's something that will, will continue is is institutions just getting much more focused on, on trying to target the, the right students. Yeah. Um, I think there's just more and more pressure on institutions to, around affordability. Yeah. And, and so I, I think that there will just be continued focus to try to meet, um, meet finance, more financial need, um, of students for institutions that have the means to do that. Yeah. Um, and then I think just a focus on not only a focus on, on value of the in individual institution, but I think we all need to step up our game in terms of talking about just the value of the higher, of higher education in, in general. Yeah. And particularly now with, with, um, companies offering certificates. Speaker 3 00:30:35 Um, so that a and presenting those as, as an alternative to college, I think we have to do a better job of talking about why a college degree matters. And what we say at AU is that, um, with a, with an au degree, you'll not only get your first job, but you'll get your first promotion. And, and, and that's the difference because, because beyond what you just, what you learn in the classes that you go to, what a college degree does is help you with all those other skills. It helps you with critical thinking, with problem solving, working with other people to, to problem solve. And those are the things that you need in your second, in your second job. Those are the things that you need as you move up the lab or that you may not need if you're, if you just wanna do a computer. Speaker 3 00:31:24 And I don't mean just do computer programming cuz I don't know how to do it so <laugh>. Like, I don't mean to minimize it, but, um, but so I think that's, that's where we need to have the conversations around, you know, what, what are the skills that you learn in, in college and by getting a college degree and it, you don't have to, you don't have to live on campus. You don't have to live in a dorm to get those things. It's being around the other students in the classroom. It's, it's navigating college. It's, it's working with the career center to build your skills to so that you're, you, you, um, are better. You know, you have a better sense of the jobs that are out there and, and are that are able to, uh, interview for them. So I, I hope that that's where more of the conversation I is going to gonna focus is why should you go to college? Speaker 2 00:32:16 Yeah. Yeah. Those are some great points. Um, you know, interesting to think about, you know, college versus, you know, a certificate program or a kind of, uh, on-the-job skill. Also, you know, a great commercial for the liberal arts, right? I'm a big fan of a liberal arts education for many of the reasons that you, you outlined, right? It's not always in the, um, you know, completely practical hands-on job skill, right? It's about how you communicate and how you write and how you, uh, read and understand things. And I think all of those are, uh, great points. Um, underscoring the value of college education and in particular at liberal arts college education. Speaker 3 00:32:59 And those are the things that, the skills that employers are telling us that they need in employees and that, that they're not, you know, they're not necessarily seeing in, in all of the, the college graduates that they're hiring. So that, so that's a real focus at AU is how do we, not only how do we, how do we help people understand the value of those things, but also how did, just, how do we do a better job of, of educating students in those, um, you know, what we used to call soft skills, I guess they still are soft skills. <laugh>. Speaker 2 00:33:32 Uh, thank you. Interesting. Um, earlier in the conversation you mentioned Aurora is an hsi Hispanic serving institution. What does that mean? What does it mean to be a, a Hispanic serving institution? Speaker 3 00:33:44 Um, it means that a, a large percentage, and I don't remember the cutoff, but, but a, a large percentage of our student population is, um, is Hispanic. It's a federal government designation. Okay. Um, and, and so, um, as I said, because of the area that we serve, um, we draw a, a Hispanic, uh, heavily Hispanic population. Speaker 2 00:34:07 Okay. Good. Thank you. Um, last question, and you sort of already, uh, spoke to this, but in your opinion as a parent, as a higher ed administrator, is college still worth it? Speaker 3 00:34:22 Absolutely. College is still worth it. Um, it, it, um, it's not worth, you know, taking a hundred thousand dollars worth of student loan debt worth it for undergrad. If you're gonna be a doctor that's still worth it, absolutely lawyer. Yep. Do it. Um, but, but, but college is still worth it. There are, um, there are ways to get through college, be successful, get a good job, get a great degree, uh, great education, um, without taking on a tremendous, you know, tremendous amount of debt that you can't repay. Um, and, and a college education will not only get you your first job, it will get you longer term career success in terms of, of moving up in a way that, um, that, you know, most people won't be able to do without a college education. Speaker 2 00:35:17 Couldn't agree more. Uh, well, thank you Deb. This has been a great conversation. I appreciate you, uh, joining me today. Um, so thank you. Speaker 3 00:35:26 Thank you. It's, I really enjoyed it. Speaker 2 00:35:28 All right. Take care. Speaker 1 00:35:32 This podcast is brought to you by Ardeo Education Solutions. Ardeo Education Solutions provides loan repayment assistance programs known as LRAPs to increase access and enrollment at higher ed institutions. Ardeo's LRAPs help graduates with modest incomes repay their federal student, Parent Plus and private alternative loans. The powerful promise they provide gives students the confidence they need to enroll. To learn more about Ardeo, visit us on the web @ardeo.org.

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