50+ Colleges Using Incentives to Boost Enrollment & Drive Visits
It all started in September 2019 when the National Association for College Admission Counseling, NACAC, changed its Code of Ethics and Professional Practices, allowing colleges and universities all around the country to dangle incentives in front of students to help grow enrollment.
At first, it seemed like colleges were hesitant to offer benefits in order to fill seats. But, incentives work for other industries. Why not higher ed? And so eventually, the incentives rolled out.
And continue to roll out…
If you’re currently trying to incentivize students for your own institution—whether it’s to drum up visits, encourage early apps, submit deposits, or some other CTA—here’s some inspiration.
We scoured the web for college incentives ranging from simple to unexpected. From packages to pledges, some colleges are really going for it to pull in the prospects.
Incentives for Early Decision
Early Decision at Boston University
Guarantees that admitted applicants who apply for financial aid will have 100% of their demonstrated need met.
Champlain College’s Early Decision Plan
Receive your financial aid letter and acceptance letter at the same time.
Spot security for high-demand majors.
Housing and roommate selection priority.
Clarkson University’s Early Decision Incentive Scholarship
Additional $8,000 scholarship split evenly over four years.
Colorado Christian University
Additional $1,000 scholarship per year for out-of-state students and $2,000 per year for in-state students.
One travel voucher for student to visit campus.
Early housing and class registration.
Invitation to the President’s Christmas Brunch.
High Point University Early Decision
Guaranteed freshman year parking spot.
First priority for housing and fall class scheduling.
Move in a day earlier than other students.
3 hours of consultation from Learning Excellence Education.
Freshman Services Coach access starting December.
Free autographed book by top faculty.
Life Skills Leadership Lunch.
Once admitted, earn credits through the NU Accelerate Scholarship.
Priority consideration for both academic and admission scholarships.
Early class registration.
Early financial aid awards.
Guaranteed one of your top three choices for your First-Year Seminar course.
Incentives for Early Registration & Enrollment
Students who register by key registration dates will be entered to win a $500 tuition scholarship.
Central State University
Incoming freshmen or transfer students who commit by May 1 receive a $500 or $1,000 scholarship, depending on GPA.
Full-time students who enroll for classes by June 15 will be entered in a drawing for the chance to win a VIP parking spot, lunch with the University president, Kean swag, and Barnes & Noble gift cards—triple your chances of winning if you enroll by May 15!
Northern Kentucky University’s EDGE Program
Out-of-state freshman and international students can pay the Kentucky in-state tuition if they enroll as a new first-time, full-time freshman student and have a minimum 2.5 unweighted high school GPA.
Additional Scholarship Packages, Benefits, & More
Albion College Promise
Students from Michigan families with incomes under $65,000 will receive 100% free tuition and waived fees.
Daytona State University Residency Waivers
Some out-of-state residents may qualify to pay in-state tuition.
Framingham University – State University Internship Incentive Program (SUII)
Up to $5,000 grant for students enrolled in a participating unpaid internship.
No expected costs for students whose family’s annual income is $75,000 or less.
New domestic, first-semester students beginning a full-time program in fall 2022 will be entered in a drawing to win a $5,000 credit towards their tuition.
Massachusetts Independent College Transfer Guarantee
An agreement between participating state universities and community colleges that all credit earned for an associate degree will transfer and be applied toward a bachelor’s degree. Massachusetts residents only.
Milwaukee Area Technical College’s MATC Promise
Will pay tuition for up to 75 credits after grants and scholarships are applied for qualified students from the high school class of 2022.
Will pay tuition up to 75 credits after grants and scholarships are applied for adults who are at least 24 years old and have been out of college for at least one year.
Ohio University’s Admission Promise
Guaranteed admissions for students with a 3.0 cumulative grade point average.
Renewable $2,000 OHIO Admission Promise Award.
Saint Michael’s Home State Promise
$25,000–$35,000 in scholarships and grants guaranteed to all new incoming students.
Santiago Canyon College’s Promise Scholarship
Free tuition for 2022 high school graduates, regardless of family income.
Siena College Guarantee
Promises students at least $57,000 in scholarships over four years, plus a custom career experience.
Southwestern College Promise
Up to two years of waived enrollment fees for eligible first-time students.
Eligible first-time students may also qualify for free tuition for the first two years.
University of Akron’s Zips Affordability Scholarship
Free tuition for all four years for Pell-eligible students who live in the University’s primary service area.
University of Colorado’s College Opportunity Fund
Stipend that pays a portion of total in-state tuition for eligible undergraduate students who attend a Colorado public institution or a participating private institution.
University of Houston’s Cougar Promise
Tuition fees will be covered for eligible students who have family incomes at or below $65,000.
Tuition support for those students with family incomes that fall between $65,001 and $125,000.
University of Michigan’s Go Blue Guarantee
Free tuition for up to four years for high-achieving, in-state, full-time undergraduate students with family incomes of $65,000 or under and assets below $50,000.
University of Nebraska Omaha’s Nebraska Promise
Free tuition to full-time students living in Nebraska who have a family income of $65,000 or less.
Wabash College’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP)
Assistance repaying student loans for Early Decision graduates with incomes of less than $55,000.
Walsh University First-Generation Tuition Discount
All first-gen students who meet admissions criteria will receive a 50% tuition discount.
Wiley University’s 1873 Campaign
Providing 1,873 scholarships to new incoming students who enroll at Wiley during fall 2022, spring 2022, or fall 2023 semesters in anticipation of Wiley’s upcoming 150th anniversary in 2023.
Non-traditional Students & Professional Workers
Oakton Community College Work Equity Initiative (WEI)
Free, short-term certifications for qualifying adults in five post-secondary programs.
Penn State Adult Learner Scholarship
Open to adults who are at least 24 years old, are active military or veterans, or who have a spouse or dependents.
University of Maryland Global Campus
Federal employees and their families can save 25% on out-of-state tuition.
All military members and their families are eligible for the discounted military tuition rate.
Missouri State Return to Finish Scholarship
For eligible students who have earned 90+ hours of undergraduate credit, owe less than $2,000 to the university, and have been out of school at least one year.
University of Utah Single-Parent Scholarships
The Heidi and Greg Miller Single-Parent Cohort Scholarship supports undergraduate, single-parent students and can be used for tuition, fees, childcare, and more.
The Beatrice F. Kroesche Memorial Scholarship for undergraduate students was set up to support single parents, and additional consideration is given to students with physical limitations.
Weber State University Outreach Committee Opportunity Tuition Waiver
Partial tuition waiver for nontraditional students (over 25, spouse or committed partner, widowed, divorced, or have dependent).
University of North Georgia Green to Gold Scholarship
For regular Army enlisted soldiers seeking to become officers while earning their degree
Purdue University Span Plan
Offering scholarships specifically for degree-seeking nontraditional undergraduate students, as well as childcare assistance scholarships
Funding for College Visits
Students who make an official visit to campus by February 1st before their anticipated entry term may be eligible to receive a $1,000 campus visit grant applied towards their tuition for each year they are enrolled at Alfred University.
Amherst College Access to Amherst (A2A)
Covers 100% of round-trip transportation costs (airline, bus, or train) and campus lodging
Bowdoin College Explore Bowdoin
Logistics and costs covered for low-income and/or first-generation-to-college students
High school seniors and prospective transfer students can be reimbursed for half the cost of a plane, train, or bus ticket to campus (up to $250). Enroll as a full-time student and receive the remainder of the travel fare (up to a total of $500).
Bucknell University Journey to Bucknell
Introduces high-achieving, traditionally underrepresented high school seniors to Bucknell free of charge.
Colorado Christian University
Students who fully complete their online application and are admitted by the Preferred Admission deadline can receive one $300 travel voucher to visit CCU.
Concordia University Irvine
One-time reimbursement of up to $500 for flight to visit us on campus (must be enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student through the first two weeks of the semester to be eligible).
Harvey Mudd College Future Achievers in Science and Technology (FAST)
Free for students from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM – women, underrepresented minorities, students from low income or rural backgrounds, students with disabilities, and students who are first-generation to college.
Haverford College Have-a-Look
A fly-in program available for students from backgrounds historically underrepresented in higher education, including students who identify as BIPOC, first generation to college, and/or low-income.
Saint Michael’s College
Students who make an official visit to Saint Michael’s College between April 1 of their sophomore year and May 1 of their senior year are awarded a $1,500 Campus Visit Grant, applied toward full-time tuition, when they enroll.
Up to $250 reimbursement for airfare, train, or bus tickets or taxi/shuttle services for first-time visitors who attend a hosted campus visit.
University of Charleston
Prospective students traveling 200+ miles via train, plane, or bus to attend an open house or scholarship competition event may be eligible for far reimbursement up to $500.