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The Challenge

In the run-up to the last general election, the future of tuition fees was in the balance.

Labour had pledged to reduce fees, while the Conservatives wouldn’t rule out a rise. With the polls neck-and-neck, and the memory still fresh of the Lib Dems’ fee promises being horse-traded away after the last election, all bets were off.

One plate glass university wanted some certainty: how would prospective students react if it changed its fees after the election?

he research side

The Solution

The key lay in understanding how students weigh up all the considerations that go into choosing a university and a course.

We took a sample of sixth-form students from its 150,000-strong OpinionPanel Community, and constructed a choice-based conjoint study. This technique is designed to analyse how people balance different factors when making decisions.

The survey gathered reactions to various combinations of course offers and fee levels by asking respondents to make trade-offs between different packages. From these results, we built a simulator which allowed the client to vary hypothetical course offers and fee levels, and to judge how appealing different packages would be to different groups.

The Outcome

Our simulation of student choices gave the university’s senior leaders the evidence they needed to plan their pricing and recruitment strategies in an uncertain environment.

They were able to see how choices would play out and, crucially, what the financial implications would be.

So even before election day came around, they were prepared for whatever the future might hold.

What next?

From getting Millennials more active to predicting the future of tuition fees, explore our case studies and see how we helped the UK's biggest brands win over today's youth.

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