Seattle University Case Study

Individualized Financial Aid Strategy

Seattle University Case Study

The Challenge.

Seattle University was looking to bring stability to fluctuating enrollment outcomes and create a plan for sustainable enrollment growth. With student retention as a key area of focus, the University needed a partner that could help them understand what factors were proven to contribute to student success. Developing an optimized financial aid strategy not just for the challenges of recruiting students in the first year but for recruiting best-fit students in the face of competitive and demographic challenges was absolutely critical.

Seattle University Case Study

The Strategy.

Carnegie’s Financial Aid Optimization team provided Seattle U with a multilayered, research-driven approach to meeting this set of multifaceted goals. Through a series of predictive models built at the individual student level, the University was able to build a strong understanding of the significant drivers of application, yield, and retention behavior and use the results of these models to adjust recruitment strategies for the upcoming fall class.

Optimizing Seattle U’s financial aid strategies ensured the institution’s strategic priorities were front and center when it came to distributing a fixed financial aid budget. With the whole higher education industry observing the effects of a global pandemic on student retention—and with a looming “demographic cliff” ever present in strategic recruitment conversations—the University turned to its partnership with the Financial Aid Optimization team for more insight.

The team conducted a primary research study on student retention and satisfaction to uncover the deeper reasoning behind student attrition from the perspective of students past and presently enrolled. In addition, we simultaneously built a robust and adaptive five-year enrollment planning model in order to give a long-term view of the opportunities for recruitment and inherent challenges within Seattle U’s primary and secondary recruiting markets.

Individualized Aid Modeling
Student Success Modeling
Inquiry-to-Applicant Modeling
Custom Dashboard
Custom Student Survey
5-Year Enrollment Planning Model
Seattle University Case Study

The Results.

Seattle U has exceeded its first-year enrollment target for the second consecutive year, representing a 12% growth over the partnership period. The Financial Aid Optimization team’s multi-year enrollment model and predictive analytics tools now guide decision-making when it comes to search purchases, recruiting travel, and financial aid allocation. Seattle U has allocated resources effectively to ensure student satisfaction and retention are the primary pillars of their efforts by adding a minimum need award, responding directly to concerns expressed by students through our research.


Newly enrolled first-year students for two consecutive years


Growth in student population over the partnership period


Yield rate for 2022 year-to-date

"It is evident the recent growth in our FTIC enrollment is due in part to the Financial Aid Optimization team at Carnegie. They helped us set and ultimately exceed enrollment targets two years running. Through their research and modeling, we were able to hone our search, recruitment and financial aid planning and develop an initial 5-year enrollment model to anticipate challenges and identify opportunities we may not have otherwise considered." Melore Nielsen
Vice Provost for Enrollment Management
Seattle University

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