A Great Tool for Prospective Students – A Tuition Calculator

Timeline: 2-week design/ 3-month testing • Materials: Pen, Paper, and Adobe Xd UX Techniques: Analytics, Competitive/Comparative Analysis, Sketching, Prototyping, Mockups, Optimizely for Variant Testing


Three Questions a Prospective Students Asks a When Going Back to School:Three Questions a Prospective Students Asks a When Going Back to School:

  1. Do you have my program?
  2. How much does it cost?
  3. Where is the program held?

In this project we are focusing on the second question, but see my other projects for ‘Do You Have My Program?’ and ‘Where is the Program Held?’ So how much does it cost to go back to school? The answer varies because of the complexity of tuition. Most of our demographic includes adult learners, and are returning to school after taking a break. The cause is usually a big life event: career change, marriage, kids, etc. So many of them will have transferable credits from another school.


The Problem

On the old page, finding any information on tuition was a struggle. While the university was operating from the thought process, “How can you put a price tag on your future?”, the lack of information wasn’t serving prospective students.

Example of the old Program Page without any information on Tuition

We used analytics to see that ‘Tuition’ was a term frequently searched for on the site. Users wanted this information, but they were not able to find it easily, so they ended up searching for it. And once you did find it, it was still pretty confusing with a several tables and graphs that users had to decipher in order to try and figure out how much it was really  going to cost.

The Solution

In the new design of the program page, we put tuition right in the users face. One key UI pattern utilized here was tabs to help shorten the page. Other goals were to provide more space for long content and improve the design on mobile devices. Now there was a whole tab dedicated to tuition. On the tab itself, the key feature would be the tuition calculator. With some fairly simple math, users could now figure out what the cost of going back to school would cost them.

The math equation to figure out the cost of tuition for prospective students

Old vs new user flow for tuition


The belief was that if prospective students were given shorter, more digestible content with better tools, like the tuition calculator, it would generate more leads and thus they would be more likely to enroll in the university resulting in higher revenue.

Mockup of how the calculator would function in a mobile device.

Mockup of how the calculator would function in a mobile device.


The top 5 programs at NU had the following increases after 85 days:

  • MBA Program Page: 52% improvement over original
  • BS Computer Science Program Page: 5% improvement over original
  • BBA Program Page: 97% improvement over original
  • RN to BSN Program Page: 47% improvement over original
  • BS Nursing Program Page: 32% improvement over original

Overall improvement to program pages vs the control/original

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