Friday, November 19, 2010

College Admissions SCAM

Eric Hoover has a great piece on the the College Admissions scam in the Chronicle of Higher Education.  Application Inflation has taken over and schools are more concerned with how many students they reject so that they can show that they are exclusive. 

Applications have now become big business and in a time of huge budget cuts due to the economy, it is not going away.  Let's do the math at $50 an application.:
  • Stanford:  32,022 applications = $1.6 million
  • Tulane:  44,000 applications = $2,2 million
  • UCLA:  57,670 applications = $2.9 million
And the biggest winner of all!!!  The College Board selling 80 million names to 1,200 colleges at 32 cents a name for a total revenue of $25.6 million! Wow.

So 1,200 universities - even if they each just have an average of 7,500 applicants is about $450 million in revenue plus the $25.6 million that College Board makes = $475 million dollar business. 

Wow - I thought we were worried about for-profits making too much money off of the American dream of a college education.  These are some pretty big numbers.

How to fix it - make it more challenging to apply to over 10 schools.
  1. Get rid of the common application - it is too easy to click a button and apply to more schools
  2. Eliminate selectivity as a measure of pride - focus more on graduation rates, completion rates etc
  3. Bring back the interview - if you haven't been to school, do you really want to go there?
  4. Increase the application fee - simple economics here