College In The News

Colleges Falsify Admissions Data For Higher Rankings

Source: NBCNews.com. "Caught Cheating: Colleges Falsify Admissions Data For Higher Rankings"

Nearly all colleges fail to have admissions data, number of applicants and their GPA, SAT scores, class rank, audited for accuracy. Many even admit they send false information to US Dept. of Education, U.S. News... The reasons appear obvious. Colleges are annually raising their costs more than twice that of inflation and they need to recover their marketing costs for locating a great freshman class each year.

How to avoid becoming a victim of inaccurate college information:

Parents and students should avoid blindly believing college ratings. Also parents and students should carefully select colleges based on how they treat their students and their families. Look for a college experience, a match. Rating college selection with the "snob approach" is not a strategy it is an attitude. For screening colleges I suggest:

•  Calling a selected college initially with a college script described in The College Money Manual.
•  Following the "College Visitation Guide" which is free on this website
•  Constructing a matrix of items to be rated on a 1-10 after a visit. Include staff approachability, actions of other students, campus cleanliness, attending a class in your preferred major, asking questions of students and professors, looking at the weekly menu, and giving a grade based on the student's gut check immediately at the completion of the visit.

Remember, parents, your student is attending college because he/she has been nurtured along with being challenged. I recall a student coming to me after visiting with a football coach. He noticed the coach did not talk much about the team but about the family of Pacific Lutheran University.

How To Capitalize On Free College Applications

Private colleges are successfully marketing themselves by offering free applications, essay-free applications, and making students feel like they were specially selected for a variety of reasons for these free and easy applications. J. Steinberg's article in the NY Times points at a new college marketing strategy. Colleges Market Easy, No-Fee Sell to Applicants. (Source: NY Times)

In his article J Steinberg noted that, "More than 100 other colleges and universities paid the same marketing company to send out variations of these fast-track applications last fall, more than a five-fold jump since 2006. Some have spent upward of $1 million on their application campaigns, and many have seen their applicant pools double or even triple in the last two years."

There are a few items to note before thinking that saving a $50 to $75 application fee will necessarily defray the cost of college. When colleges are rated in terms of excellence an important item that adds to their excellence score is how many students they turn down compared to the amount accepted. And they all want a large applicant pool so they can cherry pick the most desired students. The higher the rating the more desirable a college becomes. Now they can raise their cost.

Colleges own marketing strategies give this away. Nationally an average of around $2,300 is spent on each applicant who enrolls at private colleges. They can either cut that cost while maintaining a high number of applications by offering free applications that are easier to fill out or continue to send out tons of colored glossies to students taking the SAT's.

Before jumping at these attractive offers it is important to know:
•  Does this college also have merit/scholarship money to share for student with your student's profile?
•  Does this college have a high percentage of money to share with families with your financial profile such as grants or scholarships?
•  Will your student be happy and nurtured at this college?
•  Is this college respected in the areas of study of your student's interest? When you can say yes to the four questions above, it's a good idea to take advantage of the free applications.

Recession: Effects on College

A nationwide survey on how recession affects college prompted the New York Times to highlight items such as student concern about college affordability, a higher rate of students opting for loans, more unemployed parents and fewer students able to work. "About two-thirds of incoming students said they had "some" or "major" concern about their ability to pay for their education." (Source: NY Times)

In this article Kate Zernike continues to quote statistics. "Students reported fewer resources to draw on. The number whose fathers were unemployed--4.5 percent--was the highest in the history of the survey. The number of students whose mothers were unemployed was higher--7.9 percent--and at its highest since 1979." However, we all know we are in a horrible economy and many citizens are in financial trouble.

What families really want to know is how to "recession proof" the cost of college. Over the last 17 years we have negotiated for millions of dollars in increased college award money. Here's how...

Following the pathways of applying to the right colleges while packaging and marketing the student, makes individual students more highly desired by colleges. At the same time personal relationships are built with key college staff. Follow the College Bound Planner communications. Click here to receive them for free. Use proven strategies to make your student unforgettable at selected colleges. When these college people are approached with your real financial problems known as special circumstances, they are more likely to respond to people they already know and like.

Special circumstances can be loss of income, extra medical expenses, another parent in college, huge losses, loans, or care for special needs siblings, and other financial challenges. These must be real, documented, and presented in a fashion that helps the college special circumstance committee happy to help. It usually works better at private colleges. To learn more, consider purchasing our Special Circumstances Product.

UC San Diego Makes Huge Admissions Error

Writing about a huge computerized mistake Gale Holland in the LA Times quoted UC San Diego Admissions Director Mae Brown. "The applicants had been denied admission by the university earlier in the month. Someone accidentally sent the e-mail to the entire applicant pool of 47,000 although it was intended for only the 18,000 students who got in"

The media and other college experts played this unfortunate gaff over and over on television, in newspapers, radio and even on the web mostly focusing on UCSD's communications mistake. Barmak Nassirian, associate executive director of the American Assn. of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, when he heard about the failure. "I feel terrible for the applicants. This is a source of constant worry at colleges," he said. "They use extremely sophisticated systems of communication from the front end of applications all the way to alumni relations for all kinds of high-stake business, and bad things can happen all the way."

The real story is that is that only 38% of applicants were accepted into a state school. The California system has been recognized as the best and largest college system on the planet. Today, like most other states, they are cutting faculty and up to 10% of the classes offered. The struggle to be accepted into college has intensified not only in the private colleges but also in public colleges.

Rather than letting the media increase your fears, it will benefit families and students to learn how to raise their student's chances of admittance to their chosen colleges along with accessing valuable college award money to help defray college skyrocketing costs. Starting in grade 11 families will benefit by focusing on some of the college planning fundamentals.

•  Understanding how the college game is played. Learn the rules of the college game.
•  Knowing which students colleges are recruiting and demonstrating how your student is that person by using effective marketing techniques.
•  Insuring the college selections are based in reality. It takes more than a 4.0 to get into many colleges.
•  Planning college with full financial information.
•  Staying on schedule.

External Sources:
LA Times
NBC San Diego

College Affordability Articles Are Ubiquitous

College affordability articles are ubiquitous during these hard financial forms. Anthony Carnevale points at the skyrocketing cost of college by mentioning, "This recession already promises dramatic cuts in state subsides for public colleges and will result in widely condemned tuition increases." (Source: Inside Higher Ed) After discussing a wide range of problems he concludes, "If we don't watch out, we will end up with high priced first-rate private colleges for the affluent and "affordable," but second-rate public colleges for everybody else."

Andy Kroll continues on this educational division theme when he points out, "Simply to ensure that a child attends a four-year public university, a family in the country's lowest-income bracket now has to pay, on average, 55% of total income (up from 39% in 2000); for a middle-income family, the average is 25% (up from 18% in 2000); and for an upper-income family, 9% (up from 7%), according to "Measuring Up 2008." (Source: Mother Jones.com) Mr. Kroll is effective in showing that college prices are not honoring the educational goals that made our country great. Solving these problems are lofty goals.

Individual families with academically blessed children, however, cannot wait for society or the government to solve these problems. Their children need to attend college now or in a couple years. These families are not benefitting from the fear and scare tactics that sell newsprint or keep them glued with elevated anxiety to the television.

Let's look at what families can do for themselves despite the siege and starvation of higher education. If you are middle to low-income the only way to afford college is with full knowledge of how the system works, knowing where you fit financially in that system, positioning yourself for maximum college assistance, making sure you are first in line for the money and readying yourself for the sacrifice needed to send your child to college.

The College Bound Planner offers free readings to help you access your fair share of college money. Sign up for free newsletters with the realization that affording college is business and requires staying on schedule with accurate information. If there are services you need to purchase, weigh the cost of critical services against the exploding costs of college. Ranting against the inequities of the system will not attract needed college funding nearly as well as understanding the system and playing the game effectively.

University of California Colleges Increase Tuition By 32%

Californian students were shocked when the cost of the University of California colleges increased their tuition by 32% raising the total cost of attendance (room, and board, tuition, fees, books and personal expenses) to $26,700 per year. (Source: NY Times) States nationwide are strapped for cash and subsidizing their colleges less and less causing prices to skyrocket. Mark Yudof, the university president, said the state budget cuts had left the university no choice but to raise fees, and noted that the system received only half as much, per student, from the state as it did in 1990." Research and analysis by Mary Specht and Anthony DeBarros for USA Today show state colleges raising tuition and fees since 2002-3 from Michigan by 41% to California by 58%. (Source: USA Today) This is compounded by state colleges showing an average of a five year attendance to graduate. This trend is around 5½ to 6 years for today's students.

To make matters worse fewer students are leaving college in search of a job and more students are applying for college because jobs are not available. In 2008 and 2009 state colleges increased student attendance by 7 to 15 percent making graduation in five years more difficult. UCLA has eliminated 165 courses, a full ten percent reduction. This trend should continue nationwide into 2010.

In California, five years of college without including inflation is in excess of a $133,000 investment; five year costs in other states can go as low as $110,000.

Planning families with financial need are finding that private colleges are more affordable because these colleges have money to share with the right students. Even families without a penny of financial need are discovering how they can send their bright students to private schools where they graduate in 4 years with a $120,000 investment.

The factors to consider when investigating the private college option are:
•  Do we have financial need? How much do we have? Can this be increased by following proven strategies?
•  How desirable is my student at private colleges? Can this desirability be increased? How?
•  Which private colleges are a match for my student and also have money to share for a student like mine?