COVID-19 closes campuses, but rich colleges do more

SocratesPost is always on the frontlines scouring the news for relevant updates in the college admissions landscape. We look for anything that can help shape our understanding of the latest trends in admissions and help our readers see the direction in which we’re moving.

Questions we explored this week:

  • The hidden, arguably unnecessary fee in your tuition that costs up to $3k per year...what is it?
  • Unstoppable: Another top college considering dropping test score requirements. Which one?
  • Many colleges have closed due to COVID-19, but the rich universities are doing something more. What is it?

March 8, 2020 — Athletic fees

80% of Division I public universities charge students to fund school athletic programs, even if the student is not an athlete. This fee, often undisclosed and hidden from the paying student, does not go toward gym memberships but toward attracting applications and donations. Virginia Military Institute charges each student $3,340 during the 2017-18 school year, the highest amount among the schools investigated. The lowest fee was $14 at Univ. of Kentucky.

What does this mean? College tuition bills are confusing and may include a variety of hidden costs. College applicants and admitted students need to dissect what they’re actually paying for — and whether they want to spend their money on that. Graduates could spend their 20s repaying loans taken out to essentially fund their university athletic program.

Picked for you:  Ivy League and legacies

Read more here.

March 11, 2020 — University of Oregon

UO’s task force recommends that SAT and ACT scores be removed from admissions requirements for those applying this August 2020. The board will make a final decision in April. The task force cited inequities between wealthy and poor students and the inability to predict college success using test scores. The recommendation, however, made exceptions for recruited athletes, homeschooled high schoolers, and students graduating from grade-free or unaccredited high schools.

What does this mean? Schools that require tests are starting to look bad, especially when research has shown SAT and ACT scores reflect family wealth rather than ability or potential. More students will ask for college lists focused on test-optional schools but also realize they’ll have to work on beefing up other aspects of their profile.

Picked for you:  Growing Tuition-Free and Test-Optional Trends in Colleges

Read more here.

March 12, 2020 — Giving refunds

As many U.S. universities have closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, some rich institutions including Harvard, Princeton, and MIT are planning refunding students who’ve been evicted from campus housing. Only question: how much should be refunded? They’re still working it out. Less-funded public universities who’ve also closed due to the coronavirus don’t have this flexibility and will likely need to layoff staff if they choose to refund students.

What does this mean? This highlights another benefit to attending a well-funded university.

Read more here.

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