Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Colleges want to extract the maximum money

I listed to this public radio broadcast from 2 years ago:
Most private schools give out aid packages based on merit, often trying to compete for students from wealthy families who could already afford to send them to college. But the president of Kenyon College in Ohio is calling for a nationwide return to a system of need-based aid.

Guest: S. Georgia Nugent, President of Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.
She wanted all the colleges to more consistently charge higher tuition, and cut back on financial aid. She complained:
Here is one example, Student A. Our need analysis showed that this family could afford probably $44,000 toward their college tuition. Yet other schools offered the student $20,000, $30,000, and $40,000 in aid. [at 3:00]
Presumably the student went to a competing college that charged less money.

Her position was that colleges should be able to examine the financial records of the parents, determine how much they can be forced to pay, and then not have to compete against another college offering a better deal. That way the colleges could extract the maximum amount possible in tuition.

I am amazed that anyone puts up with this attitude from colleges. When I go into a restaurant, the hostess does not say, "We have scanned your bank records and determined that you can afford to pay $100 for this meal. So that is what we are charging you. Furthermore all the other restaurants in town are on the same system, so they will also charge you $100."

When I was in college, the Ivy League schools traded info on applicants for the purpose of tuition and aid price-fixing. I understand that is now considered illegal, but the colleges are still trying to figure out a way to be sheltered from competition.

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