Should colleges charge application fees? | The Tylt

Should colleges charge application fees?

Application fees for colleges can reach up to $90, and most schools charge at least $50. Experts advise high schoolers to apply to six to eight colleges, meaning college-hopefuls pay hundreds of dollars before they've even applied for financial aid. Many feel application fees hinder low-income students from participating in the application process and ultimately receiving a college education. Others point out that colleges are businesses, and application fees are just part of that reality. What do you think?

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Although colleges and universities are in the business of education, they are still businesses. In order to continue imparting knowledge on students, they must make money. As College Raptor reports, application fees are charged to cover the costs of reviewing the applications themselves. The staff at College Raptor adds:

Another reason why colleges charge application fees is to ensure that they only receive applicants from students who are serious about enrolling in their program. If there were no fees levied, students would just send out applications to every school possible in the hopes of increasing their odds. Having to pay a fee forces students to put more thought into where they want to apply.
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But college applications take hours of work. The average student is not going to submit hundreds of applications to schools across the country simply because they can. Assuming they would is a gross exaggeration. 

Applying to college is already no small task. When it's coupled with hundreds of dollars in fees, what already seems impossible to some students, appears even more daunting. The Community for Accredited Schools Online explains:

A student who applies to 10 schools (two safety schools, two probable schools and six reach schools) can easily spend over $500 on application fees, assuming no fee waivers were used.

Although some students can have their application fees waived, they have to jump through a number of hoops in order to get there:

Fee waivers are generally given to students who demonstrate financial need. However, some schools will allow any student to avoid paying the application fee if they meet certain requirements, such as making an official on-campus visit.

If a school wants to see demonstrated interest in their program in order to waive application fees, low-income students are still out of luck. College visits cost money and time that many families do not have. 

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These fees are poured back into the university for the benefit of students. According to a study from LendEdu, 2015-2016 college admissions data showed that some schools made millions off of application fees. What's important is where that money goes. CNBC's Sarah Berger reports:

"It is important to remember," the study notes, "this money is revenue for the colleges, not profit. To ensure standards and reputations are upheld, colleges must ensure each application is thoroughly reviewed by a university employee — and rightfully so. The colleges transfer this cost onto the prospective student through application fees."

College application fees are part of the process of keeping universities running. Plus, as some parents point out, the cost of application fees are worth it if it means better financial aid or scholarship packages for their student. 

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According to U.S. News and World Report, the University of California generated an estimated $42 million in revenue from its fall 2016 applicants. A spokesperson from the University of California Office of the President confirmed that the fees were used to cover the cost of assessing applications,. However, it's hard to believe $42 million dollars went directly to the admissions counselors doing the actual reviewing. 

The reality is that college application fees act as a huge barrier for students of all backgrounds. Whether they can qualify for a waiver or not, many families are not in a position to dole out hundreds of dollars in addition to tuition a few short months later. U.S. News looks to Mark Kantrowitz, publisher and vice president of strategy for Cappex.com, on the subject:

"The challenge is that with low-income students, first-generation students and underrepresented students, application fees can represent a significant barrier. There are many at-risk populations that don't apply to college because of the application fee," says Kantrowitz from Cappex.com.

College application fees are an undue burden that hinders the transfer of knowledge among young adults.

FINAL RESULTS
Culture
Should colleges charge application fees?
A festive crown for the winner
#DontChargeForApps
#KeepApplicationFees