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Colleges Fail to Meet Admissions Targets

JHSJHS 18459 replies72 threads Senior Member
edited September 30 in Parents Forum
This morning the Philadelphia Inquirer published a story by experienced education reporter Susan Snyder about widespread failures by colleges in the Northeast and Midwest to meet new-student enrollment targets this fall. The main culprits, of course, are the demographics of the region, the cost of college, a decline in applications and enrollment of foreign students, and resulting cutthroat competition among colleges. Little of that looks to improve in the foreseeable future.

https://www.inquirer.com/education/college-enrollment-student-bucknell-muhlenberg-ursinus-dickinson-20190930.html

An accompanying story suggests that, at Temple University, a successful program to improve its four-year graduation rate -- Fly In Four -- is also contributing to shrinking enrollments.
edited September 30
59 replies
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Replies to: Colleges Fail to Meet Admissions Targets

  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 38760 replies2126 threads Super Moderator
    Firewall.
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  • MusakParentMusakParent 1022 replies9 threads Senior Member
    edited September 30
    Interesting. At the same time UW Madison's freshman enrollment went from 6610 in 2017, to 6862 in 2018, to 7550 in 2019. Price? Freshman class is 51% in state this year which is a low.

    My kid is attending there. He is from OOS. I can say it was going to be about 10K more to send him to any private school where he got their max merit package (similar to these CTCL LACs). And 2-3X more to send him to other higher ranked institutions. Price vs. value vs. specifics about faculty were big in the decision making process. Honestly, we were more excited about the academics and opportunities at the bigger school (especially given the lower price tag) though we started the process thinking he'd end up at one of those smaller schools.
    edited September 30
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  • mom2andmom2and 2913 replies19 threads Senior Member
    The number of high school graduates is dropping, but cost has to be a significant factor, demonstrated by the growth of Rowan, a public college in NJ.
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  • TheBigChefTheBigChef 580 replies5 threads Member
    Interesting article. Bucknell is a private school with a good academic reputation, so you wouldn't expect it to be cheap, but $72K per year seems a bit high for a school in the middle of nowhere. Also, I was surprised that 69 people who put down a deposit at Muhlenberg in the Spring simply failed to show up for the start of school. That's over 10% of the class. Is that normal?
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  • HamSBDadHamSBDad 57 replies4 threads Junior Member
    There are also colleges that are seeing their application rates increase at a very strong rate. This appears to be more of the haves and have nots. Colleges are pricing themselves out of the market unless they are a top school Strong/good schools that are just as pricey as the top schools are stuck in the middle. There have also been articles about very small colleges failing and closing down. They don't offer enough for the prices they are asking for.
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  • MusakParentMusakParent 1022 replies9 threads Senior Member
    Yes, sorry @bigmacbeth I should have mentioned that. But that said, Madison may fall cheaper for some families considering OOS/private options at about 50K. About 10% of UW Madison students are MN students receiving reciprocity. That has become a more competitive admit. I just met someone whose kid got into some more competitive smaller LACs that didn't get into Madison.

    I think just a couple years ago my high stat kid would have received a better financial deal at some of these smaller schools than he ended up being offered.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78575 replies695 threads Senior Member
    edited September 30
    TheBigChef wrote: »
    Also, I was surprised that 69 people who put down a deposit at Muhlenberg in the Spring simply failed to show up for the start of school. That's over 10% of the class. Is that normal?

    https://blog.ed.gov/2018/06/summer-melt-why-college-bound-students-dont-make-it-in-the-fall/ says that a third of college bound graduating high school seniors do not make it to college in the fall.

    https://sdp.cepr.harvard.edu/summer-melt says that, in the Fort Worth school district, the summer melt rate was 48% (but 19% for white students, 59% for Latino students, and 56% for low income students).

    https://sdp.cepr.harvard.edu/files/cepr-sdp/files/sdp-summer-melt-handbook.pdf has some more information about summer melt.

    But it looks like Muhlenberg's summer melt is much less than the overall average.
    edited September 30
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  • SJ2727SJ2727 1951 replies6 threads Senior Member
    @ucbalumnus , interesting additional perspective, thanks.

    On original article - interesting chart in that article. Makes me quietly slightly more optimistic for D26!

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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 42053 replies453 threads Senior Member
    In parallel, due to Dept of Justice pressure/lawsuit, NACAC has had to remove their "May 1" clause, meaning students will no longer have to make a decision by May 1st - first likely result: non refundable enrollment fees doubling or tripling, second likely result ED increasing in importance. Casualty: lower income students and students at high schools without dedicated college counselors or GCs who have too many students to advise properly.
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  • Techno13Techno13 223 replies8 threads Junior Member
    Very interesting. I wonder if the tide is turning wrt the extreme increase in admissions competitiveness we've seen over the last few years? Or are only not-quite-top LACs affected?
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  • mom2andmom2and 2913 replies19 threads Senior Member
    If a student gets off a waitlist at a college they prefer and can afford, they may well forego the deposit at the school they chose in April. Bucknell, Dickinson and others may have taken kids from Muhlenberg.
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  • Gator88NEGator88NE 6461 replies203 threads Senior Member
    The Justice Department has been investigating NACAC for possible violations of antitrust laws for nearly two years, but the details of that investigation have not been generally known for most of that time. The Justice Department believes that with these rules, colleges are colluding to take away student choices.
    https://www.insidehighered.com/admissions/article/2019/09/30/nacac-agrees-change-its-code-ethics

    @MYOS1634 I know the possibility of drastically increasing enrollment fees has been mentioned before, but I'm sure it would also be treated as a possible violations of antitrust laws.

    The Justice Department is already looking into ED.
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  • PublisherPublisher 8512 replies91 threads Senior Member
    edited September 30
    Failure to meet admissions targets by a large number of schools could result in a reduction in cost of attendance through either more financial aid (need based & merit) or lower tuition & fees. Supply & demand should lead to price adjustments.

    If I recall correctly, several months ago Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania announced reductions in tuition & fees in order to attract more applications & matriculations.
    edited September 30
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 42053 replies453 threads Senior Member
    Yes, but it means students no longer have a target date and colleges can "poach" students throughout the summer.
    In my opinion, having a target date and sticking with it was an important part of the college admissions process for students. In addition, I don't see how we can prevent enrollment fee increases.
    Yes, ED is also looked into - in that it would be inadmissible to reserve specific scholarships to early admits and it wouldn't be legally binding. It wouldn't stop colleges from increasing the percentage of students it admits this way.
    I see these changes as improving the odds of full pay kids and lowering the odds of everyone else.
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  • Gator88NEGator88NE 6461 replies203 threads Senior Member
    Springall (Muhlenberg) wonders if some of those students were lured by schools, like Bucknell, that went deeper into their wait lists. Others, perhaps, wanted a cheaper option closer to home. “We were a little surprised to see that 10% of admitted students had considered a community college option,” he said.

    Bucknell suspects it lost students to cheaper public universities. Last year, four of the top six schools where Bucknell overlapped in enrollment offers were public.

    A little surprised that students are considering a community college (close to free) vs Muhlenberg (Tuition: $54,600 a year)? Especially now that you're reaching out to lower SES students?

    Using College Navigator:

    AVERAGE NET PRICE BY INCOME.
    Muhlenberg
    0 to $30,000: $15,313
    30,001 to $48,000: $14,736

    Bucknell
    0 to $30,000: $22,480
    30,001 to $48,000: $17,374

    Yep, why not consider a CC or a public university?. I don't blame the kids for writing off the deposit and not showing up.

    Average net price is generated by subtracting the average amount of federal, state/local government, or institutional grant or scholarship aid from the total cost of attendance. Total cost of attendance is the sum of published tuition and required fees, books and supplies, and the weighted average for room and board and other expenses.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78575 replies695 threads Senior Member
    edited September 30
    Publisher wrote: »
    Failure to meet admissions targets by a large number of schools could result in a reduction in cost of attendance through either more financial aid (need based & merit) or lower tuition & fees. Supply & demand should lead to price adjustments.

    Perhaps it will accelerate the trend toward choosing "elite or cheap", as students and parents decide that expensive non-elite colleges are not worth the money (and those colleges are vulnerable to having to close)?
    edited September 30
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 42053 replies453 threads Senior Member
    edited September 30
    Yes, it's quite possible that only private colleges that offer something significantly different from public universities (either through prestige signaling or specific features) will make it.
    Note also that the State in the article is Pennsylvania, which has a weird structure (community colleges lead to "state colleges", "university branch campuses" lead to "state flagships" and cost much more than community colleges), high public costs, and bad financial aid. So, traditionally, PA private universities were able to compete with the public universities. The costs listed in#18 would be lower than what lower and middle income students would pay at their flagship and "slightly higher to similar" to costs at a directional 4-year public college. The issue is that PA private universities may not be able to compete with instate public university costs in other states, such as NYS (with SUNYs tuition free for families making up to 125K) or Maryland switching to a model where merit or external scholarships aren't subtracted from need based grants and offering more aid for working class families (Guaranteed Access, 2+2), and strong PA students are attracted by better costs through merit aid at public universities in OH or WV even OOS.
    There ARE reserves of "new students", but they simply can't pay full price OOS or at private colleges - US first generation/middle class&lower income students, international studens who need aid.
    However, I don't think removing the May 1 "college decision day" date is going to help anything.
    edited September 30
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