The topic of SAT scores rising:
What about those SAT scores, which jumped to an average 1,100 total for reading and math, up from 1,023 in 2005? One possible factor is a steep decline in black enrollment, from 24 percent in 2005 to only 5.8 percent in the current freshman class. Nationwide, blacks score an average 200 points lower than whites on the SAT. (A High Point spokesman says the decline in black enrollment “doesn’t explain the increase in our SAT scores,” which he said resulted from enrolling more students with higher scores, and fewer with low scores.)
“Diverse” student body:
The student body is not only whiter, it’s richer. Scholarship aid has been slashed and now covers only an average 15.9 percent of tuition—less than half the figure for private colleges nationwide. “Yes, we probably have more students than many schools who are not in need of financial aid,” Qubein says. “Should we apologize for that? No. The more learned the parent, the more financially astute, the more discerning they are.”
The university is popular with parents who favor its preppy decorum. Although not enforced, there is a tacit dress code. Students are well groomed, with no body piercings or weird hair colors in evidence. “If you went to class in sweatpants, you’d feel out of place,” says Alexa Crawford, a sophomore from California. High Point may be the only campus in America without a single piece of paper stuck on a wall anywhere announcing a protest or a movie or used books for sale. They’re forbidden… Inside the gorgeous new buildings, High Point seems to do pretty much what it did before: educate kids with generally middling academic records in small classes with teachers who are usually good and sometimes great.
To make the numbers add up, High Point needs thousands of kids from affluent families who require minimal financial aid and can pay top dollar for the swanky accommodations. The make-or-break element of Qubein’s 21st century university, in other words, is cash flow.
Even if Qubein avoids financial calamity, he may be left selling High Point as it is today—a school with OK academics, packaged in a dazzling campus with pricey extras and clean-cut rich kids.
Quid Pro Quo:
High Point advertises a $47,355 flat fee for tuition and room and board, on a par with nearby private colleges. But most dorm rooms require surcharges that can push the total to almost $52,000, with room and board fees as much as 40 percent above the national average for private colleges.
Students of VIFs (very important families - often rich Chinese exchange students who drive Infinity’s, Mercedes’, etc…) are given extreme priority in almost every aspect of student life. Priority housing, and class scheduling, as well as priority when applying for on campus jobs (eg. if you are a VIF, you will be way more likely to get a job than someone who is not). Also, these students have their belongings moved into their dorm for them at the beginning of every school year.
Former classmates recall that Qubein spoke broken English and arrived with no possessions, since his luggage had been lost en route from Jordan. His Horatio Alger story has some holes in it, though. He comes from a prominent Jordanian Christian family—his uncle was the country’s Anglican bishop—and both of his older brothers graduated from Duke University in nearby Durham. One was in graduate school at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill when Qubein arrived at Mount Olive at age 17.
Excerpts taken from Article: “Bubble U.: High Point University” - Bloomberg Businessweek - Carol Matlack - 19 April 2012
My credentials: Current Freshmen with 18 credits completed, 18 in progress, 3.75 GPA