“I think it’s ridiculous that there are so many costs of applying to college, excluding the rising tuition rates. Everyone has a right to an education but these costs deter students from working class families from applying to college,” says Jen Kunz, a Ramapo junior, after registering for various College Board run tests.
While prospective students and parents are primarily aware of the external costs of college, such as tuition and room and board, many often overlook the hidden financial costs of application fees, tutoring for college entrance exams, and paying for the exam itself which can amount to significant numbers – all before even stepping foot on a college campus.
According to the College Board website, the SAT without essay is $49.50 and the SAT with essay is $64.50. In addition, late registrators pay an additional $30. It is important to note that the College Board does offer fee waivers for students whose median income is below a certain amount and can be given with the authorization from their guidance counselors (The College Board). However, for unwaived test takers, the exam fee is pricey, especially considering the fact that many students take the test more than once.
In the fall when seniors start submitting applications, students must also pay an application fee that ranges in price depending on the school and may have to pay a fee of $11.25 to the College Board to send their scores per each school after the free report period has passed (The College Board). Because of increasing competition, students will likely apply to more schools, further increasing their spending.
In addition to the fees of the college application process, students personal information is sold to “qualified colleges, universities, nonprofit scholarship services, and nonprofit educational organizations” (The College Board). On the exam, test takers check the box to be included in the College Board’s Search Service which authorizes the College Board to sell information such as their scores, home address, race, and gender, when many students do not even realize that their personal data is being sold. Colleges buy this data in order to flood highschool students’ emails and postal mail with letters that seem to be recruiting them. This encourages a student who may not have been thinking about that particular school to apply. Even if the student is rejected, the college has just made money off of their application (The Washington Post). Overall, colleges make large profits off of their prospective students, not just their enrolled students.
As the thought of college applications starts to become more prominent to prospective highschoolers through the course of the year, it is important to remember that undisclosed costs, both financially and in respect to personal privacy, can amount to significant expenses.
The average cost of college consistently increases each year.
Photo Credit: USA Today