Colleges’ Hidden Problem: Finding Students

Career College Central summary:

  • You can get an inside look at what's really going on in the world of college admissions by reading a new survey of admission directors conducted by Gallup that was commissioned by Inside Higher Ed, a respected trade publication.
  • One of the survey's more surprising findings: During the last admission season, 59 percent of admission directors at state and private institutions said that they didn't reach their enrollment goals by May 1. That's the traditional day when applicants must submit a deposit for the college they decide to attend. Forty-six percent of admission directors also said they were "very concerned" about meeting their targets for the 2013-14 admission season.
  • About 29 percent of admission directors acknowledged that they continued to recruit students after the May 1 deadline, which has traditionally been taboo. The practice provides yet another indication that schools are desperate to fill their freshmen classes as household incomes continue to stagnate and the price of colleges continues to climb.
  • According to the survey, colleges think their peers are cheating. While nearly all respondents said that their schools have not falsely reported standardized test scores or other admission data, 93 percent believe other colleges and universities have.
  • The survey also shows schools are making greater efforts to recruit higher-income students. A large percentage of schools are working harder to recruit students who have a greater ability to pay. Schools are boosting their merit scholarships, which are awarded without regard for financial need. International students, particularly affluent Chinese students, are also a popular target. Public universities are seeking more out-of-state students because they can charge them much higher tuition than their own residents.

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