Rich kids don’t need more help

Targeting “full pay” students is not the right way to increase revenue.

Editorial board

A recent survey done by Inside Higher Ed shows that colleges are increasingly paying attention to the ability of prospective students to pay the full cost of tuition in making admissions decisions. In other words, they are trying to recruit more rich students to bring in more tuition revenue.

According to the survey, many admissions directors are recruiting more out-of-state and international students who are charged significantly higher tuition than in-state students. College officials can explain this trend by giving the public a line about increasing educational diversity, but the real motivation is shrinking budgets and a desire for more revenue raised from students.

Indeed, 16.6 percent of public baccalaureate institutions explicitly say they are paying more attention to ability to pay when making their admissions decisions. These arenâÄôt private universities who may have a looser set of values; these are public universities supposedly committed to democratic access to education, regardless of ability to pay.

More disturbing than simply targeting recruiting efforts at rich prospective students, a tenth of four-year schools admit that the âÄúfull payâÄù students they accept have worse grades and test scores than those with less ability to pay. In these schools, wealth has become a criterion of admission.

This behavior betrays the vision of education as a democratic institution and a right for everyone with sufficient merit. College admissions everywhere should be need-blind and based on merit only.

Rich students already have enough advantages over everyone else. They donâÄôt need  another one.