Everyone talks about getting into college, but no one mentions the fees involved. Aspiring college students spend hours filling out personal information, writing essays, collecting teacher recommendations and sending test scores to get into schools of their dreams—only to pay a fee just to send an application.
In 2015, students on average spent $41 on an application fee, according to usnews.com. However, students often apply to more than one college.
“By the time you are a senior, you should have three to five schools you are serious about. I know that $40 to $60 for each can add up,” guidance counselor Mike Naveau said.
The average student will pay $120 to $205 total in application fees, unless they request a fee waiver.
High school senior Jessica Jones spent $60 to apply to The Ohio State University, on top of applications sent to University of Dayton (although this fee was waived), University of Cincinnati ($50), Ohio University ($70) and Bowling Green State University ($45). She paid a total of $165 in application fees. After she was accepted, she was required to pay $100 more to commit to tOSU.
“I understand the application fee, since someone has to be paid to read them,” Jones said. “The acceptance fee seems ridiculous to me. If I’m going there, won’t I give them enough money anyways?”
According to economics teacher Joseph Cellar, whose wife Leslie formerly worked as an admissions counselor at Ohio Wesleyan University, there is an entire committee behind the admissions process taking home hours worth of applications. While she never provided a comment, J. Cellar said each individual on the committee at the time of L. Cellar’s employment was paid approximately $50,000 in wages.
Colleges charge these increasingly exorbitant fees to fund marketing campaigns and salaries of admissions counselors. University fiscal reports lump together revenue made from both tuition and fees, so where the money is funneled is unclear. Despite not knowing exactly where their money goes, most applicants are willing to pay the price.
“We do have a segment of the Olentangy student population where they approach the process by wanting to go to the most prestigious college possible and they consider this factor above all others. They want to see if they can get in. At least one or two apply to 10 or more colleges,” Naveau said.
The highest a student of Naveau’s has applied to is 16, but Naveau claims the highest in department history was 18.
Originally published in 2017 May issue of The Beacon Magazine, a publication from Olentangy High School.