Seattle University made $447,755 off of the total number of applications in 2018 but where does this money go?
The college application process is not only a challenge for students mentally and academically, but it is also a financial strain when taking the cost of each application into consideration. Seattle U charges a $55 application fee.
Michael Brown, a research analyst at LendEDU collected data on how much money made from applications at universities including Seattle U, and more specifically, how much money Seattle U made from students who are not admitted into the university.
LendEDU conducts a wide variety of studies that can be related to personal finance. They primarily focused on student loans but were then motivated to branch out and perform this research project because the cost of college applications is also related to personal finance.
Brown used data from surveys or publicly available information such as databases to identify unique personal finance trends. The universities he studied did not provide this information to LendEDU directly.
“I was shocked to see how much these application fees were. The application process is incredibly stressful as is, and I remember doing it, but this adds on additional stress,” Brown said. “However, I also do see why this would be necessary.”
Universities bring in millions of dollars yearly from college application fees. Seattle U made $447,755 off of the total number of applications in the 2017-2018 school year and $118,085 off of declined applications.
Seattle U is ranked number 335 out of the 500 top colleges that make the most revenue off of declined applicants and number 287 out of the 500 colleges that make the most revenue off of total applicants for the 2017-2018 school year.
These numbers were a decrease from the previous school year. However, it is also important to note that these numbers are associated with the amount of people who apply each year—if fewer students apply, obviously the numbers are lower. Many students are also eligible for waivers so that this fee is not a financial burden.
Students who have a sibling, parent, or grandparent who graduated from Seattle U can be exempt from paying a fee, as are students who attended some Catholic high schools, students with limited financial resources, or students who participate in some admissions programs.
Although it may seem unsettling that a university is using money from rejected applicants, it can be reassuring to know that it uses the money to pay the employees who review as many applications as possible.
Director of Undergraduate Admissions Katie O’Brien went in-depth on why the application fee is priced at $55 and where the money from the fees is directed.
“We’ve found that our application fee of $55 is on par with our peer institutions and right at the average for colleges across the U.S. In my 11 years at SU, it has only been raised once,” O’Brien said.
O’Brien also said that Seattle U accepts roughly three-fourths of the applicants who apply each year and that these fees represent a small portion of the university’s revenue. She also said that the revenue from the fees goes to the university general operating budget.
“It is important that we ensure the students we admit are academically prepared for SU, and we perform a holistic review for each application regardless if they are ultimately admitted or denied,” O’Brien said.
LendEDU operates with information provided to them from sources that are not directly from the universities. They conduct this investigation with the assumption that every student who applied was either admitted or declined paid the fee, which is not always the case.
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