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Price-Matching Programs Arrive On College Campuses


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Heard this on NPR today.

Price-Matching Programs Arrive On College Campuses

Oglethorpe is price-matching for in-state flagship university tuition from any state for high-achieving students.  About 6min in, the president of the school says students with GPA 3.5+, SAT 1259, ACT 26.  When I heard that, there was a disconnect in my head between the GPA and ACT score.  If a student with a GPA of 3.5+ got a 26 on their ACT, I'd be wondering about grade inflation.  I am a bit of an academic snob.  Ds scored 26 at the end of 9th grade.

About 18min in, Provost from University of Maine offers matching in-state flagship university tuition from several states with GPA 3.0, SAT 1120, ACT 22.

Regardless, I found the program interesting.

Edited by Sue in St Pete
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My ds is at Oglethorpe and they are really great with aid. It is an interesting program for sure but most students at Oglethorpe probably get scholarships and financial aid to get them around the cost of their flagship. This program is getting them publicity and they are a growing school. I’m pretty sure you can stack outside scholarships with this program too. I can’t imagine anyone pays close sticker price at Oglethorpe. 

Oglethorpe is definitely not for everyone but it has been good for my ds and a fantastic deal financially. 

 

Edited by teachermom2834
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I heard parts of  that NPR program while driving around town, and I'd like to listen to the whole thing. I was intrigued by Edmit, and might play around with the free version. 

Perhaps not really relevant to the discussion about price matching, but your view on SAT/ACT scores as predictors is different from mine. I think that there are plenty of legitimately high-performing kids for whom the SAT/ACT scores are unreliable indicators. 

Edited by Penguin
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23 minutes ago, Penguin said:

I think that there are plenty of legitimately high-performing kids for whom the SAT/ACT scores are unreliable indicators. 

 

12 minutes ago, RootAnn said:

I have a niece who graduated with a 4.0 and a top ACT of 21. Another had close to a 4.0 in an IB program who score a 27 or 28. They don't test well, apparently.

Yes, I suspect my opinion is based on my (one) data point of ds. 

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FWIW, I was shocked. I am more used to the C or B ave kids (mostly boys) who score really well because that's what I had mostly seen in my life. They were the smart-but-unmotivated types.

I'm not as shocked anymore.

Edited by RootAnn
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Coming back to the NPR program, the reason I want to listen to the whole thing is to hear more about financial aid appeals and negotiating merit aid. I think I am reasonably well-versed in how need-based aid and merit aid gets awarded, but I know next-to-nothing about what one might do after an award package is received. Other than just accept or reject said award package, of course!

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I definitely think about the disconnect in test scores and GPA. My kids have been all over the board-high scores-lazy grades, medium scores- high grades and now I am looking at my dd2 with LDs and we are going to see low scores and high grades.

My own anecdotal experience is that Mostly test scores and grades correlate. But the greater the disconnect the more useless test scores are as a predictor of college success. I know quite a few boys with high scores and extremely average grades and in college- they still have average grades, grades that mirror their high school GPA. And I know people who had really average scores who have extremely high GPAs. 

Getting good grades is a skill. EF abilities, abilities to ask for help, use tutors, and just plain hard work are all things that are not dependent on the "smart-ness" of a high test score. I like to see schools use grades or test scores- it gives the kids with a disconnect in their scores/grades (for whatever reason) a chance to get in and succeed.

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47 minutes ago, Penguin said:

Coming back to the NPR program, the reason I want to listen to the whole thing is to hear more about financial aid appeals and negotiating merit aid. I think I am reasonably well-versed in how need-based aid and merit aid gets awarded, but I know next-to-nothing about what one might do after an award package is received. Other than just accept or reject said award package, of course!

I'm curious about this aspect, too.  I'm grateful to learn about the NPR program.

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I listened to the whole On Point episode. What caught my attention most was the Oglethorpe provost's admission that they charge some families full freight to turn around and use that money for merit (not just need-based) aid so that they can attract enough students. So, basically, Oglethorpe is sizing you up to see how much you seem willing to pay to go there. Later on, the WSJ reporter even mentioned there are yield management programs that will calculate the likelihood a particular student will enroll at each price point (which of course is determined by how much institutional aid the school offers because sticker price and government guaranteed aid is set). This just reeks of used car sales tactics. I'd much rather they list a real sticker price and then give need-based aid. I don't want to play mind games or be taken for a sucker. In fact, it annoys me so much that I think I'll steer Trinqueta even more firmly toward public universities that lay out their rules on their websites. That just seems much more fair and honest.

Actually, moving to price matching is a move in the honest sticker price direction. I applaud Oglethorpe for that.

Edited by chiguirre
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OK, now I have listened to the whole piece. There are really not any nuts-and-bolts about how to appeal or negotiate a financial award. I haven't tried edmit yet, but the radio host described it as an app to help you negotiate, and the app's representative called it a tool to help you reach out to colleges based on edmit's data. So I guess I would have to try edmit to see if I learn anything more.

That being said, I'm still glad I listened to the whole show and have appreciated everyone's thoughts in this thread.

A couple more points from the show:

Some of the  WSJ reporter’s comments led me to think that price matching can be more advertisement than substance. That both the small private school and the public school were always going to be 25K - you just didn't know it.

Based on conversations with my IRL peers, I believe that. Many people will not even look at private schools because they fear the sticker price. This WSJ comment didn't seem to be referring specifically to what Oglethorpe is doing, since it is obvious that students from certain states (Wyoming was the example) can now expect lower tuition. But Olgethrorpe's president did say that the college is trying to remove the perception that Oglethorpe is unaffordable. Most already pay well below sticker price.

@chiguirre My son has looked at a couple of private schools that tell you right on the website what you can expect to pay if you have this GPA and that SAT/ACT score. I LOVE that, and wish that more schools did it. 

In our case, we can expect zero need-based aid, but that doesn't mean that we can or will pay upwards of 40K per year in tuition. So I am glad that some private colleges do offer merit aid. DS wants to go to a small LAC, and I have scoured data so that he can have a chance to do that. We are still in the process, though, so I am still crossing my fingers and holding my breath while hoping that we are building a good list. 

The NPR piece emphasized how confusing the financial aid system is, and I won't dispute that. I applaud simplicity and transparency. But I continue to be surprised when families really do not do any research into how financial aid works, and then end up disappointed. It makes me glad that I have spent so much time on this board and college confidential's forum. Especially since  I am typically telling myself that I spend too much time on this board ?

--

This is more of a fun piece, but I loved this week's episode of This American Life:

How I Got Into College

 

Edited by Penguin
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