A laudable goal: get more kids to apply for college. Misguided idea: make it free for one week only. So what happened? TONS of applications. Some were legitimate, many were incomplete (it's free so who cares?), many were done as a class project with no intention of actually applying (it's free so let's get some practice at the expense of the college office).
"but some colleges say last year's initiative was misguided and caused problems." Only some?
"Any time you start up a new program, you are going to have unintended consequences," said Elizabeth Crouch, spokeswoman for Learn More Indiana, an Indiana Higher Education Commission partner. "We have had many, many conversations with the schools, and we've gotten good input about how to move forward."By not ever doing this again? Don't you love how the little weasel pushed the idea that this was growing pains, not merely stupid? Purdue gets 10,000 admissions @$50 from Indiana kids alone. That $50 pays for the attention, visits, tours, replies, brochures, advertising, etc. Why on earth would the college voluntarily give that up and increase their workload by four or fives times with a bunch of crap applications? This is a lot like the problem with teacher applications through SchoolSpring.com -- you get hundreds of chaff for a few kernels of wheat -- it's free and easy so why not click the button?
But the high school liked it so it was good, right? It "opened doors for students." "I saw students who would have never dreamed of applying to college fill out applications, and follow up," he said.
"Total self-serving, misguided BS," I said.
Re-posted here in case the link is archived.
Indiana higher ed officials: Free college application week misguided
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Education officials thought more Indiana high school students would apply for college if applications fees were waived for one week each year, but some colleges say last year's initiative was misguided and caused problems.
Enrollment officials across the state said their staffs wasted hundreds of hours sorting through applications, many of them incomplete, and trying to follow up with students who had no intention of attending college, The Herald-Times of Bloomington reported Saturday.
Indiana University officials said the free week cost the school more than $300,000.
"Any time you start up a new program, you are going to have unintended consequences," said Elizabeth Crouch, spokeswoman for Learn More Indiana, an Indiana Higher Education Commission partner. "We have had many, many conversations with the schools, and we've gotten good input about how to move forward."
The Indiana Higher Education Commission launched its "College Go!" initiative late last summer to get more Indiana high school seniors applying to Indiana colleges and universities. During one week in October, students could apply to state colleges and universities for free. Many schools charge around $50 to apply.
Record numbers of students applied to Indiana colleges, Crouch said.
University officials don't dispute the numbers or object to the program's goals.
"It was well-intentioned but misguided," said Roger Thompson, who was Indiana University's vice provost for enrollment management before resigning this month to take a similar position at the University of Oregon.
Many applications were never completed, and others were from students who clearly would not be admissible to IU, Thompson said. The school will not waive application fees this year.
"Unfortunately, College Go! week quickly became synonymous with free applications," said Pamela Horne, dean of admissions at Purdue University. "We normally receive around 10,000 applications from Indiana students each year at $50 an application. If everyone just waits until College Go! week to apply — you do the math."
Filling out a college application — typically online — starts the application process and creates a virtual file for a high school student. It also launches various contact and follow-up procedures at most schools, but a full application is not complete until high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores are added.
Students at many Indiana high schools were simply instructed to fill out college admission applications as a class project. So it was difficult for universities to predict who was serious about attending college.
"It's very difficult to judge a student's interest in Indiana if they were in a high school class that said 'apply to five schools by the end of the class period,'" Thompson said.
But college admissions coordinator Terry Henry at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis said College Go! week opened doors for students.
"From where I sit, I saw students who would have never dreamed of applying to college fill out applications, and follow up," he said.
Crouch acknowledged the complaints about the program and said changes will be made. College Go! week will be earlier this year, from Sept. 20-24, and officials will not be pressuring colleges to waive application fees as hard as they did last year.
IU spokesman Larry MacIntyre said the school can't afford another free application week.
"When you have one group of students who applied early and paid the fee, and then they turn around and see another group of students get to apply for free, they say, 'Hey, that isn't fair.' And it isn't," he said. "It put us in a tough situation."
Information from: The Herald Times, http://www.hoosiertimes.com