College Applications Overpriced

Annissa Lai, Staff Writer

Most people don’t want to spend $1,000 on something that will most likely not even yield any rewards.

But that is what senior Kelsey Williams will spend on her college applications this year.

“I know you have to pay people to read the apps, but I don’t think it should be that expensive,” said Williams,  “It’s ridiculous how much it costs.”

As many of Cal High students know, the college application process during senior year is very costly. Having applied to about a dozen colleges at an average of $70 per school, Williams has to fork over what some may call a ridiculous amount.

Even before students enter college and begin paying high-price tuitions, they have to empty their pockets for application fees. They won’t even know for sure if they are getting into any of the schools, but it’s a risk most students must take.

“You are paying to get rejected from big schools like Stanford,” senior Jasmine Dohemann said.

Even applying to three or four schools can cost a lot because in addition to admission fees, students must spend $50 per school to send test scores to each college.

“My life debt starts before I even start my education,” said senior Jonathan Feldman.

Many students are forced to apply to more schools than they need to because the Nov. 30 deadline for University of California and California State University schools is more than a month earlier than the January deadline of most private and out of state colleges.

There is no clear reason why the deadlines differ, but many students have their own theories as to why the deadline is so early.

“It takes them forever to read through the apps,” said Dohemann, noting students often don’t learn if they’re accepted until March and April.

“A lot of people apply to U.C.s and there are limited spots available because it is a public school,” said Sai Alam, who  is applying to 18 schools.

He said he would have spent $1,000  on application fees if he had not completed fee waivers.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form that most Cal students will use to determine their eligibility for financial aid.

Of course there are other ways to decrease costs for applying to colleges, such as loans, grants, and scholarships.

The majority of Cal seniors will apply to in-state schools, so they are raking up a significant amount of money just from applications to schools which, in most cases, their parents pay taxes to fund.

Senior Samantha Fisch said she will be spending $700 on college applications, a cost which does not include what she spent on taking and sending SAT and ACT scores that are required for many colleges, both in and out of state.

Each U.C. school students apply to requires a separate fee to be paid, so students cannot just save money and apply to all of them for one flat rate.

“The U.C. schools have one separate application along with a standard one if you apply for financial aid,” said Fisch. “I heard it is a rigorous process.”

Many students living in this area are fortunate enough to be able to afford to apply to so many colleges.

But for those less fortunate, the high price of just submitting applications can limit the number of colleges students can try to attend.

Fee waivers can aid students in narrowing the cost of sending in college apps, but finding them can be a problem.

“I know fee waivers are available, but how to get them is a mystery to me, and may be to many other people,” Fisch said.

For many Cal students, the whole college app process can be very stressful and worrisome.

Many apply to popular schools and highly selective schools, such as USC, and spend tons of money doing so.

“It is stupid, $80 to just apply to a college,” Alam said.  “People are spending thousands of dollars just to apply to colleges that they don’t know if they’ll get in to.”