The Corner

Education

Colleges are Confusing Mazes; This Firm Helps Students Through Them

Getting through college should not be easy — academically. On the other hand, it shouldn’t be a difficult maze procedurally, but often it is. Due to poor counseling and their own bad course choices, students frequently need more than four years to graduate and that means increased cost and debt.

Colleges don’t have a strong incentive to help students make good choices and graduate expeditiously, although they pay lip service to that.

Fortunately, the free market spurs innovations to help consumers of all kinds, including college students and their families. In this Martin Center article, Shannon Watkins writes about a particularly interesting one named Lumerit.

One benefit of Lumerit, Watkins writes, is that it “enables students to earn up to three years’ worth of college credits, but without limiting them to the course offerings of a single institution. This is possible because Lumerit is familiar with the course offerings and transfer policies of over 750 colleges and universities across the country.”

That sounds like a breakthrough. Being stuck with only the course offerings of a single school where the student is officially enrolled is very limiting. It’s like having to shop only at the company store, where prices may be high and quality low.

“Another important component of Lumerit’s services,” she writes, “is the extensive counseling and mentoring they provide. Before officially signing up as a Lumerit Scholar, students are assigned an admissions advisor who helps them develop a personalized four-year course progression plan. Students tell the advisor what they are interested in studying and to which schools they would like to transfer. When creating a four-year plan, the advisor finds the most cost-effective and high quality courses that fit each student’s transfer timeline.”

College advising is often done by faculty members who are busy with their own work (often that obligatory but generally pointless “research”) and don’t care terribly much about the undergrads who come to them for assistance. Lumerit appears to be a huge improvement.

All in all, this sounds like a winner. However, it has been around since 2004 and the 22,000 students who have availed themselves of its services is not a large number. Sounds to me as though Lumerit needs a lot more exposure.

George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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