Phi Beta Cons

The Global Search for Full Pay Students

An article in this morning’s Wall Street Journal sheds light on a practice that has been increasing steadily over the last several years.

Colleges are faced with the growing need for full-pay students, as even wealthy families are demanding financial concessions in return for attendance. As a result, many colleges have turned to the international market, especially China, for students who are not eligible for U.S. government aid and are able to pay full tuition.

I have had some of these students in my classes over the years. Some are capable students and bring value to the courses and their classmates. Others are hardly able to handle college material, and seem to be enrolled for financial, rather than academic, reasons.

The colleges are under increasing financial pressure, and I understand what they are trying to accomplish. But there is a slippery slope in this, and institutions would be well served to focus on cost reduction rather than revenue enhancement, if it means admitting unqualified students.

Vic Brown had a thirty-year career in the chemical industry with FMC Corporation, where he held senior positions and worked internationally in sales, marketing, manufacturing, information technology and procurement.

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