Cal Poly has been ranked No. 26 in the nation for making the most money off of declined applications in the 2016-17 year, according to a recent study by LendEDU.
During the 2016-17 year, Cal Poly had a total of 48,162 applications and admitted 14,202 freshmen and transfer students. This resulted in $1,867,800 made from declined applications. Data for the study was gathered through the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.
Application fees can range from $10 to $150, according to LendEDU Research Analyst Michael Brown. Cal Poly’s fee is $55, the same as all California State Universities (CSU).
Prospective students from California may qualify for a CSU application fee waiver based on income. However, with the median parental income of $152,900, Cal Poly’s students come from the wealthiest upbringings in the CSU and UC systems on average.
The study does not account for the cost for applications to be reviewed by admissions staff.
“Fee revenue is meant to offset the costs to the university,” University Spokesperson Matt Lazier wrote in an email to Mustang News.
According to Lazier, the increased revenue is due to the influx of applications brought in each year. In Fall 2018, Cal Poly received a record 65,507 applications and enrolled 5,307 new freshmen and transfer students.
“Money generated from application fees comes to the respective institution as revenue, not profit,” Brown wrote. “The price of paying a professional to review applications is transferred to the applicant or his or her family in the form of an application fee.”
CSU Chancellor’s Office Public Affairs Manager Elizabeth Chapin Hetherington said another important factor to consider is the revenue from application fees is a very small percentage of the campus’ total operating budget.
“Systemwide, tuition is the same for all CSU campuses, however the cost of attendance does vary by campus due to the addition of campus mandatory fees,” Hetherington wrote in an email to Mustang News. “These fees are set by each campus. They are the reason why the cost of attendance at Cal Poly is more than other CSU campuses.”