The price of paying a professional to review applications is transferred to the applicant in the form of an application fee. The fees also prevent prospective students from applying to hundreds of schools and turning the already arduous process into something nearly impossible.

Nevertheless, it’s interesting to think that colleges and universities can potentially bring in millions upon millions of dollars in revenue solely from applicants.

For the third time, LendEDU has used college admissions data from the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) to find out which schools are making a killing.

This year’s data, which reflects students applying to be freshmen for the 2018-2019 academic year, comes at a time when college admissions stories have become front page news; the college admissions bribery scandal that implicated Hollywood stars is still ongoing, while a recent Wall Street Journal story detailed how colleges were buying test data to encourage more applicants only to reject most in order to boost exclusivity.


The 500 Colleges That Make the Most Projected Revenue Off Declined Applications*

Revenue off declined applications was calculated by subtracting a school’s total number of admitted students from the total number of applicants and then multiplying the resulting number by the respective school’s application fee.

All revenue figures are strictly projections as institutions will waive or discount the application fee for many applicants. Unfortunately, the original data source did not account for this.

The data reflects students applying to be freshman for the fall semester of the 2018-2019 academic year.

The 500 Colleges That Make the Most Revenue Off Total Applications*

Revenue off total applications was calculated by multiplying a school’s total number of applicants by the same school’s application fee.

All revenue figures are strictly projections as institutions will waive or discount the application fee for many applicants. Unfortunately, the original data source did not account for this.

The data reflects students applying to be freshman for the fall semester of the 2018-2019 academic year.

The 500 Colleges With the Highest Admissions Yields (Enrolled-to-Admitted Students Ratio)

A college’s admissions yield (or the enrolled-to-admitted students ratio) was calculated by dividing the total number of enrolled students by the total number of accepted applicants and then multiplying by 100 to produce a percentage. To be considered for this ranking, a college had to have over 2,500 applicants.

The data reflects students applying to be freshman for the fall semester of the 2018-2019 academic year.

The 500 Colleges With the Lowest Admission Rates

A college’s admission rate is calculated by dividing the total number of admitted students by the total number of applicants and then multiplying by 100. To be considered for this ranking, a college had to have over 2,500 applicants.

The data reflects students applying to be freshman for the fall semester of the 2018-2019 academic year.

The 500 Colleges That Had the Most Applicants

The data reflects students applying to be freshman for the fall semester of the 2018-2019 academic year.

The 500 Colleges That Had the Highest Enrollment

The data reflects students applying to be freshman for the fall semester of the 2018-2019 academic year.

Methodology

All data used in this report originates from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), a primary source for information on colleges in the United States provided by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Final release data for admission statistics, enrollment statistics, acceptance statistics, and application fees at individual colleges was for the 2018-19 academic year. This was the most recent academic year in which the complete dataset was available; any subsequent academic years were yet to be completed. This application data refers to those who were applying to colleges with the intent of being a freshman during the fall semester of the 2018-19 academic year.

Revenue off declined applications was calculated by subtracting a school’s total number of admitted students from the same school’s total number of applicants and then multiplying that number by the respective school’s application fee. This number provided the total revenue off applications where the students were not accepted to the respective institution.

Revenue off total applications was calculated by multiplying a school’s total number of applicants by the same school’s application fee. This number provided the total projected revenue off of all total applications, accepted or denied.

A college’s admissions yield (enrolled-to-admitted ratio) was calculated by dividing the total number of enrolled students by the total number of accepted applicants and then multiplying by 100 to form a percentage. To be considered for this ranking, a college had to have over 2,500 applicants. This ratio was indicative of how many students that were accepted to a certain school actually went to that school.

A college’s admission rate was calculated by dividing the total number of admitted students by the total number of applicants and then multiplying by 100. To be considered for this ranking, a college had to have over 2,500 applicants.

*All revenue figures listed in the first two tables are strictly projections made by LendEDU. This is because most higher education institutions will waive application fees for prospective students with financial need. Additionally, many colleges and universities will offer discounted application fees if the application is filled out and submitted online. Since the original data source did not account for waived or discounted application fees, LendEDU made projections as if no application fees were discounted or waived. This is why all figures included in the first two tables are strictly projections, not factual revenue figures.

LendEDU’s projections operate under the assumption that each and every applicant to a respective school had paid the full application fee for that respective school, which is likely not the case. So, while the dataset provided us with accurate application, admissions, and enrollment statistics, it did not provide the exact number of applicants that had the application fee either waived or discounted.

Additional Resources on Paying for College

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