Typically, when we mention "money" here at The College Whisperer, we're talking scholarships -- free money for college. Where to search for it and how to get your hands on it. After all, financial freedom beats student debt every time!

Today, however, we are constrained to blog about the megabucks that is the world of college applications and admissions. A tale of collusion and conspiracy, piracy and profiteering, patting you on the back with one hand, while picking your pockets with the other.

Yes, it's the Collegiate Industrial Complex at its best -- or was that worst? Clinging to the allusion that they are here to help you, to guide you, to provide access and sustenance, when, in reality, all they really want is, er, ah, um - your money!

College Board revamps the SAT - to make it more like the ACT. Losing market share, are we? Bottom line not quite what it used to be? It's not about the test, providing greater access to students, testing what kids learned or are capable of learning. It's all about the money!

ACTstudent to rework the ACT - to make it more like the new SAT. Fairness? Equity? A benefit to students? No sir. It's all about the money!

The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) changes its "ethical standards" to permit compensation for recruitment of International students.  Do we educate America first? Nope. Bring to our shores those huddled masses yearning to pay full tuition without discount. It's all about the money!

Common App Abandons "Holistic" Approach for member colleges. Under the guise of providing greater access to more students, the Common Application rewords its mission statement to favor the bottom line. Member colleges will no longer have to look at the big picture, the whole student. Forget the essay, if you'd like. Activities? Who cares? More member colleges. More greenbacks for Common App. Greater access? Yes, for colleges to those application fees. It's all about the money!

College acceptance rates are the lowest in history. They send you glossy brochures (with your names imprinted on them), bound books (thank you, University of Chicago), emails by the dozen, and enough snail mail to start a bonfire and burn Paris. Colleges (even those you don't have a snowball's chance in Hell of being accepted to #SorryNotSorry) practically beg you to apply. Why? Well, aside from the few that may waive the application fee, the money isn't bad. [Let's see. $100 per application. 35,000 applications. Hmmm. I was a Political Science major. You do the math.] And the lower the acceptance rate, the higher colleges rise in those all-important (to them) rankings. Read my lips: It's all about the money!

Everyone's getting into the college ranking game. U.S. News & World ReportForbesPrinceton ReviewMoney (as the name implies). The New York Times. Hey, it sells magazines, books, and newspapers, and drives up revenues. What's it all about? You guessed it. It's all about the money!

Oh The Humanity! Promoting access while dehumanizing the application and admissions process. People or prospects? Names or numbers? Admissions officers or recruitment and enrollment agents? All about the love for the students and of education? Or is it simply, all about the money?

There's "humanity to admissions?" Yes, and we've got several bridges to sell you over New York's East River. 

Well, at least the admissions community is finally beginning to publicly admit, to some extent, what many of us have been grumbling about for years: It's not about access, the future of our students, or "love." It's about the numbers, the rankings, and, shall we say it yet again? The money!

Oh. And did we mention the now highly compensated recruitment of International students, who comprise upwards of 10% of the incoming class? We did, didn't we? Well, let's say it again.Thank you, NACAC!

It's not so much about admissions these days. It's about enrollment.

Follow the money! [For those old enough to remember Watergate.]

So, boys and girls, parents and guardians, be a bit more than weary about those come-ons from colleges, the exalted invites to apply, the ersatz rankings and mock rumblings, and all the love bestowed upon you by the college community, far and wide. 

Time for the IRS to take a closer look at the not-for-profit status of the likes of Common AppCollege Board, and the colleges themselves. There's absolutely nothing wrong with making a buck, mind you. [Give me College Board's cash registers for a day!] Just stop hiding behind mission statements and press releases that tout your service as being for the greater good. Holistically speaking, and even just taking a long, hard look at the bottom line, it's all about the money!
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