How much money does UWO make on college applications?


Ana Maria Anstett

Revenue from total and declined college applications

UW Oshkosh is ranked No. 386 in a list of 500 colleges that make the most revenue off total applications, based on the most recent study done by LendEDU, an online marketplace for financial products.

The college admissions data was taken from the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System for the 2016-2017 school year.

The data is used to determine “which institutions are turning the application process into a multimillion-dollar revenue stream,” according to a LendEDU article written by Research Analyst Mike Brown, who noted the burden of college applications also comes with a price.

“Most of the time, a college or university charges an application fee of around $50,” Brown said. “However, the fee can range from as low as $10 to as high as $150.”

UWO along with all other UW system schools except UW-Madison charges $50. Madison charges a $60 fee and brought in $1.97 million from total applications in 2016-17.

According to the LendEDU data, UWO brings in an estimated $280,600 of revenue from college applications, which was calculated by multiplying the total number of applications by the application fee.

UWO Associate Director of Admissions Laurie Stevens said the UW System determines the application fee for all UW schools.

“Currently, a $50 nonrefundable application fee is required with each admission application for all UW System schools except UW-Madison,” Stevens said. “The fee increased from $44 to $50 for fall 2017, so this current fee has only been in place a couple of years.”

UWO also made $98,150 in revenue from declined applications and was placed No. 371 on the list of 500 colleges that make the most revenue off declined applications, according to the LendEDU study. In comparison, UW-Madison made $933,480 from declined applications, No. 66 on that same list.

Another list from the LendEDU study revealed that UWO is ranked No. 106 of 500 colleges with the highest admissions yield. Of the 5,612 applicants, 3,649 were admitted and 1,501 were enrolled for the 2016-2017 school year, or a 41 percent enrolled-to-admitted ratio. The highest enrolled-to-admitted ratio, at 70 percent, came from the UW Colleges, while UW-Madison had the lowest rate in the system at 37 percent.

Brown said it’s surprising to see how much some of the top schools make off applications alone.

“The top five schools with the highest revenue are all music colleges, and they bring in $5 million from college applications,” Brown said. “One application can cost up to $125 depending on where you apply.”

UWO student Destiny Fay said she applied to four colleges: Oshkosh, Eau Claire, Whitewater and Lawrence University.

Fay said she would have spent more personally if the application fees weren’t waved for special circumstances.

“I know it was supposed to cost more, but it was lower due to financial aid or some other opportunity through the school because I’m poor,” Fay said. “I paid it, but then got reimbursed somehow.”

After hearing about costs of college applications, Fay said it would have been miserable to pay for it.

“I would have cried if I didn’t get that help paying for applications,” Fay said. “Just those few applications would’ve been almost $200, which is crazy since I didn’t even get accepted to all of them.”

Brown said it is important for students to be aware of college application costs when looking for colleges to attend.

“Students should try to limit the colleges they apply to in order to save money,” Brown said. “Even just applying to four colleges with $70 application fees, you’re already up to $280, so you should really only apply to places you actually plan on going to or feel like you have a chance of getting into.”