College Financial Fitness: Why It Matters

money - bills 2An article in the August 13th issue of Forbes magazine highlights colleges in New York and New Jersey that are in need of a financial pick-me-up. Their “quick fix” solution is to set aside a week in June where prospective students can walk on campus with transcripts and SAT in hand, and enroll on the spot, often receiving a financial discount. A speedy admission process immediately raises enrollment numbers and financial coffers. It sounds like it’s all about the money.

So what gives? Called “tuition junkies,” these colleges are heavily reliant upon tuition and fees to make ends meet.  They follow a philosophy – which I’ve never understood – to raise prices along with every other school, but give deep discounts to attract freshmen. Hundreds of schools across the country follow this same addictive behavior. (Clearly our system of financing higher education needs an adjustment, don’t you think?)

Hidden somewhere in this up-and-down yo-yo are the real costs of attending college, something that consumers rarely see. That’s where Forbes stepped in.  They created Forbes College Financial Grades to measure the fiscal reliability and security of over 900 four-year, non-profit colleges across the country. Their research considered balance sheets, operational soundness, admissions yield, and more to try to get a true picture of the financial health and wealth of each college. Fewer than half of the schools they studied ranked an “A” or “B.” And the list of art schools comes up a little short, but here are the results in the top two categories. Keep them in mind when considering the fiscal soundness of your college choices.

Ranking

College

City

74

Cooper Union

NYC

90

Rhode Island School of Design

Providence

113

California  Institute of the Arts

Valencia

133

Cleveland Institute of Art

Cleveland

137

Minneapolis College of Art & Design

Minneapolis

242

Kansas City Art Institute

Kansas City

249

College for Creative Studies

Detroit

254

Art Center College of Design

Pasadena

288

The New School (Parsons)

NYC

309

Ringling College of Art & Design

Sarasota

336

Maryland Institute College of Art & Design

Baltimore

379

Moore College of Art & Design

Philadelphia

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “College Financial Fitness: Why It Matters

  1. That is a remarkably short list. I have never heard of this first year discount. I wonder what effect that has on graduation rates.

  2. […] Let’s consider graduation rates. Collegereality.com, produced by The Chronicle of Higher Education with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, helps navigate some critical issues that should be considered when selecting a college. I used their data on pricing and graduation to compare the most fiscally fit schools, as defined by Forbes. […]

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