It starts as a trickle, usually early in the Junior year.
The trickle becomes a fire-hose by the end of that year, into summer.
What am I talking about?
College direct mail.
Northeastern University sent out 200,000 pieces of direct mail to prospective students in 2012-2013. (Direct mail, not emails!)
Hundreds of other colleges follow suit.
Why are they mailing you? Where do they get their information?
The answer to Question 1: to put butts in seats. Colleges have expenses, like every other business (there, I said it – “business”). They need revenue to cover their nut.
Students equal revenue.
The answer to Question 2 may surprise you, but it really shouldn’t.
The College Board is the main source. Yes, the same “non-profit” College Board that administers the SAT.
Good old, charitable, Saint-like College Board sells access to their info for $15,000 up front, then 70 cents per name.
So Northeastern shelled out $155,000 (140K at 70 cents per name, plus 15K) to the College Board (not to mention printing and postage).
If the College Board has 50 clients like Northeastern, that’s a cool 7.75 Mill in data fees. (I don’t know their actual figures, but that seems like a reasonable, if low, estimate).
Not bad for a “side business!”
For more info on what’s at stake for these colleges, and how you can use it to your advantage, this will help.
– Andy Lockwood
Andrew Lockwood, J.D.
Lockwood College Consulting
497 South Oyster Bay Road
Plainview, New York 11803
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Disclaimer (to prove that I went to law school): None of the ideas or strategies in this or any communication should be construed as specific, personal advice. The ideas expressed herein are general in nature, not specific to the reader’s situation. Some of the strategies or tactics may not work as well as the examples referenced herein. Others may work better than what was described. Please seek an independent tax or other adviser’s opinion.
About Andy – Andy is an attorney-turned-“late stage” college finance and admissions consultant. Because of his own horrible experiences with student debt ($100,000 plus between Wesleyan University and St. John’s University Law School, where he was trained to write disclaimers like these!), he dedicated his career to helping other children – and parents, avoid needlessly relying on loans and otherwise overpaying for college. See his websites for more information.