In one of my first posts, I slammed a college fundraiser for the buffoonish tactics she used when asking me for money. To refresh your memory, I went to graduate school at a university that costs undergraduates upwards of $45,000 per year… or is it $55,000 by now? The institution possesses an enormous financial reserve while thousands of suckers graduate with enormous debt every year.
But hooray! Financial aid comes to the rescue!
Unbeknownst to many students (and their checkbook-wielding parents), colleges have borrowed a marketing tactic from retailers. Raise prices through the roof, let those high prices make people believe that those prices mean higher quality, and offer discounts to make people think they’re getting a deal… all while soaking the poor saps who pay full price.
And then come the fundraisers who want to pull your heartstrings out with a pitchfork. Those poor students! So many of them are on financial aid and they need your help to make it through. Let our tuition marketing scheme fool you into thinking your donation will make a difference in their lives. And listen to the stories of some especially needy students who could never have afforded our artificially inflated prices without the markdowns we had budgeted for anyway.
So give us money, dammit. The psychologically manipulated student body will remain forever grateful.
(Sadly, that last line is probably true.)
I’ll close with a second reminder. I did my bachelor’s at a large public university and my graduate work at the prestigious University of Money. While I can’t complain about my experiences at the U. of M., I don’t see how the undergraduate education offered there exceeded what I got at my other, more lowly alma mater.