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College costs have risen to the point of no return. Top public universities are now $35,000 a year, and many private colleges are over $70,000. That’s $280,000 for a four-year education, which for a 45-year-old parent equates to almost $750,000 in retirement money by age 65. And that’s for one child’s education.

When we demonstrate these numbers in our college funding workshops, it changes the mindset of the audience. Half-curious attendees now become engaged. Many of these attendees are high-net-worth executives and business owners. They want to send their children to big-name colleges, and $750,000 is a significant number, even for those that can pay cash for the tuition bill.

So the top question that always comes from parents in our workshops is:

“Why in the world does college cost so much?” My answer is, “Student recruiting has become the biggest expense in higher education — and it’s always passed on to students.”

Then I explain the details behind this admissions recruiting phenomenon.

“The fact that competition for top students has become so intense that lavish campus amenities, such as luxury student apartments, climbing walls, and lazy rivers, have become commonplace at many top colleges and universities. And to attract the best students to their “updated’ campuses, colleges have increased their annual recruiting costs to over $10 million a year.”

Now I have the audience focused.

Then I tell them the story about a Ruffalo Noel Levitz college consultant making a sales pitch to 1,500 top admissions and financial aid officials from 635 different schools who have gathered to set recruiting policies for the next year. The consultant starts the conversation by taking a poll:

"How many of you would say that the primary motivation for offering students merit scholarships is to reward academic achievement? Not a single person raises a hand.”

Now my entire audience is in disbelief. Inevitably, I’ll get the question,

“Is this true? Colleges don’t seem this heartless.”

My response:

“Yes, it’s true. Google the words Ruffalo Noel Levitz and discover the secret world of enrollment management for yourself.  You must always remember - college is a business. In fact, it’s a multi-billion-dollar business. The goal of college administrators is to fill their seats to capacity. They want to maximize the amount of money they get from each student. And if you are not able to pay your tuition bill one semester - you're gone. Nothing personal …it's just business!”

“Colleges today lean heavily on "discounting" and "financial aid leveraging.” Noel-Levitz takes the school's admissions and retention data and uses the results to tell the school who's coming, who's going and who might be enticed to stay with a few more aid dollars or certain enhancements to student life. Their formulas show the benefits of giving four high net worth applicants a $10,000 tuition discount, rather than give one lower-income student a $40,000 merit scholarship.”

"As a result, college students today pay different tuition price points, just like people pay different prices for hotel rooms or flying on airplanes."

“The truth is… the colleges themselves control the actual amount of financial help that each student receives, whether they deserve more, or not. It’s a lot like recruiting athletes. If your student is deemed a valuable asset to their school, the college will find a way to give you money, regardless of your income. If they’re not high on the totem pole, the student gets loans, not gifts.”

I’ve done a lot of college funding workshops in the last 20 years. Too many to count. I’m very good at these venues, and the result of using this opening to my college workshops closes at least 50% of the attendees for appointments. When I began 20 years ago, it was more like 20-30%, at best.

I get these exceptional results because of the heartfelt delivery of my presentation, telling the truth, and proving it. The cards are stacked against families today, and by the time I end the workshop… they know it!  

If you want to improve your appointment confirmations from your workshops, try this approach. I promise you the results will amaze you.

Posted by Ron Them

For over 30 years, the nation's leading financial advisors, broker/dealers, and major media outlets have been using his research, funding strategies, training, and insight. Ron is highly regarded as an expert in the college funding field.

He is a former Chief Financial Officer of a Fortune 500 company and currently owns his own financial advisory company specializing in cash flow planning for business owners and executives. He developed the Cash Flow Recovery™ process that uses cash flow management principals to increase asset value and build wealth for business owners.

He is also the originator of several software calculators to help advisors and families make college affordable, including:

* College QuikPlan EFC Calculator
* "Find the Money" College Cash Flow Calculator
* College Debt Reduction Calculator

Ron has been quoted in U.S. News and World Report, Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Smart Money, Financial Advisor Magazine, Small Firm Profit Report, Practical Accountant, LIMRA's Market Facts, Senior Advisors Magazine, HR Magazine,, Employee Benefit News Magazine,, Entrepreneur Magazine, Insurance Selling Magazine,, The Christian Voice, and Columbus CEO Magazine.