Tagged: Access

The Scholar Snapp Solution

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There has been so much going on in the world of college admissions lately (the College ScorecardFAFSA changes, the test-optional movement, the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success, and new college ranking systems, to name but a few examples) that it’s easy for some news to quietly pass by largely unnoticed. One example of such news is a recent collaboration between The Common Application and Scholar Snapp, which was developed by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation back in 2008. The purpose of the Scholar Snapp solution is, in a nutshell, to increase access to college scholarship funds. How is this accomplished? Well, as is stated on their website, “The Scholar Snapp solution will help you complete applications faster by pre-populating basic information requested in all scholarship applications and will help you find money for college by matching your data with the qualifications of various scholarship providers.” In other words, the Scholar Snapp solution provides users with the tools and resources needed to both find scholarships and make it easier to apply for them – nice!



Scholar Snapp’s collaboration with The Common App is currently a pilot program, one through which The Common App shows evidence of its support of and commitment to both access and opportunity.  As the CEO of The Common Application has said, “The Common Application is deeply committed to increasing college access and to us that means not only connecting our colleges and universities with the talented students across the country, but also finding ways to help students and families to finance education.” I have high hopes that this pilot program will prove to be a success!

And how, exactly, does it work? You see, when a Common App user opts-in to Scholar Snapp, they then receive information directly from scholarship providers and, should they decide to then apply for those scholarships, it’s an expedited process using their Scholar Snapp file. Remember, one of the cool things about Scholar Snapp is that “once a student enters data for the first time, a scholarship application will allow a student to download their basic data and then upload it again to another application” – click here to learn more about this “Common App for scholarships”!

A few more things to keep in mind:

  • Students who opt-in to Scholar Snapp will not receive information about college-specific scholarships, so they should still plan to delve into college websites to search for college-specific funding opportunities.
  • The Common App is a great place to create a Scholar Snapp file, but know that it’s also possible to create a file via the Scholar Snapp website or using any scholarship application on which there is a Scholar Snapp logo.
  • As is the case with using Admitster’s online college admissions tools (simply take 30 seconds to register an account with us), using the Scholar Snapp solution is absolutely free!

To sum up (and surely you’ve seen this coming), using Scholar Snapp is a snap! It’s a great way to both save time and find scholarship money – funding opportunities await!

A Fascinating, Complex Business

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I recently came across a very interesting article in the New York Times Magazine that describes higher education as “a fascinating, complex business”, and asks the question, “Is college tuition really too high?”  Most of us, in response, would answer a resounding, “YES!”  However, the author gives a slightly different response – “The answer depends on what you mean by college.”  Hmmmm, what do we mean by college?  Wheels in your head, start turning…

WheelsTurning Below you’ll find the main points that are made in the article – may they be food for thought!

  • Paying for college is a “painful bill” for all but those who are extremely wealthy.
  • The very high cost of college, which puts higher education out of reach for many, has now become a political issue.
  • Education reaps benefits for both those who graduate from college (remember, graduation is crucial in the ‘college + graduation = success’ formula!) AND for society at-large – “When accessibility to higher education declines, we all end up paying for it.”  This being the case, access to higher education should not be treated like other consumer goods.
  • Very high percentages of those who attend elite schools will graduate, but this is not the case at lower-tiered schools, where over 50% don’t graduate and “will be burdened with debt or will default, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill.”  This is where the “what do we mean by college?” question emerges…
  • Over the last four decades, the United States has fallen behind many other industrial countries on the measure of college attainment.  Sadly for us, the OECD “has singled out the United States as being particularly deficient in one measure: the chances are greater than 70% that an American will not attend college if his or her parents do not have a college degree.”  Grim.
  • Access to higher education is of crucial importance in addressing income inequality!
  • Why is tuition at so many colleges and universities so damn high?  It seems to be the case that charging more gives a school more options in terms of recruitment and shaping its incoming class – “A school that charges $50,000 is able to offer a huge range of inducements to different sorts of students: some could pay $10,000, others $30,000 or $40,000. And a handful can pay the full price.”
  • “As a group, students who attend more-selective schools are among the luckiest in our society. In effect, they live in a different economy than the rest of the nation, one with a rich array of career opportunities, steadily rising wages and far less unemployment.”
  • Aid is not evenly distributed, and those from poor families “receive a disproportionate share of financial assistance (our system gives three times as much aid to the least needy as it gives to the most).”  Hand-in-hand with this, “non-selective schools, the ones serving our most at-risk and in-need students, are struggling for money” AND these schools have far lower graduation rates.  Troubling.

The article’s conclusion?  Students from poor families need not only cheaper tuition.  They need to graduate, and they need support along the way in order to do so (the author lists this example of a program that successfully provides this support).  “In the language of economics, education funding is an investment; it more than pays back its initial costs over time.”

I wholeheartedly agree with these conclusions and believe that if as much attention was given to graduation rates as is given to college admissions, we’d all be a lot better off as a result of it. Support along the way, from those early high school days when college admissions enters the radar screen, to graduation from college, is crucial.

What are your thoughts?