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Higher Ed in the News

No-fee, short-cut college application marketing campaigns

January 28, 2010

More than 100 colleges and universities have paid a marketing company to send out "express" or fast-track applications -- some spending upward of $1 million on their applications campaigns -- and many reportedly have seen their applicant pools double or triple.

Lifting a page from the marketing playbook of credit card companies, college and universities are sending variations of fast-track applications to high school seniors that promise to waive the application fee, invite them to skip the dreaded essay, and assure an admittance decision in three weeks.

  • Marquette - promised a free baseball cap to the first 250 respondents to its “Advantage Application”
  • University of Minnesota - “Golden Gopher Fast Application”
  • University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif. - “Distinctive Candidate Application”
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic - “Candidate’s Choice Application”

Royall & Company, which designed and sent out most of these application packets, employs several veterans from the direct mail campaigns of long-distance phone providers and banks.

And its founder, Bill Royall, is a former political strategist who played a lead role in a mailing sent to tens of thousands of donors to Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign.

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Read more from the New York Times.