Date of Award
Honors Thesis (Open Access)
Colby College. Economics Dept.
I use U.S. News data spanning 2002-2019 on 200 U.S. liberal arts colleges to examine the effect of the application fee on four outcome variables: applications, nonwhite undergraduates, mean undergraduate SAT scores, and number of first- years from the top ten percent of their high school class. I find strong evidence that schools enroll more nonwhite students and have lower mean SAT scores in years when they do not charge an application fee, although there is no effect of the fee on first-years from the top ten percent of their high school class. Notably, I find that removing the application fee has no effect on the number of applications that a school receives. Removal of the application fee appears to increase diversity at liberal arts colleges, with no effect on academic quality as measured by number of first-years from the top ten percent of their high school class.
Application fees, applications, diversity, academic quality
Recommended CitationSmith, Benjamin J., "College Application Fee Effects on Applicant Volume, Diversity, and Academic Quality" (2021). Honors Theses. Paper 1299.