Inside Higher Ed, $1.5 Million to Get Into an Ivy:
In 2005, Inside Higher Ed reported that a leading private college consultant was charging $9,999 each to 10 attendees for a weekend "boot camp" on college admissions. The idea that parents would pay that kind of money for a few days of advice stunned and appalled many.
These days, $9,999 may be pocket change in the world of elite college consulting. A lawsuit filed last week by Ivy Coach revealed that it charged a woman in Vietnam $1.5 million to help her daughter apply to 22 elite colleges, as well as seven top boarding schools she sought to attend in high school, before applying to college. The fee was worth it, the lawsuit says. In December, an (unnamed) Ivy League institution granted the daughter early admission.
But, the lawsuit charges, the Vietnamese mother has paid only half of the $1.5 million. The family, the lawsuit says, is part of the "international aristocracy who have enlisted Ivy Coach’s premium services."
The lawsuit says that Ivy Coach provided "substantial guidance and effort" to help the daughter apply to Amherst, Dartmouth and Williams Colleges; Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, New York, Northwestern, Princeton, Stanford and Tufts Universities; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and the Universities of California (Berkeley, Los Angeles and San Diego campuses); Chicago, Pennsylvania and Southern California. The legal papers reviewed by Inside Higher Edreference 22 colleges, but only 21 are named.
The lawsuit states that, at some point in the company's dealings with the Vietnamese family, Ivy Coach became concerned about whether full payment would be made. But the family assured Ivy Coach that, while the mother wanted to see early-decision results before making final payments, the family would honor its contract. ...
The company recently devoted a blog post to defending its fees, which it didn't detail but acknowledged are far higher than those of other college consultants. ...
Mark Sklarow, CEO of the Independent Educational Consultants Association, said via email that the organization had kicked Ivy Coach out a few years ago "upon hearing of some of their practices." He said that "in our view there is no excuse for such fees."
Asked about this, Ivy Coach sent a link to a blog post in which it accuses the independent consultants' group of violating antitrust laws by trying to discourage Ivy Coach from charging what it charges. ...
Sklarow's association recently published its "State of the Profession" report, which included information about average fees for services. The report said that the typical range for comprehensive fees (in which a family pays a rate for help throughout the admissions process), is $850 to $10,000. The averages are higher for consultants in New England ($5,400) and the Middle Atlantic region ($4,800) than in the Southeast and West ($4,000) and the Midwest ($4,100).
For those who charge by the hour, the average hourly rate is $200.