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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Saturday, February 24, 2018

College Consultant Charged $1.5 Million To Get Student Admitted To Ivy League College

Ivy CoachInside 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.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2018/02/college-consultant-charges-15-million-to-get-child-admitted-to-an-ivy-league-college.html

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Comments

I'll do it for nothing: throw back what your teachers tell you and don't think too much for yourself. One million dollars, please.

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Feb 25, 2018 4:43:52 AM

Want to get into an Ivy? Simple. Claim to fit as many of the fashionable identity groups based on "choice" as you can. For instance, if you're male, claim to be a female sexually attracted to small fury animals.

Then lie about the rest. A few minutes with Photoshop can turn you into almost any race imaginable. Invent a host of sob stories about all the sufferings you've endured due to systematic racism. That's the great thing about "systemic racism." It requires no evidence beyond your own imagination.

For extra-curricular activities, claim activity in various anti-Trump, anti-NRA, anti-Israel and anti-pro-life groups. A criminal record there will help. Extra points if you burn down an evangelical bakery.


Posted by: Michael W. Perry | Feb 25, 2018 8:26:31 AM

I dropped out of an Ivy League school where I was miserable (Penn) and went to Arizona State. It was the best decision of my life. They can have that advice for free.

Posted by: Brian | Feb 25, 2018 10:08:33 AM

Surely one of those fine colleges would have been happy to forgo the middleman and would have traded an acceptance for (maybe less than) $1.5 million.

Posted by: J Rachlin | Feb 25, 2018 10:38:09 AM

Sigh.

@Perry,

Back here in the land of reality, 45% of Harvard undergrads' families pay sticker even though their FA extends to household incomes of $200k with the explicit caveat on Harvard's FA website that "several hundred" families over that threshold receive FA, too. And per Deresiewicz, even today just 100 of the nation's >37,000 high schools still produce about 1 in 4 students at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton - and 94 of them are private schools. Wanna get in the Ivy League? Go to one of those schools - if you have to ask which they are you've already lost - and be from the top ~3% of American household incomes. That is, by far, the largest plurality of the student bodies at Harvard and its peers.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Feb 25, 2018 11:21:45 PM

Brian,
I can give the exact same advice, except that I was at one of the "Little Three" colleges (I know they are not Ivy, but close). Go Devils!

Posted by: Nathan | Feb 26, 2018 9:01:00 AM

UN:
Nothing you wrote is incompatible with MWP's sage and trenchantly delivered advice.

Posted by: Mike Petrik | Feb 26, 2018 12:59:49 PM

>> I'll do it for nothing

>> One million dollars, please.

Please reconcile.

Posted by: Commish | Feb 27, 2018 4:59:02 AM

Can we be friends, Michael

Posted by: Commish | Feb 27, 2018 5:00:36 AM