Clark College has permanently removed the $25 admission application fee for incoming students. This change will take effect during Spring quarter in an attempt to expand accessibility to higher education.
Conversations regarding the removal of the fee had been underway for almost a year. The plan took time to complete because of the college’s budget challenges. Kelly Love, chief communications officer at Clark, said that the fee was removed as soon as possible.
“It was important to begin as soon as we could, rather than just wait, since we had it logistically figured out,” Love said. “We wanted students to have the benefit sooner rather than later.”
Clark earned $194,270 annual revenue from student application fees. Love said they are ready to absorb the loss of income, but the school is facing a projected budget deficit of nearly $2 million due to a decline in enrollment.
It is unknown whether the fee removal will result in higher enrollment in classes. Love said that the intention behind the policy is to ensure that everyone who wants to apply is able to do so.
“It was not created to increase enrollment; it was created to make applying more accessible,” Love said. “It would be a shame if an arbitrary burden, like a $25 fee, stood in the way of a student’s success.”
Even with the fee, some Clark students would still skip and drop classes after enrolling. Love said that she does not expect removing the enrollment fee to solve this problem. Although this change relinquishes the burden of paying the application fee, students still have to find a way to pay tuition before they attend classes.
This change does not apply to international students who go through a different admission process.
“We understand that the fee can be a barrier and we are trying to minimize and remove those barriers for students,” Love said.