New Online Search Tool, College Raptor, Uses Data, Crowdsourcing to Estimate Students' 'Net' Price at Every U.S. Four-Year School
As more than 2 million U.S. high school seniors begin the complex process of applying to college, they are faced with answering some of the most important and challenging questions of their young lives: “What do I want to major in?” “How far away from home do I want to go?” “Do I want to go to a big or small school?” “Will a private or public college better fit my interests?” and “How much is college really going to cost?”
With the recent launch of College Raptor, students and their parents now have access to a data-driven service that brings transparency to the college search process by matching students with colleges based on academic and cultural fit, as well as affordability. Developed by successful tech entrepreneur William Staib, in collaboration with Richard Ferguson, who served as ACT’s CEO for 22 years, College Raptor is the only college search tool that allows candidates to estimate the “net” cost of every four-year college in the U.S. efficiently and effectively, allowing them to discover options they might never have thought could be affordable and accessible.
Ferguson, who retired from ACT following a 38-year tenure, brings a unique perspective to College Raptor. Explaining its value proposition for both candidates and colleges and universities, he says, “With the number of college applications that students submit growing every year, there is an increased need for transparency that results in better information about college options before decisions are made. College Raptor helps students discover schools that are likely to be a good fit to their academic skills and interests, both of which are key to college completion. At the same time, it provides colleges with technology-rich tools that enable them to attract and enroll applicants who are both academically ready and financially able to succeed and, ultimately, graduate.”
Much more than just a college search engine, College Raptor estimates a candidate’s odds of acceptance at each college and automatically builds a portfolio of appropriate schools, helping students and families make smarter choices about where to apply and enroll. Unlike other sites, College Raptor’s cost estimates take account of tuition, fees, room and board, transportation, and grants and scholarships. The resulting “net price” improves on the more-often-reported “sticker price,” providing students and families with a better picture of what it would actually cost to attend a particular college. College Raptor’s search system continually improves these estimates as it adapts, based on information provided by candidates and colleges.
Staib, who has built other successful companies that leveraged financially driven data to support decision-making, identified the need for College Raptor as he navigated the college admissions process with his own children. “When my oldest daughter was applying to college, she received more than 45 pounds of mail from schools around the country vying for her application. Plus, it was difficult to get a real understanding of what the costs of attending each institution would be. With five children headed to college over the next several years, that was definitely an important consideration for us.
“I saw the need to make the college search process more efficient and to provide students and parents with transparent information on college pricing, based on their individual situations.”
Alyse Slaughter, now a sophomore at Northwestern University, pilot-tested College Raptor when she was a high school senior. “Choosing the right college is not an easy process,” she said. “I tried a lot of the other college search sites when I was looking, but none of them gave me the information about cost that I really needed to make my final decisions about where to apply. College Raptor helped me decide that Northwestern was a great fit for me.”
For more information about College Raptor, visit www.CollegeRaptor.com.
Did You Know?
Of the 3.2 million high school completers in 2012, some 2.1 million, or 66 percent, enrolled in college the following fall. This rate, known as the immediate college enrollment rate, is defined as the annual percentage of high school completers (including GED recipients) who enroll in two- or four-year colleges in the fall immediately after completing high school. Between 1990 and 2012, the immediate college enrollment rate increased from 60 to 66 percent. However, the rate did not change measurably between 2011 and 2012.
Source: The National Center for Educational Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov)