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College Uncovered

GBH

In a world focused on getting in, do you know what you’re getting into? College Uncovered, from GBH News in collaboration with The Hechinger Report, pulls back the ivy on American higher education, exposing the problems, pitfalls and risks — and helping you navigate them. If you wonder how college really works, subscribe now. Because it’s a real education.

College Uncovered is made possible by Lumina Foundation.

©2023 WGBH Educational Foundation

In a world focused on getting in, do you know what you’re getting into? College Uncovered, from GBH News in collaboration with The Hechinger Report, pulls back the ivy on American higher education, exposing the problems, pitfalls and risks — and helping you navigate them. If you wonder how college really works, subscribe now. Because it’s a real education.

College Uncovered is made possible by Lumina Foundation.

©2023 WGBH Educational Foundation
5hr 38min
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Colleges work hard to make their prices seem much lower than they actually are.
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Congratulations, you got accepted to college! The next notification you’ll get: a financial aid offer, telling you what it will cost.
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College Uncovered Season 2 is coming soon!
Thumbnail for "Eps 8 The Enrollment Industrial Complex".
Listen to most broadcast stories, and you’d think it’s really hard to get into college. But here’s one of higher ed’s dirty little secrets: colleges are competing hard to be on your shortlist. Let’s talk about the US college enrollment industrial complex.
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Colleges and universities have a problem: a public skeptical of what they’re getting for their money. So, like all red-blooded American institutions, they’re responding … by buying advertising!
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Almost all freshmen starting out at four-year universities and colleges think they’ll finish in four years. But fewer than half of them actually will. The numbers are even worse for Black and Hispanic students. Let’s talk about why, and how to graduate on time.
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What’s the “transfer trap?” It’s when you transfer into a four-year institution from a two-year or community college and learn that your credits have been rejected by your new school. It’s a problem that costs students money, and can ultimately prevent them from graduating on time and with less debt.
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Former admissions officer Kyra Tyler says she was asked to remove a young Black applicant from consideration in favor of a less academically qualified white student, solely because of the latter's family connections and wealth. Let’s talk about how college admissions really works.
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Another secret to gaming the college admissions process? Apply as a freshman to get accepted as a sophomore. It’s not well known, but colleges recruit students to fill seats vacated by freshmen who don’t return. It’s a backdoor admissions strategy, one that colleges don't openly advertise but happens more than you think.
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The Varsity Blues scandal where rich and famous parents effectively paid off colleges to admit their kids, exposed alarming shenanigans around college admissions. There are other ways colleges give preferences to wealthy students, and they’re all completely legal.
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How do you pick the “right” college? Very carefully. And how do you know you’re getting the best deal? You don’t. Welcome to the messy world of higher education, where colleges aren’t upfront about costs or how long it takes to graduate.
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Higher education looms large in the American psyche: as the route to prosperity, a good job and a stable career.

S2 Ep4 - Closing Time

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April 18, 202426min 2sec

Okay, so you’re going to college. But will the college you pick still have its lights on before you graduate? It’s a question more and more families face as colleges experience financial and enrollment challenges that force them to close or merge. We’ll look at what colleges are doing to stay alive, whether should states disclose institutions’ financial health to consumers, and what happens to students - and their credits - when their school suddenly shuts down.

“College Uncovered” is made possible by Lumina Foundation.

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Credits:

Hosts: Kirk Carapezza & Jon Marcus

Supervising Editor: Megan Woolhouse

Editor: Jeff Keating

Executive Producer: Ellen London 

Mixing and Sound Design: David Goodman & Gary Mott

Theme Song and original music: Left-Roman

Artwork: Matt Welch 

Project Manager: Meiqian He

Consulting Producer and Head of GBH Podcasts: Devin Maverick Robins

"College Uncovered" is a production of GBH News and The Hechinger Report.