NGPF Podcast: Mark Salisbury of TuitionFit on increasing transparency of college pricing
Let's face it, figuring out how much a college costs is an incredibly opaque process that most don't discover until that aid award letter arrives sometime in April. Mark Salisbury was all too familiar with that process as an admissions officer where he worked directly with families trying to figure out this out. He knew there had to be a better way which led him to found TuitionFit. Hear the journey that Mark has taken as an entrepreneur while also learning more about the cost of college and the impact of Covid-19 on higher education. Enjoy!
- 0:00~1:22 Introduction
- 1:22~5:46 Early money lessons
- 5:46~11:07 Background in higher education
- 11:07~13:19 The issue with high sticker prices
- 13:19~14:32 The start of TuitionFit
- 14:32~18:41 Where the net price calculator falls short
- 18:41~22:08 What TuitionFit does
- 22:08~22:31 A word from NGPF
- 22:31~23:55 Decoding a financial aid offer
- 23:55~29:37 Things to look out for on financial aid offers
- 29:37~34:42 Financial aid and COVID-19
- 34:42~38:38 Average discount from the sticker price
- 38:38~42:33 Why colleges and universities don’t lower their sticker price
- 42:33~47:15 How institutions will survive (or not survive) the financial impact of COVID-19
- 47:15~48:27 Conclusion
“One of the things that jumped out to me was just the goofiness of the way college pricing works, or doesn’t work. Having been in admissions for a long time I had talked to lots of families who are like ‘just tell us what the price is going to be’ [but my response was] ‘nope, can’t do it, that’s now how the system works.’"
About the Authors
Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.
Ren has been working part-time at NGPF since 2014, interning through high school and college. With his knowledge growing alongside NGPF, after graduating from college in 2020, he joined the team to work full time with a focus on teacher onboarding. He is also the editor of the NGPF podcast and makes sure it is accessible to teachers on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play Music. During his free time, he likes to try out coffees from different roasters across the world and try out new brewing methods, even though personal finance gurus tend to caution against buying a cup of joe.
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