NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: EJ802892
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-May-23
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
The New Student-Aid Landscape and College Admissions: A Report from the Trenches
Massa, Robert J.
Chronicle of Higher Education, v54 n37 pA30 May 2008
Given all the changes that colleges have made in their financial-aid policies in recent months, the 2008 admissions season promised to be the most unpredictable ever. Harvard University's announcement in December that families with annual incomes as high as $180,000 would have to pay only 10 percent of their incomes toward tuition, and that it was replacing loans with grants, was perhaps the boldest move. It set in motion a chain reaction of institutional decisions that could result in a major shift in the entire admissions and financial-aid system. Soon thereafter, Yale University increased aid for families earning up to $200,000, followed by the announcement of other new student-aid policies at institutions like Cornell University and Pomona College. In this article, the author surveys the student-aid landscape after elite colleges began offering more grants to students. He reports that what is becoming clear is the fundamental cost structure of higher education, which has not changed at all. The current national discussion about college "costs" simply seeks to confront how families, endowments, and governments should find a way to pay the "price" charged. "Cost" is quite different. For most colleges, the price they charge each student is less than their cost to educate that student. If they want to make college more affordable, they can certainly do what they have always done: find ways to help pay tuition bills. That will not improve the basic system. Indeed, what may be the most significant--and least discussed--impact of the policy changes by Harvard and others is that most of those new changes work within the old framework. They tweak it, other institutions respond in kind, and others like Dickinson look for new tools to adapt. The discussion of how to change the basic system gets put off once again. Furthermore, he states that the changes that most of the institutions made in their financial-aid policies this past winter will not help truly needy students, and in fact may hinder their access, as wealthier students will benefit the most from the increased aid
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; New York