Tuesday, March 31, 2009

More Top College Spots for Rich People

Facing fallen endowments and needier students, many colleges are looking more favorably on wealthier applicants as they make their admissions decisions this year.

They're using a few different tricks so they can still pretend to be "need blind": admitting full-tuition payers from waiting lists, or admitting more rich international students. They're profiling kids: "many of these colleges say they are more inclined to accept students who do not apply for aid, or whom they judge to be less needy based on other factors, like ZIP code or parents’ background."

The Times concludes, " the inevitable result is that needier students will be shifted down to the less expensive and less prestigious institutions."

No kidding.

16 comments:

Howard said...

Anya, I really hate to be the one to tell you this, but last I checked, the US was still a free-market/capitalist economy, where the strong prosper and the weak do not. "You get what you pay for" still holds.

An education in our country may be a right, but nothing gives anyone the mandate to attend a top notch private institution. As you summarize the article, maybe that translates to those not having the means attend schools lower on the totem pole, but so what? There's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

No matter how hard the current government and politicians try to nudge us down the path of socialism, that is not how our economy operates.

Lastly, private universities have the right to admit whoever they like on whatever basis they like. If that means an entire class of freshman that can foot a $50,000 tuition bill out of pocket, then so be it. What's the problem with that? For some folks in your generation, it might be a good lesson to learn early in life...it's exactly why some of your older siblings and parents have gotten in so much trouble recently with mortgages that they really could not afford. Since somebody was willing to lend the money for it, why not? But, as you already know, student loans do not get absolved through bankruptcy as a mortgage can be.

There is nothing wrong with attending a school you can afford. There are many, many articles coming out now questioning the wisdom of spending the big bucks for the prestigious school, when there are many excellent, more affordable ones that will provide just as good an education.

feministfinance said...

My new rule is ignoring all comments that start "last time I checked, the US is a free country" or anything too similar to it. Try it, you'll like it.

Between the story you link, the emergence of negative-income internships (where the intern has to pay for the privilege of interning), and that annoying NYT article from a week ago about wealthy New Yorkers who bought homes any old place under the assumption that their kid would go to private school anyway but who are now desperate to buy or fake a residence in a "good" public school area--- I just can't believe we haven't seen the beginnings of a revolution in how we conceive of and fund education in this country.

Howard said...

feminist - You should be very happy under the many new socialist policies coming. To tell you the truth, I might like some aspects of it myself. I mean, why should I go to work, break my back, and end up paying some ridiculous amount in taxes under AMT? I would much prefer to be on unemployment, collect money for doing nothing, maybe work part-time at Walmart or some fast-food joint, and be a leech on society - let everyone else provide for me.

You still miss the point. Nobody is denying anyone of an education. It's this silly belief that somehow, going to an Ivy League (or any other private/costly) school is 1) a given right that everyone should have the ability to exercise regardless of their financial means and 2) the quality of the education is somehow related to the price.

Education, like any other product, has a perceived value. That value is determined by market forces. Go ahead - ignore that fact - because a free-market/capitalist economy is what makes it that way. Maybe you don't understand the difference with the term "free-market" as applied to economics versus the US being a "free" country. You can skim through the articles in BusinessWeek, in Yahoo Finance, or many other places which show that from a financial perspective, the biggest bang for the buck comes not from the top private schools, but more affordable public ones. Read it for yourself, not one private institution cracked the top 15 in this study: http://finance.yahoo.com/college-education/article/106319/The-Best-Colleges-for-Making-Money

The price of an education, like any other product is based on supply and demand. You want to see the price go down, reduce the demand and watch how quickly the schools do what is necessary to reduce the costs to the customers.

rrmSteve said...

Hey! How about not taking loans, or any financial aid, from anyone, that has strings attached?

Could we find a way to pay for college or trade school, on our own?
Would it be a struggle?
Would we learn to be fully-functioning adults?

Honestly, the loan trap is such an incredible lure, people just cannot avert their eyes. And when those suckers get into the trap, they become processed meat for loan-sharks.

I think there will be no help; no rescue from the financial mess. There is no way MordorCongress will help. StObama will shuck and jive all day long but, he still works for da man.

Until the revolution, you are on your own - well, unless you want to join the rest of those folks on meathooks.

Liz said...

Howard-The problem isn't kids from wealthy families attending schools they can afford; it's poorer kids who meet the academic requirements to go into the Ivy League being ousted by academically-inferior rich kids whose daddies pay their way in. The "I can afford it so I deserve it" attitude has bred a generation of college students who believe they are paying for a high GPA, not an education, and it ruins the experience for those students who actually worked hard to get there.

As a Rutgers grad (ranked 6 for most-bang-for-your-buck) I obviously liked the Smartmoney article because it says what I already know: public schools often provide just as good an education as the more expensive private schools. Now, that knowledge is very nice for my personal satisfaction, and in an area saturated with proud Rutgers alum my degree has done me just fine. But let's face it: employers look twice at applicants who have gone to big-name schools. We are, in fact, paying for a name as well as an education. And when that name is denied to perfectly deserving students in favor of a lower quality, wealthier applicants, we are denying people something. It may not be the education, but it's an awful lot of what comes with the degree.

fineart said...

Howard: You make excellent points.
However, the US has had creeping socialism since Roosevelt; we are now in fascism.
An education in the US may be considered a right but, in practise, that is plainly wrong. The state dictates how you are to be educated and rigorously suppresses the 'right' to an education, when done outside the state authority.
Ivy League schools are the educators of the elite. For purposes of public relations and state rules, they will allow, other than elite, into the school.

feministfinance: the revolution is already taking place; the depression and the de-funding of schools will see to that.

Liz: Unless the particular school is aligned with the hiring company, rarely does an employer look the school name on your BA as a qualifier for a job. Only when you have an advanced degree, does that become important.

To me, I find it interesting that the elite schools and their advisors had no clue to their portfolio exposure.
There are better ways to impress an employer than a 'name' diploma.

vishnuprasath said...

Education is a must for everyone, only then a person will communicate and face problems easily in all aspects. Plenty of jobs openings are there but it is meant only for the right candidate.its the right time to develop new skills to become one of the right person what the organization expects.

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