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Letter to the Chronicle of Higher Education

Letter to the Chronicle of Higher Education

September 20, 2004

Letters to the Editor
Chronicle of Higher Education

To the Editor:

Any study that makes sweeping generalizations about the nation’s 1,600 independent colleges and universities, based on responses from a mere 107 of them, deserves to be met with deep skepticism (“Many Colleges Fall Short on Registering Student Voters,” September 17). The Chronicle’s charge that great numbers of private institutions are complacent about fostering good citizenship through electoral participation, and are out of compliance with federal law, is not only incorrect but irresponsible.

NAICU conducted a quick survey of our nearly 1,000 member institutions, to check the validity of the Chronicle’s survey. In just three days, 367 responded to our blind survey. Ninety-five percent are in compliance with the federal voter registration mandate.

In fact, they are going far beyond the letter of the law. Private colleges and universities are currently engaged in campus-wide voter registration, education, and motivation activities, as classes begin and America focuses on the election. They have distributed voter registration forms to students in class registration and freshmen orientation packets; voter registration drives are under way in student unions and residence halls; administrators are sending voter registration information and web links to all campus e-mail accounts; political speakers, issue forums, and mock debates are filling campus calendars; and students are bringing polling places to campus.

Since 1996 (two election cycles before registration efforts were required by law), the National Campus Voter Registration Project has given public and private institutions across the United States information and tools for registering students, educating them about the issues and candidates, and getting them to the polls on Election Day. In 2004 alone, this project—a nonpartisan effort sponsored by 48 major Washington-based higher education associations—has distributed 15,000 copies of its guide for voter registration and engagement to every institution in the nation.

Through the ambitious efforts of colleges and universities and our partner organizations, such as Rock the Vote and Youth Vote, millions of students have registered for the first time. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 87 percent of college students registered to vote in 2000, and 78 percent voted in the last election—rates that are significantly higher than the general population.

Visit a college campus during the next few weeks, and observe the opportunities to register and engage in civic life and participatory democracy. You will find a level of involvement unmatched elsewhere in society, and dramatically at odds with the findings of your study.

Sincerely,

David L. Warren
President
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities Washington, DC

Letters to the Editor
Chronicle of Higher Education

To the Editor:

Any study that makes sweeping generalizations about the nation’s 1,600 independent colleges and universities, based on responses from a mere 107 of them, deserves to be met with deep skepticism (“Many Colleges Fall Short on Registering Student Voters,” September 17). The Chronicle’s charge that great numbers of private institutions are complacent about fostering good citizenship through electoral participation, and are out of compliance with federal law, is not only incorrect but irresponsible.

NAICU conducted a quick survey of our nearly 1,000 member institutions, to check the validity of the Chronicle’s survey. In just three days, 367 responded to our blind survey. Ninety-five percent are in compliance with the federal voter registration mandate.

In fact, they are going far beyond the letter of the law. Private colleges and universities are currently engaged in campus-wide voter registration, education, and motivation activities, as classes begin and America focuses on the election. They have distributed voter registration forms to students in class registration and freshmen orientation packets; voter registration drives are under way in student unions and residence halls; administrators are sending voter registration information and web links to all campus e-mail accounts; political speakers, issue forums, and mock debates are filling campus calendars; and students are bringing polling places to campus.

Since 1996 (two election cycles before registration efforts were required by law), the National Campus Voter Registration Project has given public and private institutions across the United States information and tools for registering students, educating them about the issues and candidates, and getting them to the polls on Election Day. In 2004 alone, this project—a nonpartisan effort sponsored by 48 major Washington-based higher education associations—has distributed 15,000 copies of its guide for voter registration and engagement to every institution in the nation.

Through the ambitious efforts of colleges and universities and our partner organizations, such as Rock the Vote and Youth Vote, millions of students have registered for the first time. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 87 percent of college students registered to vote in 2000, and 78 percent voted in the last election—rates that are significantly higher than the general population.

Visit a college campus during the next few weeks, and observe the opportunities to register and engage in civic life and participatory democracy. You will find a level of involvement unmatched elsewhere in society, and dramatically at odds with the findings of your study.

Sincerely,

David L. Warren
President
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities Washington, DC

September 20, 2004

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Letter to the Los Angeles Times

Letter to the Los Angeles Times

July 20, 2004

Letters to the Editor
Los Angeles Times

To the Editor:

Re: “Colleges Have Little Incentive to Hold Down Costs,” July 18

Private colleges and universities must be market-smart and mission-driven to survive and succeed. They have a major incentive to hold down operating costs, keep net tuition (sticker prices minus grant aid) in check, and maintain their value to consumers. A marketplace made up of 3,700 colleges and universities competes for students who place the value received for their tuition dollars above all else. While president of Ohio Wesleyan University from 1984 to 1993, I saw consumer focus shift away from quality to value, as annual double-digit inflation increases became common at private and public institutions. College presidents around the nation will agree that this attitude still prevails.

Those double-digit tuition increases are rare today, as private institutions control costs by adopting business practices. These include targeted reductions that streamline operations, outsourcing of campus services, collaborations with other institutions that leverage purchasing power and reduce administrative and academic redundancy, and the implementation of environmentally friendly systems that reduce energy consumption.

These measures, combined with a 197 percent increase in the amount of institutionally provided grant aid over the past decade, have had remarkable results. Student aid has grown more than twice as fast as tuition increases over the last decade. Moreover, out-of-pocket costs paid by students have actually dropped by an inflation-adjusted $100, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

The fierce competition among private colleges and universities, and with public and for-profit institutions, has demanded flexibility and ingenuity on the part of presidents. They have taken steps such as tuition reductions, freezes, and guarantees; tuition bartering; four-year graduation and employment guarantees; a national private college 529 savings plan; accelerated degree programs; policies that replace loans with grants for low-income and working families; and substantial increases in student aid budgets.

Combined with Pell Grants, Federal Work-Study, and other vital federal student aid programs, state grants, and private support, these institutional initiatives have given millions of students the opportunity to choose the college that best serves their needs. The commitment of these partners will give the coming wave of first-generation, needy students a chance at a better life. Far from driving up the cost of college, increases in federal student aid help temper tuition increases at private institutions.

With more families than ever worried about college costs, America’s private colleges and universities are committed to safeguarding their value by maintaining access, affordability, and quality for students from all backgrounds.

Sincerely,

David L. Warren
President
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities Washington, DC

Letters to the Editor
Los Angeles Times

To the Editor:

Re: “Colleges Have Little Incentive to Hold Down Costs,” July 18

Private colleges and universities must be market-smart and mission-driven to survive and succeed. They have a major incentive to hold down operating costs, keep net tuition (sticker prices minus grant aid) in check, and maintain their value to consumers. A marketplace made up of 3,700 colleges and universities competes for students who place the value received for their tuition dollars above all else. While president of Ohio Wesleyan University from 1984 to 1993, I saw consumer focus shift away from quality to value, as annual double-digit inflation increases became common at private and public institutions. College presidents around the nation will agree that this attitude still prevails.

Those double-digit tuition increases are rare today, as private institutions control costs by adopting business practices. These include targeted reductions that streamline operations, outsourcing of campus services, collaborations with other institutions that leverage purchasing power and reduce administrative and academic redundancy, and the implementation of environmentally friendly systems that reduce energy consumption.

These measures, combined with a 197 percent increase in the amount of institutionally provided grant aid over the past decade, have had remarkable results. Student aid has grown more than twice as fast as tuition increases over the last decade. Moreover, out-of-pocket costs paid by students have actually dropped by an inflation-adjusted $100, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

The fierce competition among private colleges and universities, and with public and for-profit institutions, has demanded flexibility and ingenuity on the part of presidents. They have taken steps such as tuition reductions, freezes, and guarantees; tuition bartering; four-year graduation and employment guarantees; a national private college 529 savings plan; accelerated degree programs; policies that replace loans with grants for low-income and working families; and substantial increases in student aid budgets.

Combined with Pell Grants, Federal Work-Study, and other vital federal student aid programs, state grants, and private support, these institutional initiatives have given millions of students the opportunity to choose the college that best serves their needs. The commitment of these partners will give the coming wave of first-generation, needy students a chance at a better life. Far from driving up the cost of college, increases in federal student aid help temper tuition increases at private institutions.

With more families than ever worried about college costs, America’s private colleges and universities are committed to safeguarding their value by maintaining access, affordability, and quality for students from all backgrounds.

Sincerely,

David L. Warren
President
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities Washington, DC

July 20, 2004

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Letter to Investor's Business Daily

Letter to Investor's Business Daily

July 19, 2004

Letters to the Editor
Investor’s Business Daily

To the Editor:

Re: “Aid in the Shade,” Editorial, July 15

It is an urban legend—embraced by several Washington policymakers—that increases in federal student aid drive up college tuition.

In fact, the only conclusion that can be drawn from research on higher education costs is this: Increases in federal student aid do not lead to increases in tuition. Studies conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, Coopers & Lybrand, and economists Michael McPherson and Morton Shapiro agree on this point.

The groundbreaking G.I. Bill and Higher Education Act proved the power that federal student aid could have on college opportunity, social mobility, and the nation’s economic development. During their lifetime, college graduates will out-earn those without a bachelor’s degree by more than $1 million. While the average federal debt of students graduating from four-year state and independent colleges in 2000 was about $16,000, it’s hard to imagine a better investment they could make.

As our knowledge-based economy demands more college graduates, and the percentage of low-income college-age students skyrockets, more—not less—support of federal student aid by our nation’s policymakers and opinion leaders will keep our nation strong and healthy.

Sincerely,

David L. Warren
President
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities Washington, DC

Letters to the Editor
Investor’s Business Daily

To the Editor:

Re: “Aid in the Shade,” Editorial, July 15

It is an urban legend—embraced by several Washington policymakers—that increases in federal student aid drive up college tuition.

In fact, the only conclusion that can be drawn from research on higher education costs is this: Increases in federal student aid do not lead to increases in tuition. Studies conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, Coopers & Lybrand, and economists Michael McPherson and Morton Shapiro agree on this point.

The groundbreaking G.I. Bill and Higher Education Act proved the power that federal student aid could have on college opportunity, social mobility, and the nation’s economic development. During their lifetime, college graduates will out-earn those without a bachelor’s degree by more than $1 million. While the average federal debt of students graduating from four-year state and independent colleges in 2000 was about $16,000, it’s hard to imagine a better investment they could make.

As our knowledge-based economy demands more college graduates, and the percentage of low-income college-age students skyrockets, more—not less—support of federal student aid by our nation’s policymakers and opinion leaders will keep our nation strong and healthy.

Sincerely,

David L. Warren
President
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities Washington, DC

July 19, 2004

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Letter to Newsday

Letter to Newsday

March 29, 2004

Letters to the Editor
Newsday

To the Editor:

After reading your recent series on college costs ("Paying for Progress," March 21; "The Financial Burden," March 22), the families of college-bound Long Islanders will be surprised by just how affordable independent (private, not-for-profit) colleges and universities are, and by the return these institutions offer on a family’s out-of-pocket cost.

First, higher education is well worth the collective investment that we as a nation, state, parents, and individuals make. Two in every five jobs created in the coming decade will require a college degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Further, individuals who earn a bachelor's degree will boost their lifetime earnings by nearly a $1 million over someone with a high school diploma, commanding nearly twice the annual income.

The return on investment to individuals and society is why independent colleges and universities are committed to making higher education accessible and affordable for all students, especially for those with modest incomes. In the past 10 years, college-funded grant and scholarship aid has grown by 197 percent, more than double the 86 percent increase in tuition.

Today eight in every ten dependent, full-time undergraduates enrolled in independent higher education received some form of financial assistance, with an average award of nearly $14,000. In New York State, independent colleges and universities provide $5.34 in college-funded financial aid for every $1 of state student assistance, for a total of $1.7 billion annually. The result: the average net tuition – “sticker” price minus grants and scholarships -- at independent colleges across the nation has actually declined by $100 over the past decade, once adjusted for inflation.

To reap the personal and public rewards of a college-educated work force, higher education funding must be a policy priority in Albany and in Washington. Since 1980, New York State institutionally provided grant aid has grown nearly four times the rate of federal and state grants. State legislators are currently considering the fate of a plan to cut the Tuition Assistance Program by a third. Congress is divided over whether to increase funding for the maximum Pell Grant award, or for programs that encourage states and institutions to provide more student aid, student loans, and federal work-study. Now is the time for families from Long Island and elsewhere to contact their elected representatives in support of student financial aid.

Visit www.cicu.org for information about bringing TAP back, and call the Student Aid Alliance hotline at 1-800-574-4AID to contact Congress in support of student aid programs. We must work together to make college a realistic and attainable goal for every New Yorker and all Americans.

Sincerely,
Abraham M. Lackman
President
Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities

David L. Warren
President
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

Letters to the Editor
Newsday

To the Editor:

After reading your recent series on college costs ("Paying for Progress," March 21; "The Financial Burden," March 22), the families of college-bound Long Islanders will be surprised by just how affordable independent (private, not-for-profit) colleges and universities are, and by the return these institutions offer on a family’s out-of-pocket cost.

First, higher education is well worth the collective investment that we as a nation, state, parents, and individuals make. Two in every five jobs created in the coming decade will require a college degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Further, individuals who earn a bachelor's degree will boost their lifetime earnings by nearly a $1 million over someone with a high school diploma, commanding nearly twice the annual income.

The return on investment to individuals and society is why independent colleges and universities are committed to making higher education accessible and affordable for all students, especially for those with modest incomes. In the past 10 years, college-funded grant and scholarship aid has grown by 197 percent, more than double the 86 percent increase in tuition.

Today eight in every ten dependent, full-time undergraduates enrolled in independent higher education received some form of financial assistance, with an average award of nearly $14,000. In New York State, independent colleges and universities provide $5.34 in college-funded financial aid for every $1 of state student assistance, for a total of $1.7 billion annually. The result: the average net tuition – “sticker” price minus grants and scholarships -- at independent colleges across the nation has actually declined by $100 over the past decade, once adjusted for inflation.

To reap the personal and public rewards of a college-educated work force, higher education funding must be a policy priority in Albany and in Washington. Since 1980, New York State institutionally provided grant aid has grown nearly four times the rate of federal and state grants. State legislators are currently considering the fate of a plan to cut the Tuition Assistance Program by a third. Congress is divided over whether to increase funding for the maximum Pell Grant award, or for programs that encourage states and institutions to provide more student aid, student loans, and federal work-study. Now is the time for families from Long Island and elsewhere to contact their elected representatives in support of student financial aid.

Visit www.cicu.org for information about bringing TAP back, and call the Student Aid Alliance hotline at 1-800-574-4AID to contact Congress in support of student aid programs. We must work together to make college a realistic and attainable goal for every New Yorker and all Americans.

Sincerely,
Abraham M. Lackman
President
Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities

David L. Warren
President
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

March 29, 2004

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Letter to the Christian Science Monitor

Letter to the Christian Science Monitor

October 27, 2003

Letters to the Editor
Christian Science Monitor

Re: "Who Speaks for Colleges Kids" editorial

To the Editor:

College students could very well play a key role in the upcoming primaries and general election (“Who Speaks for College Kids?,” editorial, Oct. 24, 2003). The views and issues that concern this ideologically diverse population warrant close watching by policymakers and candidates at all levels of government.

One of the most overlooked facts in American politics is that college students are more likely to register and vote than their non-college peers and the general population. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 87 percent of college students were registered to vote in 2000, and 78 percent voted in the last presidential election.

These statistics, and those from Harvard’s Institute of Politics, help to demythologize the stereotype of today’s college student as tuned out and politically unaware. Their attention has been significantly altered by dramatic events in recent years: the 9/11 attacks, the subsequent war on terrorism and in Iraq, the disputed presidential election, and furious protests against economic globalization. I have not seen college students this attuned to national and world events, and so active in their communities, since the 1960s.

According to recent polls, 85 percent of college students say they follow current events, 61 percent do volunteer work, and one in three participate in political rallies or demonstrations. More than 5 million college students gave an estimated 1.2 billion hours of community service in 2000.

My association has been active in bringing the National Campus Voter Registration Project and the CampusCares community service and engagement effort to institutions of higher education since the late 1990s. The deep commitment of America’s colleges and universities to foster good citizenship in tomorrow’s leaders has been matched by the energy and seriousness that this generation of college students brings to American civic life.

David L. Warren
President
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

Letters to the Editor
Christian Science Monitor

Re: "Who Speaks for Colleges Kids" editorial

To the Editor:

College students could very well play a key role in the upcoming primaries and general election (“Who Speaks for College Kids?,” editorial, Oct. 24, 2003). The views and issues that concern this ideologically diverse population warrant close watching by policymakers and candidates at all levels of government.

One of the most overlooked facts in American politics is that college students are more likely to register and vote than their non-college peers and the general population. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 87 percent of college students were registered to vote in 2000, and 78 percent voted in the last presidential election.

These statistics, and those from Harvard’s Institute of Politics, help to demythologize the stereotype of today’s college student as tuned out and politically unaware. Their attention has been significantly altered by dramatic events in recent years: the 9/11 attacks, the subsequent war on terrorism and in Iraq, the disputed presidential election, and furious protests against economic globalization. I have not seen college students this attuned to national and world events, and so active in their communities, since the 1960s.

According to recent polls, 85 percent of college students say they follow current events, 61 percent do volunteer work, and one in three participate in political rallies or demonstrations. More than 5 million college students gave an estimated 1.2 billion hours of community service in 2000.

My association has been active in bringing the National Campus Voter Registration Project and the CampusCares community service and engagement effort to institutions of higher education since the late 1990s. The deep commitment of America’s colleges and universities to foster good citizenship in tomorrow’s leaders has been matched by the energy and seriousness that this generation of college students brings to American civic life.

David L. Warren
President
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

October 27, 2003

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About the items posted on the NAICU site: News items, features, and opinion pieces posted on this site from sources outside NAICU do not necessarily reflect the position of the association or its members. Rather, this content reflects the diversity of issues and views that are shaping American higher education.

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