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Letter to the Chronicle of Higher Education

Letter to the Chronicle of Higher Education

May 07, 2003

Letters to the Editor
Chronicle of Higher Education

To the Editor:

The Chronicle has gotten it wrong not once but twice regarding tuition (“Higher and Higher,” May 9).

First, contrary to the Chronicle’s report, the average rate of tuition increases at private colleges and universities is holding steady, not increasing. A recent NAICU survey finds that the average rate for 2003-04 is 5.8 percent, identical to the findings from our 2002-03 survey and the College Board’s figure that was published several months later. More than 250 institutions responded to our request for published tuition data, making it the most comprehensive summary of private college tuition trends currently available.

Secondly, private colleges have kept increases in their net tuition (students’ out-of-pocket tuition costs after grants and scholarships) under inflation over the last decade (17.3 percent vs. 18.7 percent, respectively), even while rises in tuition list price continue to outpace the Consumer Price Index.

The real tuition story this year is the remarkable, yet largely unheralded, ability of private colleges and universities to keep tuition increases in check, despite declining endowments, drops in fund raising, inadequate state and federal support for student aid, a spike in student financial need—and skyrocketing health, technology, and insurance costs.

The conclusion should be obvious; private colleges and universities are making great strides in controlling their costs, enhancing their efficiency, and giving students from all backgrounds a world-class academic experience at the lowest possible cost.

Low-income students who aspire for college risk being left behind unless the Bush administration and Congress immediately change course and significantly increase—not decrease or ignore—funding for the nation’s proven student aid programs.

It is a disservice to these low-income students and others when the media focus their attention solely on published tuition rates—rather than net tuition—and then compound the problem by misreporting the facts about these published rates.

 

Sincerely,

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

Letters to the Editor
Chronicle of Higher Education

To the Editor:

The Chronicle has gotten it wrong not once but twice regarding tuition (“Higher and Higher,” May 9).

First, contrary to the Chronicle’s report, the average rate of tuition increases at private colleges and universities is holding steady, not increasing. A recent NAICU survey finds that the average rate for 2003-04 is 5.8 percent, identical to the findings from our 2002-03 survey and the College Board’s figure that was published several months later. More than 250 institutions responded to our request for published tuition data, making it the most comprehensive summary of private college tuition trends currently available.

Secondly, private colleges have kept increases in their net tuition (students’ out-of-pocket tuition costs after grants and scholarships) under inflation over the last decade (17.3 percent vs. 18.7 percent, respectively), even while rises in tuition list price continue to outpace the Consumer Price Index.

The real tuition story this year is the remarkable, yet largely unheralded, ability of private colleges and universities to keep tuition increases in check, despite declining endowments, drops in fund raising, inadequate state and federal support for student aid, a spike in student financial need—and skyrocketing health, technology, and insurance costs.

The conclusion should be obvious; private colleges and universities are making great strides in controlling their costs, enhancing their efficiency, and giving students from all backgrounds a world-class academic experience at the lowest possible cost.

Low-income students who aspire for college risk being left behind unless the Bush administration and Congress immediately change course and significantly increase—not decrease or ignore—funding for the nation’s proven student aid programs.

It is a disservice to these low-income students and others when the media focus their attention solely on published tuition rates—rather than net tuition—and then compound the problem by misreporting the facts about these published rates.

 

Sincerely,

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

May 07, 2003

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Letter to Business Week

Letter to Business Week

April 23, 2003

Letters to the Editor
Business Week

To the Editor:

To suggest that private colleges are in crisis is an exercise in journalistic hyperbole (“Colleges in Crisis,” April 28). Presidents and chief business officers at virtually every private college and university can tell a compelling story of the financial challenges they face in today’s declining economy, with the coming wave of low-income and minority students, and how their institutions have worked effectively to lower costs and improve operating efficiencies.

Since the last economic downturn a decade ago, private colleges and universities have redoubled their efforts to balance academic quality with student access and cost containment. The challenges facing higher education today require college leaders who are entrepreneurial, creative, and expert managers. During the early and mid ’90s, private institutions followed the example of corporate America, slicing off administrative fat and learning how to do more with less. To further control expenses, hundreds of private colleges and universities have deepened their involvement in cost-saving academic and administrative consortia, and outsourced more of their campus operations, including information technology and residential living.

As a result, private colleges and universities have kept annual tuition increases to about 5 percent in the past seven years, less than half the double-digit rates common during the last recession. And their enrollments continue to grow—the U.S. Department of Education projects that enrollment at private colleges will increase an average of 1.7 percent annually for the next 10 years. Yet they’re still providing the world’s best academic experience and an unparalleled commitment to educating all academically qualified students, regardless of background.

The commitment of private college and university presidents to cost containment and prudent management is meeting head-on the financial challenges facing American higher education. The idea that these institutions are in crisis fails to grasp their innovation, flexibility, and endurance.

Sincerely,

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

Letters to the Editor
Business Week

To the Editor:

To suggest that private colleges are in crisis is an exercise in journalistic hyperbole (“Colleges in Crisis,” April 28). Presidents and chief business officers at virtually every private college and university can tell a compelling story of the financial challenges they face in today’s declining economy, with the coming wave of low-income and minority students, and how their institutions have worked effectively to lower costs and improve operating efficiencies.

Since the last economic downturn a decade ago, private colleges and universities have redoubled their efforts to balance academic quality with student access and cost containment. The challenges facing higher education today require college leaders who are entrepreneurial, creative, and expert managers. During the early and mid ’90s, private institutions followed the example of corporate America, slicing off administrative fat and learning how to do more with less. To further control expenses, hundreds of private colleges and universities have deepened their involvement in cost-saving academic and administrative consortia, and outsourced more of their campus operations, including information technology and residential living.

As a result, private colleges and universities have kept annual tuition increases to about 5 percent in the past seven years, less than half the double-digit rates common during the last recession. And their enrollments continue to grow—the U.S. Department of Education projects that enrollment at private colleges will increase an average of 1.7 percent annually for the next 10 years. Yet they’re still providing the world’s best academic experience and an unparalleled commitment to educating all academically qualified students, regardless of background.

The commitment of private college and university presidents to cost containment and prudent management is meeting head-on the financial challenges facing American higher education. The idea that these institutions are in crisis fails to grasp their innovation, flexibility, and endurance.

Sincerely,

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

April 23, 2003

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X

Chronicle of Higher Education Op-ed

Chronicle of Higher Education Op-ed

July 19, 2002

A Partnership Approach Could Improve Student Aid

By William C. Nelsen, Kristen D. Conklin, and Sarah A. Flanagan

Last month, the Congressionally established Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance released a follow-up report to last year's "Access Denied" that documents in even greater detail the barriers that inadequate student aid poses for hard-working and talented young people who want to enter and complete college. "Unmet need," the gap between the cost of attending college and all the resources a student has available (including family money, grants, and scholarships), is the emerging policy question of the forthcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

This year alone, as the advisory committee's report demonstrates, record-high financial barriers will prevent more than 400,000 high-school graduates who are qualified to enter four-year institutions from attending those institutions -- and 170,000 students won't attend any college at all. Over the next decade, unmet need -- which averages between $3,200 and $6,200 per student -- could keep millions more qualified low-income students out of college.

Beyond the obvious waste in human capital, such an outcome would have a devastating effect on the U.S. economy. According to the Inter-American Development Bank, each additional year of average education in a nation increases its economic output by from 5 percent to as much as 20 percent. Moreover, Anthony P. Carnevale, vice president for education and careers at the Educational Testing Service, estimates that the United States will need 12 million more people with some postsecondary education over the next 20 years to perform increasingly complex and technical jobs. To meet the demand, everyone with talent and drive should have the education that he or she deserves.

Already, the federal and state governments, higher-education institutions, and the private sector give billions of dollars of grant aid to students each year. But to make college affordable for all people, regardless of their economic circumstances, all four sectors must work together more effectively. Instead, they often work at cross-purposes -- devising a federal solution, a state solution, or a private-sector solution, without first considering the consequences for the other sectors, and, more important, the consequences for students. As a result, the available financial aid is distributed inefficiently, the impact on students and families is uneven, and too many students who most need aid are left out of the picture.

At the federal level, the government's commitment to need-based aid has grown significantly since the mid-1990s. The Pell Grant maximum award, for example, has increased 74 percent since 1995, allowing the grant to recoup some of the value that it lost over two decades of decline, after adjusting for inflation. Meanwhile, however, the federal government has operated under a practice of suspicion, not partnership, with other aid providers.

The most egregious example is the Department of Education's regulations governing the GEAR UP program of scholarships for disadvantaged students. For years, students received their first dollar of support from the federal government, empowering them with the financial resources to pursue the college of their choice. Under the GEAR UP rules that the Department of Education put forward in 2000, however, scholarships are awarded only after all other aid, private and public, is given -- a "last dollar" approach. Such inflexible rules have discouraged institutions from participating in the program and made GEAR UP students ineligible for hundreds of scholarship programs. Fortunately, the Bush administration seems likely to remove the rule by the end of the year.

State financial-aid policies have also unintentionally limited access for needy students. A decade ago, when state revenues were increasing and the college-age population was decreasing, many states made commitments to merit-aid programs and tuition freezes at public colleges. Both policies ended up directing public subsidies toward upper-income students and families. Data separately analyzed by Donald E. Heller, a senior research associate at the Center for the Study of Higher Education at Pennsylvania State University, and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators show that upper-middle-income and upper-income students are overrepresented across state merit-based scholarship programs. Now, as state tax revenues dry up and the college-age population booms, not enough money is available to expand important need-based programs.

States need to conduct comprehensive reviews of their limited higher-education expenditures to ensure that their scarce resources are being used as efficiently as possible to promote access. Reasonable amounts of merit aid and tuition subsidies are a good way to recognize hard work and to moderate price increases. But in tight fiscal times, excessive assistance to upper-income families may deplete funds from the need-based programs that make a difference in whether a low-income, but talented, student can attend college at all.

Private charities contribute to the patchwork approach to financial aid with their specific scholarship rules. Those rules sometimes also overemphasize merit-based scholarships -- giving too much money to the brightest students, while the neediest fall desperately short of funds. Some private scholarship providers also play the last-dollar scholarship game, and are inflexible, seeking to grant scholarships late in the process and only after every other possible player has stepped forward. Others may seek to grab headlines by providing large merit grants to just one or two students. Merit grants can be an effective way to encourage and reward achievement, but they do not need to be $15,000 or more to accomplish that goal.

Colleges have also added to the problem. By failing to negotiate with scholarship providers on how to treat outside money when packaging student aid, they have discouraged some private-aid providers from raising new money. Many higher-education institutions are justified in using their own aid dollars to make sure they have classes of students that are diverse and seats that are full. But when they are inflexible or fail to communicate how their policies work, they create mistrust.

The Collegiate Partners program of the Citizens' Scholarship Foundation of America, where one of us serves as president, is one successful example of the opposite approach. Under that program, financial-aid officers and the CSFA work as partners to form agreements, updated annually, on the treatment of private scholarships in financial-aid packages in ways that are positive for both the students and the institutions.

Our disjointed, nonproductive approach to helping more needy students go to college must stop. The different types of financial-aid providers must work together to improve college access. Several concrete steps can, and should, be taken to:

Promote cross-sector research and dialogue. We must encourage regular discussions among our different sectors about how to create the most effective student-aid packages possible. Our central goal must be to reduce unmet need for all qualified students and their families.

Focus on policy coordination, not uniformity. Financial-aid policies will continue to serve multiple purposes, and we should welcome all forms of scholarship aid. However, we can coordinate our policies to focus our resources and avoid wasteful overlaps in how we serve students. Better communication and analyses of the impact of aid from all four sources on students' unmet financial need will help us package our policies and programs more efficiently.

Make the most of financial-aid resources through partnerships. Private foundations and individual donors frequently tell students to get their federal and institutional aid first and then come back if they still don't have enough money for college. That approach allows donors to stretch their own dollars and know the precise impact of each contribution. But only one person or entity can provide the last dollar. And if no one is willing to give the first dollar, the total pool of scholarship money will shrink. Negotiating partnership approaches rather than playing the last-dollar game will be more productive for everyone.

Follow the financial-aid office's lead. All sectors need to appreciate the important role of the financial-aid offices on our campuses. Those professionals are ultimately closest to individual students; they should be given as much authority and flexibility as appropriate to assemble the final aid packages.

Provide improved information. Families are confused about how and where to get financial aid. Those of us in the four sectors must combine our talents and communications networks to improve outreach to families. We should help students plan for college as early as possible and demystify the financial-aid process.

Develop a coordinated advocacy effort. The supporters of need-based assistance spend far too much time battling each other, and too little time promoting legislation for financial and other support for needy students in Congress and statehouses. The Washington-based Student Aid Alliance, a coalition of more than 60 national higher-education groups representing colleges, students, parents, scholarship providers, and others, is an excellent example of how diverse groups can come together to create a uniform, positive, and effective message about the importance of need-based assistance. Advocates, philanthropists, researchers, and political leaders who are committed to college access should work in concert and not in competition with one another.

As the number of needy, college-ready students soars, we must meet the challenge head-on. If we can turn our lack of trust into a strong and active partnership, the future of postsecondary opportunities for all America's students will be much brighter.

William C. Nelsen is president of the Citizens' Scholarship Foundation of America. Kristin D. Conklin is a senior policy analyst for the National Governors Association. Sarah A. Flanagan is vice president for government relations and policy development for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

 

A Partnership Approach Could Improve Student Aid

By William C. Nelsen, Kristen D. Conklin, and Sarah A. Flanagan

Last month, the Congressionally established Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance released a follow-up report to last year's "Access Denied" that documents in even greater detail the barriers that inadequate student aid poses for hard-working and talented young people who want to enter and complete college. "Unmet need," the gap between the cost of attending college and all the resources a student has available (including family money, grants, and scholarships), is the emerging policy question of the forthcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

This year alone, as the advisory committee's report demonstrates, record-high financial barriers will prevent more than 400,000 high-school graduates who are qualified to enter four-year institutions from attending those institutions -- and 170,000 students won't attend any college at all. Over the next decade, unmet need -- which averages between $3,200 and $6,200 per student -- could keep millions more qualified low-income students out of college.

Beyond the obvious waste in human capital, such an outcome would have a devastating effect on the U.S. economy. According to the Inter-American Development Bank, each additional year of average education in a nation increases its economic output by from 5 percent to as much as 20 percent. Moreover, Anthony P. Carnevale, vice president for education and careers at the Educational Testing Service, estimates that the United States will need 12 million more people with some postsecondary education over the next 20 years to perform increasingly complex and technical jobs. To meet the demand, everyone with talent and drive should have the education that he or she deserves.

Already, the federal and state governments, higher-education institutions, and the private sector give billions of dollars of grant aid to students each year. But to make college affordable for all people, regardless of their economic circumstances, all four sectors must work together more effectively. Instead, they often work at cross-purposes -- devising a federal solution, a state solution, or a private-sector solution, without first considering the consequences for the other sectors, and, more important, the consequences for students. As a result, the available financial aid is distributed inefficiently, the impact on students and families is uneven, and too many students who most need aid are left out of the picture.

At the federal level, the government's commitment to need-based aid has grown significantly since the mid-1990s. The Pell Grant maximum award, for example, has increased 74 percent since 1995, allowing the grant to recoup some of the value that it lost over two decades of decline, after adjusting for inflation. Meanwhile, however, the federal government has operated under a practice of suspicion, not partnership, with other aid providers.

The most egregious example is the Department of Education's regulations governing the GEAR UP program of scholarships for disadvantaged students. For years, students received their first dollar of support from the federal government, empowering them with the financial resources to pursue the college of their choice. Under the GEAR UP rules that the Department of Education put forward in 2000, however, scholarships are awarded only after all other aid, private and public, is given -- a "last dollar" approach. Such inflexible rules have discouraged institutions from participating in the program and made GEAR UP students ineligible for hundreds of scholarship programs. Fortunately, the Bush administration seems likely to remove the rule by the end of the year.

State financial-aid policies have also unintentionally limited access for needy students. A decade ago, when state revenues were increasing and the college-age population was decreasing, many states made commitments to merit-aid programs and tuition freezes at public colleges. Both policies ended up directing public subsidies toward upper-income students and families. Data separately analyzed by Donald E. Heller, a senior research associate at the Center for the Study of Higher Education at Pennsylvania State University, and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators show that upper-middle-income and upper-income students are overrepresented across state merit-based scholarship programs. Now, as state tax revenues dry up and the college-age population booms, not enough money is available to expand important need-based programs.

States need to conduct comprehensive reviews of their limited higher-education expenditures to ensure that their scarce resources are being used as efficiently as possible to promote access. Reasonable amounts of merit aid and tuition subsidies are a good way to recognize hard work and to moderate price increases. But in tight fiscal times, excessive assistance to upper-income families may deplete funds from the need-based programs that make a difference in whether a low-income, but talented, student can attend college at all.

Private charities contribute to the patchwork approach to financial aid with their specific scholarship rules. Those rules sometimes also overemphasize merit-based scholarships -- giving too much money to the brightest students, while the neediest fall desperately short of funds. Some private scholarship providers also play the last-dollar scholarship game, and are inflexible, seeking to grant scholarships late in the process and only after every other possible player has stepped forward. Others may seek to grab headlines by providing large merit grants to just one or two students. Merit grants can be an effective way to encourage and reward achievement, but they do not need to be $15,000 or more to accomplish that goal.

Colleges have also added to the problem. By failing to negotiate with scholarship providers on how to treat outside money when packaging student aid, they have discouraged some private-aid providers from raising new money. Many higher-education institutions are justified in using their own aid dollars to make sure they have classes of students that are diverse and seats that are full. But when they are inflexible or fail to communicate how their policies work, they create mistrust.

The Collegiate Partners program of the Citizens' Scholarship Foundation of America, where one of us serves as president, is one successful example of the opposite approach. Under that program, financial-aid officers and the CSFA work as partners to form agreements, updated annually, on the treatment of private scholarships in financial-aid packages in ways that are positive for both the students and the institutions.

Our disjointed, nonproductive approach to helping more needy students go to college must stop. The different types of financial-aid providers must work together to improve college access. Several concrete steps can, and should, be taken to:

Promote cross-sector research and dialogue. We must encourage regular discussions among our different sectors about how to create the most effective student-aid packages possible. Our central goal must be to reduce unmet need for all qualified students and their families.

Focus on policy coordination, not uniformity. Financial-aid policies will continue to serve multiple purposes, and we should welcome all forms of scholarship aid. However, we can coordinate our policies to focus our resources and avoid wasteful overlaps in how we serve students. Better communication and analyses of the impact of aid from all four sources on students' unmet financial need will help us package our policies and programs more efficiently.

Make the most of financial-aid resources through partnerships. Private foundations and individual donors frequently tell students to get their federal and institutional aid first and then come back if they still don't have enough money for college. That approach allows donors to stretch their own dollars and know the precise impact of each contribution. But only one person or entity can provide the last dollar. And if no one is willing to give the first dollar, the total pool of scholarship money will shrink. Negotiating partnership approaches rather than playing the last-dollar game will be more productive for everyone.

Follow the financial-aid office's lead. All sectors need to appreciate the important role of the financial-aid offices on our campuses. Those professionals are ultimately closest to individual students; they should be given as much authority and flexibility as appropriate to assemble the final aid packages.

Provide improved information. Families are confused about how and where to get financial aid. Those of us in the four sectors must combine our talents and communications networks to improve outreach to families. We should help students plan for college as early as possible and demystify the financial-aid process.

Develop a coordinated advocacy effort. The supporters of need-based assistance spend far too much time battling each other, and too little time promoting legislation for financial and other support for needy students in Congress and statehouses. The Washington-based Student Aid Alliance, a coalition of more than 60 national higher-education groups representing colleges, students, parents, scholarship providers, and others, is an excellent example of how diverse groups can come together to create a uniform, positive, and effective message about the importance of need-based assistance. Advocates, philanthropists, researchers, and political leaders who are committed to college access should work in concert and not in competition with one another.

As the number of needy, college-ready students soars, we must meet the challenge head-on. If we can turn our lack of trust into a strong and active partnership, the future of postsecondary opportunities for all America's students will be much brighter.

William C. Nelsen is president of the Citizens' Scholarship Foundation of America. Kristin D. Conklin is a senior policy analyst for the National Governors Association. Sarah A. Flanagan is vice president for government relations and policy development for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

 

July 19, 2002

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Letter to the New York Times

Letter to the New York Times

May 07, 2002

Letters to the Editor
The New York Times
229 W. 43rd St.
New York, NY 10036

To the Editor:

The Times needs to drop out of the coverage of trends in private higher education ("More Small Colleges Dropping Out," May 7), if it can’t provide forthright and fair reporting. The Times failed to include fundamental data and compelling examples of the institutional vitality of the nation’s 1,600 private colleges and universities (about which we gave reporter Yilu Zhao information several times during her reporting). Your story focused only on a few fallen trees, and missed entirely the growing forest of independent higher education.

For instance, the Times chose not to mention that for nearly 30 years the private sector’s share of higher education has held steady at around 20 percent. Furthermore, according to Education Department data, the number of students attending liberal arts colleges has increased by 50 percent during that period, while the number of students attending all four-year institutions has grown by 30 percent.

Your report also ignored Education Department projections that over the next 10 years, full-time enrollment at private colleges will increase at an average rate of 1.7 percent per year. This is the same rate of growth expected at public institutions, and a higher rate than the 1.4 percent annual increase at private colleges over the past decade.

Also missed was that since 1995 at least 14 private colleges and universities have announced plans to open. Since 2000, this includes three four-year liberal arts colleges in Atlanta, southern California, and Washington, D.C., and a four-year undergraduate engineering school in Boston. Since 1995, the private sector has experienced the de minimus net loss of about 1 percent of our 1,600 institutions. This is hardly a crisis in the making.

In each of the past five decades, prognosticators have predicted the imminent demise of private colleges and universities, for many of the same reasons given today: new competitors, evolving technology, changing student preferences, and economic recession. The tiny handful of institutions that could not adapt have closed or merged. However, the nation is dotted from coast to coast with hundreds of success stories: private colleges that have responded to shifting market forces and economic challenges—by refocusing their missions, developing new market niches, and enhancing operating efficiency—and have gone on to prosper. Through flexible and entrepreneurial leadership, the vast majority of America’s private institutions will continue to thrive well into the 21st century.

Sincerely,

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

Letters to the Editor
The New York Times
229 W. 43rd St.
New York, NY 10036

To the Editor:

The Times needs to drop out of the coverage of trends in private higher education ("More Small Colleges Dropping Out," May 7), if it can’t provide forthright and fair reporting. The Times failed to include fundamental data and compelling examples of the institutional vitality of the nation’s 1,600 private colleges and universities (about which we gave reporter Yilu Zhao information several times during her reporting). Your story focused only on a few fallen trees, and missed entirely the growing forest of independent higher education.

For instance, the Times chose not to mention that for nearly 30 years the private sector’s share of higher education has held steady at around 20 percent. Furthermore, according to Education Department data, the number of students attending liberal arts colleges has increased by 50 percent during that period, while the number of students attending all four-year institutions has grown by 30 percent.

Your report also ignored Education Department projections that over the next 10 years, full-time enrollment at private colleges will increase at an average rate of 1.7 percent per year. This is the same rate of growth expected at public institutions, and a higher rate than the 1.4 percent annual increase at private colleges over the past decade.

Also missed was that since 1995 at least 14 private colleges and universities have announced plans to open. Since 2000, this includes three four-year liberal arts colleges in Atlanta, southern California, and Washington, D.C., and a four-year undergraduate engineering school in Boston. Since 1995, the private sector has experienced the de minimus net loss of about 1 percent of our 1,600 institutions. This is hardly a crisis in the making.

In each of the past five decades, prognosticators have predicted the imminent demise of private colleges and universities, for many of the same reasons given today: new competitors, evolving technology, changing student preferences, and economic recession. The tiny handful of institutions that could not adapt have closed or merged. However, the nation is dotted from coast to coast with hundreds of success stories: private colleges that have responded to shifting market forces and economic challenges—by refocusing their missions, developing new market niches, and enhancing operating efficiency—and have gone on to prosper. Through flexible and entrepreneurial leadership, the vast majority of America’s private institutions will continue to thrive well into the 21st century.

Sincerely,

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

May 07, 2002

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Letter to the New York Times

Letter to the New York Times

March 28, 2002

Letters to the Editor
The New York Times
229 W. 43rd St.
New York, NY 10036

To the Editor:

It is fundamental to America’s economic and national security that all qualified students, regardless of their family background, have the opportunity to earn a college degree (“Pricing the Poor Out of College,” March 27). In the next 10 years, undergraduate enrollment will increase by more than 14 percent. Eighty percent of these new students will come from minority backgrounds, and 20 percent will be from families living below the poverty level. This is no time for the Bush administration’s FY 2003 budget to axe the entire budget of one of the most important financial aid programs for needy students (Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnerships), and freeze funding increases for other key student aid programs, including Pell Grants, Perkins Loans, and Federal Work-Study.

Despite a 76 percent increase in the maximum Pell Grant since 1995, federal policymakers need to do more to ensure that our neediest students can realize the dream of a college degree. Private colleges and universities now provide more than four times as much in grant aid to their students than is provided by the federal government--a far cry from two decades ago, when the amounts were almost equal.

Private institutions believe in access and affordability, and they act on it. Our colleges have made significant advances in opening the doors of higher education to students from all backgrounds. Twenty-four percent of students at private colleges and universities are racial and ethnic minorities, and 28 percent are the first in their family to attend college. Today, because of their commitment to need-based aid and individualized attention, private institutions enroll virtually the same percentage of minority students as their public sector counterparts (24 percent vs. 25 percent, respectively), and almost the same percentage of undergraduates with family incomes below $25,000 (27 percent vs. 31 percent, respectively). Private colleges also graduate these students at nearly twice the rate as public colleges do.

We will continue to be steadfast in our commitment to equal educational opportunity for all students. However, without a significant new investment in student aid by federal and state policymakers, the ability of private and public college leaders to provide a quality education that is accessible and affordable to the nation’s neediest students will be severely tested.

Sincerely,

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

Letters to the Editor
The New York Times
229 W. 43rd St.
New York, NY 10036

To the Editor:

It is fundamental to America’s economic and national security that all qualified students, regardless of their family background, have the opportunity to earn a college degree (“Pricing the Poor Out of College,” March 27). In the next 10 years, undergraduate enrollment will increase by more than 14 percent. Eighty percent of these new students will come from minority backgrounds, and 20 percent will be from families living below the poverty level. This is no time for the Bush administration’s FY 2003 budget to axe the entire budget of one of the most important financial aid programs for needy students (Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnerships), and freeze funding increases for other key student aid programs, including Pell Grants, Perkins Loans, and Federal Work-Study.

Despite a 76 percent increase in the maximum Pell Grant since 1995, federal policymakers need to do more to ensure that our neediest students can realize the dream of a college degree. Private colleges and universities now provide more than four times as much in grant aid to their students than is provided by the federal government--a far cry from two decades ago, when the amounts were almost equal.

Private institutions believe in access and affordability, and they act on it. Our colleges have made significant advances in opening the doors of higher education to students from all backgrounds. Twenty-four percent of students at private colleges and universities are racial and ethnic minorities, and 28 percent are the first in their family to attend college. Today, because of their commitment to need-based aid and individualized attention, private institutions enroll virtually the same percentage of minority students as their public sector counterparts (24 percent vs. 25 percent, respectively), and almost the same percentage of undergraduates with family incomes below $25,000 (27 percent vs. 31 percent, respectively). Private colleges also graduate these students at nearly twice the rate as public colleges do.

We will continue to be steadfast in our commitment to equal educational opportunity for all students. However, without a significant new investment in student aid by federal and state policymakers, the ability of private and public college leaders to provide a quality education that is accessible and affordable to the nation’s neediest students will be severely tested.

Sincerely,

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

March 28, 2002

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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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