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Letter to the New York Times

Letter to the New York Times

December 20, 2006

Letters to the Editor

Re: "Public Universities Chase Excellence, at a Price," Dec. 20

To the Editor:

A major consequence of the skyrocketing enrollment of high-income students at public universities ("Public Universities Chase Excellence, at a Price," Dec. 20) is that private institutions are increasingly the educator of first choice for needy students.

In four of 12 states recently surveyed by the U.S. Department of Education -- Connecticut, Nebraska, Tennessee, and Indiana -- median family income was lower for students attending four-year private colleges and universities than for their peers at four-year flagship public institutions. This is a statistic unimaginable 10 years ago.

Nationwide, according to the Education Department, private colleges enroll virtually the same percentage of students with family incomes below $50,000 as public universities. We also educate higher percentages of minority students, and students with characteristics that put them at greatest risk of not graduating.

Far from being bastions of privilege, private colleges and universities are serving students from all backgrounds and the public good.

Sincerely, 

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

 

Letters to the Editor

Re: "Public Universities Chase Excellence, at a Price," Dec. 20

To the Editor:

A major consequence of the skyrocketing enrollment of high-income students at public universities ("Public Universities Chase Excellence, at a Price," Dec. 20) is that private institutions are increasingly the educator of first choice for needy students.

In four of 12 states recently surveyed by the U.S. Department of Education -- Connecticut, Nebraska, Tennessee, and Indiana -- median family income was lower for students attending four-year private colleges and universities than for their peers at four-year flagship public institutions. This is a statistic unimaginable 10 years ago.

Nationwide, according to the Education Department, private colleges enroll virtually the same percentage of students with family incomes below $50,000 as public universities. We also educate higher percentages of minority students, and students with characteristics that put them at greatest risk of not graduating.

Far from being bastions of privilege, private colleges and universities are serving students from all backgrounds and the public good.

Sincerely, 

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

 

December 20, 2006

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Letter Printed in the Des Moines Register

Letter Printed in the Des Moines Register

December 09, 2006

Letters to the Editor

Re: "Higher ed faces bigger woes than president search," Nov. 25 (Higher education's nonprofit status)

Wick Sloane ("Higher ed faces bigger woes than president search," Nov. 25) misses that higher education's nonprofit tax status benefits students and the public good. It allows donors to claim a federal tax exemption for gifts given to higher education, many of which go to scholarships for needy students.

Philanthropic giving, endowments and other non-tuition revenue allow private colleges and universities to subsidize one-third of the total cost of providing an education, even before institutional aid is considered.

Without their nonprofit status, independent institutions could no longer provide the large grants, small classes and quality education that make a private college the right choice for millions.

Our students receive nearly five times more grant aid from their colleges than from federal sources. We enroll the same percentage of needy and minority students as public four-year universities, but graduate them at a far higher rate.

Private colleges employ nearly a million people, and have a cumulative impact of more than $340 billion on their local economies. Our institutions instill community service in students and serve as centers of cultural and social life in their neighborhoods. Without the federal tax exemption, this would be lost.

Sincerely, 

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

 

Letters to the Editor

Re: "Higher ed faces bigger woes than president search," Nov. 25 (Higher education's nonprofit status)

Wick Sloane ("Higher ed faces bigger woes than president search," Nov. 25) misses that higher education's nonprofit tax status benefits students and the public good. It allows donors to claim a federal tax exemption for gifts given to higher education, many of which go to scholarships for needy students.

Philanthropic giving, endowments and other non-tuition revenue allow private colleges and universities to subsidize one-third of the total cost of providing an education, even before institutional aid is considered.

Without their nonprofit status, independent institutions could no longer provide the large grants, small classes and quality education that make a private college the right choice for millions.

Our students receive nearly five times more grant aid from their colleges than from federal sources. We enroll the same percentage of needy and minority students as public four-year universities, but graduate them at a far higher rate.

Private colleges employ nearly a million people, and have a cumulative impact of more than $340 billion on their local economies. Our institutions instill community service in students and serve as centers of cultural and social life in their neighborhoods. Without the federal tax exemption, this would be lost.

Sincerely, 

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

 

December 09, 2006

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USA Today opposing view

USA Today opposing view

October 17, 2006

October 17, 2006

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Letter to the Boston Globe

Letter to the Boston Globe

September 14, 2006

Letters to the Editor
The Boston Globe

Re: Editorial, "Harvard's fairness lesson," September 13

(Letter as printed in the Boston Globe September 18)

To the Editor:

The Globe can do its part to address public cynicism about higher education by giving its readers all the facts on college affordability (“Harvard's fairness lesson,” editorial, September 13).

The average list price for tuition and fees at private institutions this year is $21,235, but the average net price is roughly half that – $11,600, when grants and tax benefits are factored in.  In fact, over the past decade, grant aid increased 158 percent while tuition rose 74 percent. And students at private colleges and universities graduate with a federal loan debt surprisingly similar to their peers at public institutions.

All of this means that our students are as likely to come from low-income or working families, and from racial or ethnic minorities, as are students at four-year public universities.  Furthermore, they are twice as likely to graduate in four years.

Much of the aid that makes this possible comes from the private colleges themselves.  Today, these students receive over four times more grant aid from their institutions than from the federal government, compared to a virtually one-to-one ratio in 1984.  Meanwhile, Congress is on course to keep the maximum Pell Grant, which supports the neediest students, flat funded for the fifth consecutive year.  This is not the way to make higher education affordable for America’s working families.

Private colleges are reexamining early admissions, middle- and high-school outreach programs, and their student aid policies in tackling the challenges of shifting student demographics, growing need, and stagnant federal financial aid levels.  Colleges are rightly a part of the solution – but they can't do it alone.  For over 40 years, federal financial aid has made college possible for tens of millions of Americans from all backgrounds.  Congress must keep its commitment to needy students.  Their future, and the prosperity and security of the nation depend on it.

Sincerely,

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

 

Letters to the Editor
The Boston Globe

Re: Editorial, "Harvard's fairness lesson," September 13

(Letter as printed in the Boston Globe September 18)

To the Editor:

The Globe can do its part to address public cynicism about higher education by giving its readers all the facts on college affordability (“Harvard's fairness lesson,” editorial, September 13).

The average list price for tuition and fees at private institutions this year is $21,235, but the average net price is roughly half that – $11,600, when grants and tax benefits are factored in.  In fact, over the past decade, grant aid increased 158 percent while tuition rose 74 percent. And students at private colleges and universities graduate with a federal loan debt surprisingly similar to their peers at public institutions.

All of this means that our students are as likely to come from low-income or working families, and from racial or ethnic minorities, as are students at four-year public universities.  Furthermore, they are twice as likely to graduate in four years.

Much of the aid that makes this possible comes from the private colleges themselves.  Today, these students receive over four times more grant aid from their institutions than from the federal government, compared to a virtually one-to-one ratio in 1984.  Meanwhile, Congress is on course to keep the maximum Pell Grant, which supports the neediest students, flat funded for the fifth consecutive year.  This is not the way to make higher education affordable for America’s working families.

Private colleges are reexamining early admissions, middle- and high-school outreach programs, and their student aid policies in tackling the challenges of shifting student demographics, growing need, and stagnant federal financial aid levels.  Colleges are rightly a part of the solution – but they can't do it alone.  For over 40 years, federal financial aid has made college possible for tens of millions of Americans from all backgrounds.  Congress must keep its commitment to needy students.  Their future, and the prosperity and security of the nation depend on it.

Sincerely,

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

 

September 14, 2006

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Letter to the Gainesville Sun

Letter to the Gainesville Sun

July 14, 2006

Letters to the Editor
Gainesville Sun

To the Editor: 

Thank you for drawing attention to the major issue of a possible national database of college students' records in your article, "Commission proposes federal tracking of students,"published on July 12.

As noted in the article, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities(NAICU) is vigorously opposed to such a national database.

Our most significant concern about it is its threat to student privacy. For well over 30 years,the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act has protected sensitive student records frompublic scrutiny. With very narrow and limited exceptions within educational institutions, student-specific confidential data can be released only with the written approval of thestudent. This proposal would take control away from the student and give it to the federalgovernment.

We don't believe that simply enrolling in college should trigger permanent entry into a federal registry. As you reported, the rationale for this major compromise of individual students' ight to privacy is that it would provide greater understanding of college graduation andretention rates nationally.

Accountability to our stakeholders is important to NAICU institutions. Overall, private colleges have the highest graduation rates in the country – rates that would be reported aseven higher under a unit record data system. However, we just don't see that making institutions look better is a sufficient reason to sacrifice student privacy.

Letters to the Editor
Gainesville Sun

To the Editor: 

Thank you for drawing attention to the major issue of a possible national database of college students' records in your article, "Commission proposes federal tracking of students,"published on July 12.

As noted in the article, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities(NAICU) is vigorously opposed to such a national database.

Our most significant concern about it is its threat to student privacy. For well over 30 years,the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act has protected sensitive student records frompublic scrutiny. With very narrow and limited exceptions within educational institutions, student-specific confidential data can be released only with the written approval of thestudent. This proposal would take control away from the student and give it to the federalgovernment.

We don't believe that simply enrolling in college should trigger permanent entry into a federal registry. As you reported, the rationale for this major compromise of individual students' ight to privacy is that it would provide greater understanding of college graduation andretention rates nationally.

Accountability to our stakeholders is important to NAICU institutions. Overall, private colleges have the highest graduation rates in the country – rates that would be reported aseven higher under a unit record data system. However, we just don't see that making institutions look better is a sufficient reason to sacrifice student privacy.

July 14, 2006

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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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