Earlier this week, the Associated Press reported that many elite colleges — specifically the Ivy League — are “relative steals for the lucky few who earn admission” due to large endowments and financial aid offerings, a claim that has drawn ire from at least one Ivy League student.
The Columbia Spectator published a column today from junior David Salazar, who goes after the AP and reporter Philip Elliott for incorrectly equating statistics and figures with reality, while calling Ivy League affordability “a trend that I’m convinced [Elliot] has invented.“
“As someone who has taken out federal and private loans to pay for Columbia, I will say, even though the excellent financial aid the school gives me is the reason I can attend in the first place, that doesn’t translate to little debt — at least not for me,” Salazar writes.
Salazar goes on to say that there are several factors that effect a student’s debt that potentially matter more than tuition price:
Another issue I have with Elliott’s “reporting” is that he doesn’t even mention the (perhaps too-obvious-to-mention) fact that averages encompass both extremes of the spectrum of borrowing. I mean, every single person on financial aid at Columbia could borrow $US12,500 for the average to be $US12,500.
But even Elliott’s faulty numbers aren’t as upsetting as his assumption that a school’s financial aid solves the problem of paying for school. Even when the financial aid office knocks the cost of attendance to, say, $US13,000, that’s still $US13,000 more than many families just have lying around (thank God for payment plans, I suppose). But Elliott’s figures, which rely on US News and World Report statistics, also don’t take into account the debt that parents amass to pay for their children’s education. Even if a student’s parents are borrowing $US12,000 a year, that could amount to $US48,000 of debt after four years, even if the student only had to borrow $US1,000 to fill in the difference.
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