Friday, February 1, 2008

Can anyone tell me how this paragraph makes sense?

Over the past 18 years, spending on financial aid at Notre Dame has risen from $55 million to $72 million, a 13 percent increase. Meanwhile, tuition over the same period has only increased about five to six percent, said Joe Russo, director of student financial strategies.

Is this a typo by news writer Kate McClelland? Or did Russo lie to her and she just believed him like some kind of airheaded TIME maazine writer. Either way, this is shoddy journalism because we know that a) $55 million to $72 million is a 31% increase and b) tuition (or at least total cost of attendance) increases by about 5 to 6 percent per annum.

We also know that ND is sucking when it comes to financial aid. $72 million? That's it? That's $9000 per undergraduate. When you have $812500 per undergraduate in endowment(okay, the article states that 1 to 1.5 billion of the endowment is dedicated to financial aid, so lowballing it we get $125000 per undergraduate) more needs to be done. It's embarassing frankly.

The Observer cites Harvard, Yale, Duke and Pennsylvania as schools with newly installed financial aid programs that make college more affordable for middle and lower class students. Yesterday, Cornell and Northwestern joined that list as well. Ready for the catch? ND has more money than Duke and Cornell, and about the same as Pennsylvania and Northwestern (it has more endowment per student than either Penn or NW).

So please, Joe Russo, explain again why "We haven't communicated information about our financial aid program publicly but to those who ask--students, parents, alumni--we can reassure them that we are making things happen." The only thing that's happening is the Dome gets reguilded more often than it needs to.

Our endowment growth rate over the last 20 years is exceeded only by the University of Michigan and Duke. That's impressive, but not if our zealous saving for the future is sacrifing the quality of our current University.

Note: I would link this article but the Oberver's website is not working.


Brandon said...

It's good to see that an slum and a current student wrote to the Observer today expressing the same concerns that I have. Unfortunately the Observer didn't even issue an apology from the editor.

Anonymous said...

For more information see the correction in today's observer, page 2. Essentially, they got every number wrong in that article. An excellent example of the stellar reporting the Observer does, when it decides to its own work. Hopefully, the AP will do a report soon concerning this very issue.