Columbia To Make Poor Kids Richer

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This morning you recieved an email from PrezBo in your overflowing cubmail box. Read it! It’s news!

Columbia has decided to reform its financial aid policy to benefit students whose combined family income is less than $50,000. Now Columbia will just give these students money instead of loaning it to them. Also a good time to announce a $47.5 million gift kicking off the mother of all capital campaigns.

Spec’s on the story, too.

Full email from Bollinger after the jump …

Dear fellow Columbian,

I am very pleased to announce two important developments at

Columbia. One is an extraordinary gift from University Trustee

Gerry Lenfest (LAW ’58) that will endow faculty chairs in the Arts

and Sciences and the Law School.  The other is the elimination of

loans, beginning in the 2007-08 academic year, for undergraduates

from families earning less than $50,000 a year, in Columbia College

and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Gerry Lenfest’s $47.5 Million Gift for Endowed Chairs

A Trustee and longtime friend of the University, Gerry Lenfest has

pledged $48.5 million dollars—$37.5 million to endow faculty chairs

in the Arts and Sciences and $10 million to endow chairs at the Law

School. The gift provides a one-to-one match that allows other

donors to establish endowed professorships in the Arts and Sciences

and the Law School with gifts of $1.5 million. This very generous

gift affords Columbia a vital tool, in the form of endowed

professorships—which are among the highest academic honors a

university can bestow—for retaining our best faculty and attracting

other talented scholars.

With this gift, Gerry has now given more than $100 million to

Columbia. Just this past year, he gave $12 million to establish an

endowment for the Distinguished Faculty Awards in the Arts and

Sciences. Columbia is a better, stronger institution for the time,

support, and leadership that Gerry has given to us, and we are very

grateful to him.

Financial Aid Changes at CC and Fu Foundation SEAS

Beginning in the 2007-08 academic year, Columbia will eliminate the

debt burden of students from families earning less than $50,000 per

year attending Columbia College and the Fu Foundation School of

Engineering and Applied Science. Replacing loans with grants for

these students will allow them to fully participate in the

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undergraduate experience and make post-graduate career decisions

that are not driven by the need to pay back large loans. This

change will apply to returning students’ aid packages for 2007-08

and thereafter, as well as to financial aid for new students.

Columbia has always sought to be a place where talented students can

achieve their fullest potential, even if they do not have the

ability to pay the full cost of attending the University.

Columbia’s students include a higher percentage of students from

low-income families than our peer institutions, and we enroll the

highest percentage of recipients of Pell grants (generally for

students whose families earn less than $40,000 a year) in the Ivy

League. We are proud of the diversity of our student body and

committed to continuing to expand opportunity at Columbia.

Columbia College and SEAS currently award more than $55 million in

need-based institutional grants, and this new initiative will add

approximately $3.5 million annually to financial aid expenditures.

We will pay for these additional costs through a combination of

current funds, gifts, and future fundraising.

Both of these important initiatives underscore the importance of

donor support, which helps to sustain the University and its core

values, including academic excellence and expanding accessibility

and opportunity to talented students. In the coming weeks, we will

announce an ambitious $4 billion campaign to lay an even stronger

foundation for the University for generations to come.

I want to express my appreciation, again, to Gerry Lenfest for his

powerful and generous gift—and to everyone who helps support the

University, the faculty who teach here, and the students who study



Lee C. Bollinger



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  1. whoa

    that's quite an issue of spec today. I actually thought the suicide article the other day was really weak, but they got the scoop on both the $47.5 million gift and the new fin aid policy before it was announced publicly--I dunno who kate linthicum is, but she's having a good day.

    • I mean  

      it doesn't seem like a 'scoop' when you have direct quotes and information from Low on both issues. It's called getting a press release in advance.

      • specie  

        It's called getting exclusive information from Low. i.e. the advantage of an established campus paper

        • right

          i meant it was cool because it's exclusive information. it's not all that easy to establish good enough contacts that you can get things like this in advance--the times will be running a story saying the same thing tomorrow because they found out from the press release. it's a scoop that spec didn't find out from the press release.

  2. ummmm  

    what else did you want from the suicide piece?

  3. aussiephd  

    FYI: That picture of gold coins is a stack of Australian $1 coins. Cool stuff.

  4. FYI  

    Today and yesterday's are both strong Specs.

  5. wrong  

    from what i've heard, the news editor was given a briefing by people at public affairs that night because they wanted the information in the morning paper.

    • nope

      i can tell you authoritatively that the reporter got the information herself and did a damn good job without her editor's help or someone calling her telling her to put it in. if columbia wanted to put the information in the morning's paper, why wouldn't they send out the press release a day early and tell the times (whose story is coming out tomorrow. the reporter has been walking around low plaza looking for low-income students to talk to). they generally like to announce things themselves in press releases.

  6. bah  

    typical delusional columbians. we're a much poorer school than harvard, yale, or princeton. "catching up" is not something we can necessarily do without sacrificing a lot in terms of resources directed at other areas- sacrifices those other schools don't have to make. after harvard and princeton ended EA, columbia needed some gesture to show its concern for poor students, and this was the best it could probably do under the circumstances. luckily the lenfest gift is occurring simultaneously which seems to have taken some of the pressure off financially.

  7. Megan

    Sorry, guys. I at least pretend to have better things with my time (and how would I know if a Times reporter is walking around Low Plaza?). I do think Kate Linthicum is pretty awesome, though. The news editor isn't bad either.


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