QuickSpec: Columbia’s moment in the Sun edition

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  1. Anna  

    Everyone should read the financial aid article. This catch-22 is actually more pervasive than the author makes it out to be - I know lots of people who are in very similar situations (including myself).

    Also, I was told by an alum that Columbia increases grant aid every year for successful students, but have not reaped these benefits. Does anyone know if this is true?

    • Anonymous  

      I know a couple people, myself included, whose grant aid went up after a successful year (so that the total family contribution remained constant) despite an increase in family income. I don't think this is related to performance; Columbia actually does treat people well from time to time, believe it or not.

      Also, we'll of course have to wait and see, but I would be very surprised if along with the new financial initiative, aid did not go up across the board. If someone whose family makes $49,999 suddenly has zero loans, someone at $55,000 probably isn't going to have exactly the same package they had earlier.

      Moreover, while financial aid is far from perfect, Columbia has a pretty solid reputation for helping out people on a case-by-case basis. The author even cites another friend who talked to "a different financial aid officer" and was awarded more aid. Doesn't this suggest that the office is actually working with individuals? I presume there's more to the student's story in question than mentioned in the article. The school has an interest in keeping its students here (and even a profit motive, if you must view it that way); they wouldn't force someone to leave without making an effort to give a fair aid package.

      The fact of the matter is, some people are not willing to take out loans to pay for this education. That's reasonable, but I hardly expect financial aid to adjust its grants on the basis of someone's future career choices.

    • I totally agree.  

      I know the girl in the article, and believe me - Columbia will be a poorer place without her next semester.
      That someone can't go to the school of their dreams without accruing $100,000 in debt is absolutely ridiculous. I'm happy for those whose familiar make under $50k, but it seems like as usual it's the middle class that gets screwed. They don't get the aid that less financially well-to-do students get, and they can't afford to simply pay the tuition the way more affluent families can.

      • Middle?  

        The median household income in the U.S. is $46,326. So basically the people getting "screwed" by the policy are better off than more than half their countrymen. Yes, people in the 50-75th percentiles are still "middle class," but they're hardly hurting.

        Sure, it'd be nice if Columbia could afford to subsidize 75% of the country, but I think it's doing a pretty good job to have made it fully affordable to half.

  2. ummm  

    according to spec, DAVID JUDD was not at the protest.


    he was part of the group that rushed the stage. i saw him on the stage myself and photo/video evidence clearly shows him on the left side of the stage. how very appropriate for an ISO member.

  3. well  

    "as usual it's the middle class that gets screwed."

    right. that poor underprivileged middle class.

  4. Middle?  

    By the way, I'm sourcing http://www.census.gov/prod/2006pubs/p60-231.pdf for that figure, which puts the 75th percentile at about $91,705.

  5. I'm the girl and..  

    I'm paying for college by myself. My parents could help me if they didn't have to deal with my six younger siblings, one of whom is hearing impaired and the other is going to a special school for students with severe learning disabilities.Yes, I'm middle class, and if my parents really wanted to take out more loans or another mortgage, they probably could--assuming my mother's credit wasn't still terrible from the serious debt she accrued before she got remarried. I'm leaving a) because my mother can't co-sign my loans anymore and b) because I want to be a teacher and there's no way I'm going to spend the rest of my life like my parents, paying off loans that never seem to end.

    I work two jobs on top of everything I do here at Columbia. I'm doing my best.


    • Anonymous

      Are you still eligible for Florida Bright Futures? It would seem strange that UF not take you for scholarship reasons as I don't believe they are the ones paying for it. Then again, I haven't kept up with our state's education stuff in a long time. Wish you all the best.

  6. err9e-  

    it might sound harsh, but it just isn't worth getting a columbia education to be a teacher. education is a product that you buy just like anything else.

    • mlp  

      As someone who plans to pursue a career in teaching after I graduate, I am absolutely horrified that you would say that. A teacher is a professional just like an investment banker or a lawyer and deserves just as much respect. I can't imagine a better use for my Columbia education than passing on what I have learned here to others. Yes, I will be very much in debt after I graduate, and yes, as a teacher I will have a harder time paying off my loans, but the education and experiences I have had at Columbia were well worth the investment.

      • K.  

        it's true though. you're going to be a professional just like an investment banker--probably even more needed than another investment banker. society, however, doesn't give a flying you know what about that. and as much as I want to think that a columbia degree is going to get me anywhere i want in this world, i'm coming to realize that the ivy league is not what it used to be--and its reputation is starting to show that. I don't want to struggle to pay off my loans. Maybe i'll struggle to pay off my loans for grad school--i can see teacher's college as a worthwhile investment more than an undergrad degree. but in order to get to grad school i'm going to have to have enough money. and i'm not going to pile another $200,000 on top of the $100-something i'm already going to have to owe when i get out of here.

        • mlp  

          "society, however, doesn't give a flying you know what about that. "
          Sure, but what about the students you teach? What will it mean to them, even if they don't know it, to have a teacher with a world-class education? You may not feel that Columbia is worth, but I do, and I highly resent anyone telling me that I'm wasting my Ivy League degree by going into teaching. I can see your point about grad school, but at the same time I feel like I've learned so much more here at Columbia than I could have anywhere else. I'm just trying to say that I feel like Columbia was worth it, debt and all. I do understand that not everyone feels the way I do though, and I hope you find some solution to your troubles.

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