GSSC Votes for Financial Aid Reform, Videotapes Selves

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You can watch coverage of their discussion below, including the results from a GS-wide survey about debt and aid—according to GSSC President Niko Cunningham, an average GSer’s debt is three times that of an average CCer. Just another piece of Double Secret Financial Aid News puzzle, which Prezbo is maybe (probably!) solving for us today.

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  1. Natalie

    Say whatever you want about GS, but I give their council credit for continually making this an issue.

  2. gslounger

    All the survey stats that show the extraordinary GS debt level can be found in downloadable form at


    · nearly 63% of GS students feel: "I fear that I will not have the freedom to pursue a career I feel passionate about because my financial burden is too heavy."

    · over 12% of GS students feel "There's no way I can pay back these loans. I am crushed."

    · over 56% of all GS students have taken non-federally subsidized bank loans to afford their education.

    · over 50% of all seniors report that they will have exceeded the Stafford Loan limits of $46,000 by graduation day.

    · 11.9% of all seniors report that they owe between $60,000-$80,000 in loans for their Columbia education

    · 16.5% of all seniors report that they owe between $80,000-$100,000 in loans for their college education

    · 6.4% of seniors report that they owe betwen $100,000-$120,000 in loans for their college education

    · 8.3% of seniors report that they owe over $120,000 in student loan debt.

    · 43% of GS students perceive the University to be "highly committed" to the financial aid of students enrolled in CC/SEAS

    · 25.6% of GS students perceive the University to be "highly uncommitted" to the financial aid of students enrolled in GS, and

    of GS students perceive the University to be "poorest among its peer
    institutions" in the commitment of financial aid to GS students

  3. Anonymous  

    Niko and his bespectacled counterpart are pleasingly articulate.

  4. FYI  

    According to Dean Awn though, GS'ers have it better than comparable schools of continuing education around the country; had CU been like others, you would be taking night classes with part-time profs, and not be integrated academically w/ CC and SEAS. Not saying the disparity between GS and CC-SEAS is right, but if you really want to compare apples-to-apples...

    Good luck and I hope you guys find a way to win without fucking over CC/SEAS

  5. my question  

    where does the money for fin aid come from? As far as I can tell, much of the institutional grant aid (which is what the GSers are after) derive from alumni donations etc. There's no common fund. CC/SEAS raise there own financial aid endowment. According to a brochure for the capital campaign, 35% of CC's financial aid is derived from endowment funds. The rest comes from tuition and annual gifts. One of the reasons CC has a tough time matching the programs at Harvard, Yale, Stanford etc. is because their endowments are large enough to generate 70% of the grant aid they give.

    So my question is this: Where are you going to get the money? The University doesn't favor anyone per se, it leaves it to them to find the money on their own.

  6. You know  

    I've always been surprised that GS gets so much grief when the 3/2 Engineering kids do not. Is it because they come from liberal arts colleges and major in difficult subjects that their program is seen as less of a backdoor?

    • its easy  

      Because CC/SEAS are marketed together. They go through the same admissions process (getting vetted by the same admissions officers, usually with similar metrics).

      By contrast, you can apply to Columbia and arrive having never heard of GS or understanding what it is only to find these students in your lecture class who you had no idea would be there. Also, there application process is completely independent of CC/SEAS's, and some of the statistics (SAT, GPA) arent disclosed.

      • Anonymous  

        I didn't mean the Engineering school itself. Rather I was referring to the 3-2 dual degree program coordinated by SEAS, in which students who've attended a separate liberal arts college for three years transfer to Columbia to earn a second bachelors.

        • Ah yes  

          probably because no ones heard of it outside of seas.

        • Allow me to  

          share isolated incidents and imply they indicate larger trends: The two GS students in my music hum class complained about finishing 2 2 paragraph midterm essays (that was all the writing we had) in which the hint for each question was a rough outline. While working with the 3-2 students in my program I have found they have the same spectrum as other SEAS students from studious to not so studious and they had taken a lot more physics classes than I had.

  7. Also  

    what does "debt-burden" mean? Theoretically, a GS kid and CC kid could be on the same financial aid package, but the GS'er graduates with more debt burden because he doesn't have parents contributing.

  8. a note  

    on endowment. The idea that columbia's endowment is a giant pool of money that can be doled out however Columbia wants is a misconception. The 'endowment' is actually made up of many little endowments, many of which have specific purposes that can't be deviated from. That's why schools are always asking for "unrestricted" gifts. Columbia's big on segregating its endowment - i.e. Each school, division, etc. gets funds from its share and no more. To each their own, suckers. Thats also why schools tailor their fund raising goals during capital campaigns to their specific needs, and why the overall total is misleading, because even if a drive raises the total goal, its possible to miss individual component target goals. For example, during the $2 billion dollar drive during the 90s, Columbia blew past its overall goal, but the Arts and Sciences fell short of the mark (the Med Center raised more than its target to cover the shortfall). Even within that, A+S beat its goal for Financial Aid, but barely raised 60% of the funds it wanted to for new professorships.

    Just an FYI.

  9. GS students  

    just need to go away

  10. ...  

    gee, i wonder why barack obama rarely speaks favorably about columbia and has avoided visiting... he must just be busy...

    surely, columbia wouldn't have screwed him over on financial aid. they wouldn't do something like that. ...and it certainly wouldn't result in the sort of behavior we've seen. ...and his wife's direct comments about the burden of student loan debt on their family, i'm sure columbia played no part in that.

  11. i dunno  

    i'm not convinced why i should care about GS yet

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