The Dartmouth Observer

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Thursday, July 01, 2004
Tuition, Funding, etc.

One thing you learn from talking to graduate students is this: your stipend (how much the university will pay you to study there) is an essential part of the package as well as what you have to do to get it (teaching, etc.) The same is true of the undergraduate expirience: it's all about the money. Who can afford to pay for college these days? Certainly not the working class up to middle middle class Americans.

We have some good news though from Grossman over on Dartlog: "nominal (official) tuition has been growing at [a] quick pace, [but] the amount that the average student pays has stayed the same or even decreased, in some cases." On Heritage this finding is summed up as: "On the private side, higher education is more progressively-funded than ever before, with students from wealthier families subsidizing the education of others."

This is, of course, most excellent news. With a bachelor's degree being the minimum standard for the workplace today, and the master's/professional quickly following in its wake, aggressive (and progressive) sources of funding for the average (and below average) person serve as an important mechanism to increase the numbers of persons who can participate in our market society. (I know that without private education being basically free for me since 3rd grade I would be in a very different state of affairs.)

However, we should not allow the case for public funding to be overstated. One of my friends had to drop out of UNH because his family couldn't afford to send him to college. He now works in NYC. There are still many families who can't find the heavily subsidized parochial schools or get into well-endowed collegiate institutions like Dartmouth.

Whether we directly benefit from an aggressive funding opportunities, it is our responsibility to see these opportunities extended to more. This is why I only half-jokingly tell each person I know who graduates from Dartmouth to put aside at least 200 to 500 USD a year to be given to the College specifically for financial aid. We should lobby Congress to take some of our taxes which goes toward budgets with too much money and reallocate some of that money to increase the amount in federal funding for higher education. And of course, as citizens of states we should lobby our state congressmen to aggressively fund lower schools and community colleges also. More funding never hurt anyone.

In summary, give money to your alma mater's out there for financial aid. Consider it philanthropy.