Rachel Davis ’06 corrected some misconceptions that I had about financial aid and debt burdens. She writes:

I stumbled on your blog, as I’m always interested to learn what people feel about Williams. I have on comment to make on your post about tuition. You said:

It is good to know that Williams does whatever it can to ensure that low family income is no barrier to becoming an Eph. I am a little suspicious of the $1,683 figure. Don’t students from low income families end up with a lot more debt than this? I would guess that this is just the actually out-of-pocket expense and doesn’t include the value of any loans.

Actually, you’re wrong. My family is in the lowest income bracket, with my mother being an early childhood education teacher and my father being retired for medical reasons. In my case, that “$1,683 figure” is an OVERestimate. Other than the $350 I paid for books as well as miscellanious expenses like entry and rugby dues, my family paid absolutely nothing last year, depsite the fact that my financial aid bill stated that my parents’ contribution would be $400. In fact, the final statement from the bursar last year said that I had a $1400 CREDIT, due, I speculate, to the fact that the total college budget from which they calculate your and your parent’s contributions has books/personal/travel added in. There were no loans.

This year, I have a $700 loan, my parents owe nothing, and my resources were tallied as $800. I highly doubt the college will charge me anything for this year either, since that $800 will fall under the $2150 that the school budgets for books/personal/travel.

So, I am quite happy to say that your worries are unsubstantiated. For low-income bracket students like me, the college expects as little as they possibly can from us, with loans being the last monetary resource they choose to add into our financial aid assistance calculations. They do whatever possible to make sure we don’t get into trouble.

I am very glad to have been wrong about this.

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