In the ever increasing category of Things-That-I-Was-Wrong-About, today’s entry is international financial aid. In discussing the Korean prep school story, I had speculated that the increasing wealth in countries like Korea, coupled with the high (relative) income of the sorts of families who would send their children to English-speaking high schools, meant that many of the international students would not be as expensive, in terms of financial aid, as their peers in the past. HWC suggested that I was wrong about this. And, as so often happens, he is right. Consider the College’s 2007-2008 Common Data Set document:

If institutional financial aid is available for undergraduate degree-seeking nonresident aliens, provide the number of undergraduate degree-seeking nonresident aliens who were awarded need-based or non-need-based aid: 127

Average dollar amount of institutional financial aid awarded to undergraduate degree-seeking nonresident aliens: $43,484

Total dollar amount of institutional financial aid awarded to undergraduate degree-seeking nonresident aliens: $5,522,437

Those are big number. Since there were a total of 132 international students at Williams, only 5 are paying the full price, as opposed to around 50% of US students. Moreover, I think that the maximum possible award is not far above (?) the $43,484 given to the average aid-receiving international students. So, HWC is correct. International students are, still, very expensive.

And, at the end of the day, this is one reason why I constantly rail against all the money that the College wastes of local pork. Instead of spending millions on these boondoggles, the College should admit another 25 international students. Having the best students in the world at Williams is much more important than the marginal increase we get in faculty recruitment/retention by spending money on local services.

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