Thanks to Rob White and Brooks Foehl ’88 from the Alumni Office for providing copies of A Report From Williams 2008 and its insert. Normally, this report includes information on the endowment and the budget, but that data was distributed via EphNotes this year.

FYI, this is the report that the College sends out each year to Alumni (and parents?). If readers have questions, please ask them. I think that the College does an amazing job with these reports but some alumni find them excessive. I am not sure why they did not include the budget and endowment information in the main Report. I hope that they will next year. I’ll highlight a different aspect of the Report each day this week.

Most important sentence?

In planning budget cuts, our first commitments are to meet the full need of all current and admitted students and then to avoid layoffs.

That’s from lead trustee Greg Avis ’80. It is always dangerous to read too much into a single sentence, but Avis is a smart and careful Eph, so here is my take.

a) Lay-offs will come before cuts financial aid. Rarely has “then” implied so much. Wow! If you are a Williams employee, this should make you worried. The financial aid budget at Williams is around $40 $30 million. If Avis and/or the trustees is really committed to keep spending at that level, then lay-offs are inevitable. There are a lot of Williams faculty (most? all?) that would rather cut financial aid back to say $30 $20 million (which is what Williams spent just a few years ago) to avoid making $10 million in cuts elsewhere. Since the most important input to a Williams education is the quality of the students, I agree completely with Avis’s priorities. Cut everything else to the bone before you cut a dime from financial aid.

b) “current and admitted” is not the same thing as “future.” Avis leaves open the door to changing the financial aid policy for students after the class of 2013.

c) “meet the full need” means different things to different people. Williams met the “full need” of many of my classmates by forcing them to take out tens of thousands of dollars of loans. Is Avis (or the Trustees) committed to a no-loan policy? I don’t know but I hope so.

d) Glad to see (consistent with previous reporting) that no distinction between domestic and international students is being made, despite (because of?) Morty’s floating a trial balloon last fall.

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