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Rumblings on Campus?

An editorial on the subject of alumni donations published in the Williams Record this week seems to suggest that *the student body* may have found a new reason to yell at the administration.

From the editorial:

That the school chose this area to make their cuts should be warning enough, but what is truly disheartening is that seven years removed from the depths of the financial crisis with a larger than ever endowment of at least $2.3 billion, the College has made no moves to reinstate the no-loan policy. Meanwhile, it has found the funds in recent years to begin several large-scale construction projects. In the realm of financial aid, it has instead hired a dean to oversee the Offices of Financial Aid and Admission. By all appearances, the history of the no-loan policy at the College is rather straightforward: the College introduced the no-loan policy to compete with peer institutions, ditched it when it prohibited it from spending on areas it cares about more than allowing students from lower incomes the freedom to pursue post-graduate options without debt and then, after finding its prestige relatively unaffected by the whole ordeal, never looked back.

There’s also this banner hanging off the front of Pareskey:

Wishful Thinking?

And fliers in the dining hall:

How many people do they think read these?

It is currently unclear if anyone actually plans to protest this, but it seems unlikely that there will be any discussion of the merits of resurrecting such a policy.

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#1 Comment By David Dudley Field ’25 On May 12, 2017 @ 9:21 am

Welcome to EphBlog! The more students we have contributing, the better.

1) I have heard no rumors about changes in the load policy being under discussion. Has anyone else?

2) Former Provost Will Dudley did some work — which he annoyingly refused to make accessible even though he often (?) presented it publicly — showing that the no-loan policy did not actually result in no loans being taken out by students. It was really interesting stuff (and I may be getting some details wrong).

Basic idea seemed to be that a student from a family with, say, $75,000 income might be asked, under the current policy, to take out $4,000 in loans and pay $4,000 in the family contribution. This results in $4,000 in loans being taken out. But, for the exact same family under no loans, the student often ended up borrowing $4,000 anyway and either using that to make up for the family contribution (so his struggling parents paid nothing) or for other purposes.

In other words, students take out as many loans under the old no-loans policy as they do under current policy.

The Record ought to investigate this topic.

3) Has the College changed its policy with regard to meeting competing packages from peer schools? As one concrete data point, I know a student who was admitted to Williams and Middlebury but who was offered $5,000 less per year by Williams. Even when the family showed them all the details of the Middlebury offer, Williams refused to match it. My understanding is that, a few years ago, Williams would always match (non-merit) awards from peer schools.

#2 Comment By Tom Foolery On May 12, 2017 @ 12:12 pm

Middlebury is no peer and these students and anyone else that think the school should return to a no loan policy is both economically naive and selfish. It’s the same group of students already attending a premier school at minimal cost that continue to demand more and more for free. The point of loans for certain students is that they have some skin in the game as to what they should pay Williams for the education. College tuition today is an income tax and those that can afford to repay the college for some modest part of their tuition should do so. This is merely the beneficiaries of entitlements asking for more entitlements from those institutions or people they claim are entitled. The hypocrisy of it all is mind numbing. The school has to mange the endowment into perpetuity not for the immediate consumption of a single generation. I believe that’s called the Social Security program.

#3 Comment By Williams Alum On May 12, 2017 @ 3:27 pm

Middlebury is not a peer?

#4 Comment By anon On May 14, 2017 @ 1:52 pm

Williams Alum-

Middlebury is a peer. It is slightly easier to get into. The % of admissions is almost identical. Williams beats Middlebury by about 20-30 points on average board scores…

Williams College Acceptance Rate: 18%
Williams GPA and Test Score Graph
Test Scores — 25th / 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading: 670 / 780
SAT Math: 660 / 770
SAT Writing: 670 / 780

Middlebury College Acceptance Rate: 17%
Middlebury GPA and Test Score Graph
Test Scores — 25th / 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading: 630 / 750
SAT Math: 640 / 750
SAT Writing: 650 / 760

Dartmouth is also a peer. It is slightly harder to get into. Much harder if you consider % of admissions.

Harvard is not a peer. Yale is not a peer. Princeton is not a peer etc. Harvard and Yale are much harder to get into. Much more selective.

Not sure what other measure Tom is considering? Williams does have more money. Beats Middelbury in US News… etc.

#5 Comment By Williams Alum On May 14, 2017 @ 9:50 pm

Yeah, I agree. I don’t know how Tom doesn’t consider Midd a peer…

#6 Comment By Alum-Anon On May 20, 2017 @ 3:13 am

One of the best classes I took at Williams was at Middlebury.

We should hope that we’re a peer institution.