Editorial | Financial aid initiatives show promise
Published: Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 08:10
Since the admission of the Tufts Class of 2014, wherein 1,317 students matriculated, the number of matriculating students has fluctuated between 1,310 and 1,317. However, as the cost of the academic year at Tufts has gone up, approaching $60,000 for the 2013-2014 school year, students who qualify for financial aid require more every year. Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Lee Coffin stated that, despite growing financial need, the number of students receiving aid has remained relatively constant.
Tufts practiced need-blind admissions for two years — 2007 and 2008 — as a result of a generous alumnus gift. Following economic downturn in the financial crisis of 2008, however, Tufts has not been able to sustain need-blind admissions. In an August Boston Globe article, Coffin explained that financial need is only taken into account at the end of a prospective student’s application, but has still factored into need-aware admission decisions. At the end of the day, promising students who may otherwise have been admitted to Tufts are denied because of their financial situations.
It is logical that Tufts should prioritize providing current students with enough aid, which, according to Coffin, is partly why the university suspended need-blind admissions following the recession. Considering that Tufts does not supply academic or merit-based scholarships to students, it must continue to find ways to provide aid for students with demonstrated need, who can be overlooked by candidates from higher-income backgrounds.
The university has launched ambitious and necessary campaigns to ensure that the need demonstrated by enrolled Tufts students is met, including the current financial aid initiative to raise $25 million by June 2014. Within this initiative, University President Anthony Monaco has further paved the way for incoming funds by matching endowed gifts of $100,000, and over 40 new endowed scholarships have been created since the start of this initiative. Monaco and the Board of Trustees should be lauded for these goals, as steps like these are essential to maintaining the diversity of students’ backgrounds on campus.
Although there is certainly room for improvement and it is undeniable that deserving students are not admitted because of financial limitations, the administration is seemingly committed to providing as much financial aid as possible. Given our university’s financial situation, the administration is being reasonable about its current abilities to supply financial aid.