My son Roger tries to explain some basic economics to Dartmouth students

Roger's latest piece for the Dartmouth school paper is available here. To me the points seem obvious: 1) the large aid programs impact incentives to save and 2) the subsidies are going to the future well to do (even if students come from currently poor families). It starts this way:

Thanks to Dartmouth’s outstanding financial aid program, my family and I pay only a small fraction of the College’s sticker price. While I’m grateful to have been handed the world’s finest undergraduate opportunities at so little personal cost, it’s unsettling to realize that in one year I’m sponging tens of thousands of dollars of other people’s money. As much as I like Dartmouth, I can’t say I value being here enough to justify the massive burden the College is bearing on my behalf. It may be time to make selfish free-riders like myself assume more financial responsibility for their educations.

Dramatic increases in grant-based financial aid have led to widening disparity in the prices students pay to attend Dartmouth. The growth in spending on need-based undergraduate scholarships from about $30 million in 2000-2001 to a projected $80 million in 2011-2012 has led to greater assistance for some, but has presumably contributed to the simultaneous rise in cost of attendance from $33,210 to $55,365. As noble as it is to want to help those with less, the College wouldn’t need to charge students from wealthier backgrounds so exorbitantly if others had to carry more of their own weight.

Those who pay full price have valid reason for resentment. . . .

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Princeton accepted son received no aid whatsoever from the school. Our families "assets were too high". These assets consisted of money saved through diligent savings, savings that was made possible by working multiple jobs, years without vacations, never a new car and consistent self denial by the parents raising the child. Other graduates of our high school who are now getting aid have parents who took grand vacations and cruises, bought Lexus cars and McMansions (even on a public employee salary). Their cash assets are nonexistent, so they are"rewarded" with financial aid soon to be culled from our tuition payments. Young Mr. Lott has a conscience and should be applauded.

4/21/2011 4:02 PM  

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