April is always a challenging time for my students. The month opens with acceptance letters from the schools that many of my students have dreamed about for years; the end of the month is when economic reality hits for many of them. I teach some exceptional young people, many of whom have put in twelve years of consistent, outstanding work, only to be faced with an economic climate and college costs that are, frankly, out of control.
It’s hard not to be frustrated when I read stories like this one in the New York Times, which notes that now, even the admissions process is colored by financial resources:
This year, many of these colleges say they are more inclined to accept students who do not apply for aid, or whom they judge to be less needy based on other factors, like ZIP code or parents’ background.
“We’re only human,” said Steven Syverson, the dean of admissions and financial aid at Lawrence University in Wisconsin. “They shine a little brighter.”
I don’t pretend to understand why tuition costs at college are far outpacing inflation; I didn’t understand it when my tuition increased by nearly $1,000/year when I was in school. I do understand, though, that it can’t do our society much good to make top colleges unaffordable for those with the ability to excel there.