adopts new financial-aid guidelines
joins with other schools in agreeing to emphasize need over
The U of C and 27 other private colleges and universities have
agreed on new financial-aid guidelines for undergraduates.
goal of the group, which includes Ivy League schools and other
elite colleges, is to redirect aid to the neediest students
rather than the most prized. Officials hope the new guidelines
will stop the bidding wars between colleges for high academic
achievers, athletes, and underrepresented minorities.
the University may not immediately adopt all the guidelines,
says vice president for College enrollment Michael C. Benhke,
"these are principles we really agree with." He explains: "Merit-based
aid influences where a student goes to college. Need-based
aid influences if a student goes to college.... The statement
made here is that the first principle of aid should be based
College will continue to award merit-based aid, but Alicia Reyes,
director of College aid, says, "We are very different from most
Ivy League schools in that we are very up-front about merit
scholarships." This past year the College gave $3.6 million
in merit-based awards, against $30.2 million in need-based aid.
University joined the consortium, says Behnke, after the group's
leader, Cornell University President Hunter R. Rawlings III,
asked Chicago President Don M. Randel-Cornell's former provost-for
agreement won't require much change in policy, Reyes says, because
the College already meets most of the guidelines. Some minor
changes will be made, but Reyes predicts they won't happen until
the 2003-04 school year.
example, the College's financial-aid officers, who factor in
the higher costs of living in Alaska and Hawaii, may soon add
New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., to that
list. The biggest potential change is in the expected student
contribution. Traditional formulas for calculating financial
aid penalize students who save for college, causing families
to shuffle assets. Under the new guidelines, participating institutions
won't expect students to contribute a large percentage of their
this area, [the College] is in sharp disagreement with the guidelines,"
Reyes says, because Chicago simply can't afford to make that
change. "There's still a lot of internal debate on what we can
do, what we should do, and what we can afford to do."
a work in progress," Behnke adds, "but we certainly agree with
the principles." -