Zacks’ Rebuttal: Should financial aid be the University’s top priority?

Opinions Columnist
Friday, October 19, 2012


I am going to take a slightly non-traditional approach and say that I absolutely agree with my opponent. He is completely and utterly right. The fundamental issue is not that financial aid is inadequate, but that tuition amounts to nearly $60,000 dollars a year and continues to rise. The real solution is, of course, free education. This ought to be the top priority of student activists working for social change. There is thus only one point I would like to make.

Brown is run by a corporation. We are talking about a bunch of CEOs in suits who shut themselves up in University Hall for a couple of hours about three times a year, make their decisions with zero-transparency and minimum student input and return to the skyscrapers and yachts where they belong. The Brown Corporation is not going to come together this December and say, “We were thinking, and education really is a right, not a debt. Let’s not have tuition this year!”

They won’t do it next year either, or the year after, or ever. This is why, when asked whether financial aid should be the University’s top priority, my answer is still an emphatic yes. It should not be my top priority – it should not be the top priority of any student who at 20 is already shouldering a debt completely unheard of in most parts of the world. We need a revolution in education, not a pity reform from the top. But the University, our beautiful, private, for-profit University, does need to make financial aid its top priority.

I don’t believe the institution of the corporate university can change fundamentally from the inside; besides, I am not sure where Hudson thinks the impetus for this change will occur. Great external pressure will have to be exerted for that kind of change to happen. However, as a scholarship student, I know I need this charity. I might deserve more, a tax-paying American who could not study for free in another country certainly deserves more, but the crumbs do a great deal. They taste funny, they are more McDonald’s than Whole Foods, but people are hungry, and money makes a difference.

One Comment

  1. That’s all good. We must clean house first. Disproportionately, applicants from two particular countries cheat to get admitted, cheat to get financial aid, and succeed. By cheating, I mean that they fabricated their high school transcripts, and hired “professionals” to write application essays for them. They fabricated their families’ non-U.S. tax returns. Brown office of admissions and financial aid is too incompetent to check on this. Some of the cheating is quite obvious and easy to spot. The Deans of College spotted them when they read entering freshmen’s letters to academic advisors. Still, nobody does anything.
    Brown University tolerates cheating, just like Harvard does. Social justice is fine and good. But really, first things first. So, Mika, I would invite you to adopt this one as your other mission. You will find out that Deans’ are even more skillful at giving the run-around on legitimate inquiry, than students are. So, that’s another thing. The people who run Brown are spineless. So you (Mika) are going to need all the luck that you can get.

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