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Ability To Pay Is New Ticket into College

Facing fallen endowments and needier students, many colleges are looking more favorably on wealthier applicants as they make their admissions decisions this year.

Institutions that have pledged to admit students regardless of need are finding ways to increase the number of those who pay the full cost in ways that allow the colleges to maintain the claim of being need-blind — taking more students from the transfer or waiting lists, for instance, or admitting more foreign students who pay full tuition.

Private colleges that acknowledge taking financial status into account say they are even more aware of that factor this year.

“If you are a student of means or ability, or both, there has never been a better year,” said Robert A. Sevier, an enrollment consultant to colleges.

The trend does not mean colleges are cutting their financial aid budgets. In fact, most have increased those budgets this year, protecting that money even as they cut elsewhere. But with more students applying for aid, and with those who need aid often needing more, institutions say they have to be mindful of how many scholarship students they can afford.

Haiti’s Woes Are Top Test For U.N. Aid Effort

Paul Collier, a leading poverty guru, spent a recent morning here waxing positive about how the world’s economic freefall might prove the perfect moment for Haiti to flog more exports like T-shirts and mangoes to Americans.

His improbable enthusiasm coincided with appearances by a bevy of luminaries descending on Haiti this month, including Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. secretary-general, and the entire Security Council. All of them came to stress that this destitute nation stands at a crossroads between salvation and “the darkness,” as Ban put it.

A landscape of deepening woe is emerging among the world’s most destitute. About 46 million more people are expected to tumble into poverty this year amid the largest decline in global trade in 80 years, according to the World Bank. The results ripple through every index. An additional 200,000 to 400,000 infants, for example, may die every year for the next six years because of the crisis, the bank said.

A panel commissioned by the U.N. General Assembly suggested Thursday that one percent of any nation’s stimulus package be set aside for poor countries, while Ban has vowed that when he joins the leaders of the G-20 at their London summit meeting on Thursday, he will voice the concerns of the uninvited.