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Amherst to issue $100 million in taxable bonds for working capital

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Replies to: Amherst to issue $100 million in taxable bonds for working capital

  • interesteddadinteresteddad Registered User Posts: 24,177 Senior Member
    The numbers in the graph are taken directly from the Common Data Set filings and/or the historic data supplied by the colleges to the federal IPEDS database.

    I would appreciate if you would please stop the personal attacks and the "attitude". We are just having a conversation here. A little common decency would be nice.

    If you read what I wrote, Williams made a big push to increase international aid when Schapiro arrived sometime around 2000. For several decades before that, Williams had lagged behind the top schools like Harvard, Princeton, and Yale in international enrollment. As you can see, they also lagged Swarthmore for several decades.

    What I wrote was the Williams has used their aggressive funding (and need-blind marketing) to increase international enrollment. They are currently matching Swarthmore and Amherst in this area, but are spending heavily to do so. Schapiro has already said that ending need-blind for internationals is one of the options on the table for consideration. If either Williams for Amherst backs away from the policy, I believe the other will quickly follow suit. As I pointed out above, international aid at Williams is 20% of the entire aid budget. It's a major budget item, the kind of expense that could be cut to, for example, presevere linguistics offerings.
  • ModadunnModadunn Registered User Posts: 6,263 Senior Member
    I don't agree with onemoremom's assessment of information presented by Interestedad for Williams (or any other school) and see absolutely no reason why such a tsk tsk attitude was taken. I don't think he created the graph to which you are referring and besides, the difference is negligible as pointed out, so I don't know why such a jump on Interestedad. Quite frankly, he has been more than helpful in trying to explain (and thus aid my understanding of) the broader implications of any of these numbers.
  • onemoremomonemoremom Registered User Posts: 405 Member
    Modadunn:

    I took him to task for the inaccurate and exaggerated characterizations ("they were getting clobbered in trying to attract internationals" / "they weren't able to recruit internationals") of an institution the poster often purposely misrepresents.

    It may result in his own more truthful assessments if he understands that not everyone reading here is willing to blindly take him at his (often-distorted) word.
  • interesteddadinteresteddad Registered User Posts: 24,177 Senior Member
    Look at the graphs prior to 2000. International enrollment was very low. Much lower than Harvard, Princeton, Yale.

    The point is, they increased spending on international aid because they felt they needed to increase international recruiting and enrollment. The question is, can they afford to continue spending double the competition on international aid? Schapiro has already put it on table as an budget issue to discuss. I guarantee that Amherst would follow in a heartbeat to free up some money for those cash calls.
  • onemoremomonemoremom Registered User Posts: 405 Member
    My final comment on this: Of the nine institutions tracked on the Swarthmore-centric (-produced?) graph, Williams enrolled more international students than five others -- Amherst, Davidson, Bowdoin, Haverford, Carleton -- hardly what I would call "getting clobbered" or not "able to recruit internationals."

    Those are not phrases I invented -- those were the words you chose to use.
  • interesteddadinteresteddad Registered User Posts: 24,177 Senior Member
    Again, Williams was having difficulty enrolling international students BEFORE they started outspending their peers by 2 to 1 on international aid to increase their numbers. Obviously, Williams was dissatisfied with their international enrollment or the wouldn't have increased the budget so dramatically. Colleges just don't increase budgets for no reason.

    For example, Tony Marx did not believe Amherst was enrolling enough low income and minority students, so he increased the domestic aid budget. That's no knock on Amherst. It simply is.

    This stuff is not that complicated. If you choose to use different words than I would, feel free to add something insightful to the conversation. The topic is the budget pressures that top liberal arts colleges are facing and the kinds of cuts that they may be forced to make. I suggested that backing need-blind admissions for internationals was a likely cut. Do you disagree with that? If so, what do YOU think will be cut by schools like Amherst and Williams?
  • ModadunnModadunn Registered User Posts: 6,263 Senior Member
    I think aid to international students should be the first thing to cut. It is not that I begrudge them an excellent education. However, over and over again the statistics point to America's students falling behind their international peers in educational success. It is the goal of Obama's educational plan to have every single American student enjoy some kind and of some depth post-high school educational opportunity. And certainly before we cut any aid to American families, we should cut the aid to international students.

    The truth of international education -- for the majority -- is to test into a school where you are afforded a better education. Some of this is certainly class based. But the tracking of certain countries is selecting for the fittest before they even get close to the college application process. To hear my daughter's chinese teacher talk of her childhood and journey to this country, it was pretty stressful. Her story is wonderful and a real gift for my D to learn about in a close up kind of way. Still, should my American born daughter not attend an American college because someone from another country is good for the statistics?

    Personally, I hope the efforts are made to preserve both types of aid, but I also don't want my S to lose facilities and teachers (aka the depth of an education) because the goal is to water down the product so more people can continue to drink from the well.
  • pan1956pan1956 Registered User Posts: 528 Member
    The private LAC's are a national treasure; they constitute a crown jewel in the educational establishment. Is anyone concerned that this downturn, deep and prolonged as it is turning out to be, may remake the situation such that students who are not from the most economically privileged backgrounds will no longer have access to these schools? Am I correct in stating that until about a generation ago these schools were in fact closed to families outside the highest tax brackets? Are we at risk of reverting to a previous state of affairs?
  • interesteddadinteresteddad Registered User Posts: 24,177 Senior Member
    Am I correct in stating that until about a generation ago these schools were in fact closed to families outside the highest tax brackets? Are we at risk of reverting to a previous state of affairs?

    No. The top LACs have always had some percentage of low income full-scholarship students.

    It is very hard to compare eras using measures like median household income and the like. However, I'm not sure the income distribution has really changed that much, certainly as far back as 1970 -- counter-intuitive though that might seem with all the diversity efforts.
  • onemoremomonemoremom Registered User Posts: 405 Member
    "Williams was having difficulty enrolling international students BEFORE they started outspending their peers by 2 to 1 on international aid to increase their numbers."

    One final response to the continuing prevarications: even according to your (self-produced?) graph, Williams was in the top 50% of ten tracked institutions in terms of international enrollment as far back as 1994 to the present -- a full 8 years before President Schapiro announced the initiative for need-blind international financial aid.

    In addition, Williams has recently articulated a goal of working towards an international component of 10% of the student body -- and is ahead of its peers with its last two first-year class enrollments of 9% (vs 8%) international. Just as Harvard, Yale and Princeton upped the ante in this regard, Williams is cognizant that increased international enrollment will offer all of its students -- both domestic and non -- a world-class educational experience.

    It is also well-known that Williams provides generous financial aid to not only its international students, but its domestic students as well -- thanks to the numerous gifts of generous alums, parents, and friends of the college.

    (This is my final comment unless, of course, continued mendacity requires another response to provide the truth).
  • 'rentof2'rentof2 Registered User Posts: 4,327 Senior Member
    This Williams-Amherst thing is just like the Hatfields and the McCoys. It's always sumthin...........
  • ModadunnModadunn Registered User Posts: 6,263 Senior Member
    I concede Williams is a great school. Someone cry "uncle" on this one. Still my point remains... your generous alumni, parents and friends of the college are taking a financial hit just like the rest of the country, thank you Madoff and his ilk, not to mention the real downturn of the rest of it. So before we start freezing salaries, forgo hiring, increasing class sizes, stop any kind of improvement of resources, we should also look at the budget numbers and see if a "world class education" need also include huge aid to international students who, as i said before, have mostly already been predetermined to apply and frankly, since it is a class thing, lots can afford to be full pay.
  • FauxNomFauxNom Registered User Posts: 1,220 Senior Member
    Please - we all know that InterestedDad is a Swarthmore partisan, but he is also a great source of information, for which I'm grateful. No need to call him a liar on something that seems to be a subjective point. Nobody denies that Williams is going after the international crowd, and has been doing so for quite some time.

    Modadunn raises a good point. Does a larger population of international students provide value that equals the price colleges pay for aid on this scale? Obviously a rhetorical question - we can't quantify the value. But obviously the college administrators are going to be asking the question when the budget axe falls - again and again.
  • interesteddadinteresteddad Registered User Posts: 24,177 Senior Member
    Again and again is right. I think most of the colleges have FY 2009 - 10 starting in July 2009 under control with the low hanging fruit of budget cuts (hiring freeze, salary freeze, buiding freeze, add sp,e extra students, reduce budgets by x percent). There's some pain, there are some cuts, but there aren't any REALLY hard decisions.

    The problem is that endowment spending levels to make that work for one year are too high to be sustainable. Unless there's an uptick in endowments over the next few months, colleges are going to have to start implementing the phase two cuts for the fiscal year starting in July 2010. Those are really going to hurt. It's easy to say, "oh another 5% cut", but when you already have a hiring freeze, a construction freeze, and a salary freeze, the only thing left is to start cutting programs. Big programs. Cut need-blind for internationals or cut football? Cut Arabic or Linguistics. The Writing Center or diversity visit days? There are no good answers on some of these choices.
  • ModadunnModadunn Registered User Posts: 6,263 Senior Member
    There is another thread about the value of private K-12 education vs public. And I think in the last few years people have forgotten, at least around here, the massive cuts in the late 90's to public school's budgets. And yes, they did cut the writing center and the tutoring help for middling kids. Basically they serviced three subsets: The gifted and talented (an always dubious term in my eyes), those with special education needs (as mandated by the US Gov't) and English as a second language. And while there were no good choices as Interestedad points out, it sucks when so many of them seem to affect your child. And while I don't know I have confidence in all these schools (Top 10 or so) saying, "we're in a better position than most of our peers in this regard," it would be very helpful to know where that other 5% sits with most schools. And if it was going to change from meeting full need to doing the best they can, will certainly mean something different to someone else to what it means to me. I might be more interested in science initiatives or the beforementioned writing center.

    This is a wickedly painful year for all sides of this process. It is still the largest graduating class in the country, and regardless of applicant numbers falling at some schools, it's still an incredibly competitive process. And now, not only do we have all the stresses of just waiting it out to see if your kid even got in, you now have to be slightly freaking because who knows if the school will even resemble itself two years from now.
This discussion has been closed.