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How generous is Emory in financial aid


Replies to: How generous is Emory in financial aid

  • aluminum_boataluminum_boat Registered User Posts: 1,539 Senior Member
    Where did you get those numbers, Bernie?

    100k pretax is definitely middle income. That's two 9-5 jobs service jobs.
    200k could be as well - depending on where you live and the number of people in your family. Income class is really a case by case definition which depends (although nobody says this) on your spending habits, number of family members, geographical location, etc.

    If I was pressed towards defining middle income, I'd describe it as "someone who works because they need the money and their career trajectory would enable them to theoretically retire at 55 - but he is glad he doesn't have to".
  • bernie12bernie12 Registered User Posts: 5,199 Senior Member
    edited June 2015
    @aluminum_boat I made an approximation using one of the alumni association campaigns from 2011 (I forgot how I found it). They said that, to that date, a certain amount of students had benefitted from Emory Advantage, so I took an average across the (it started in 2007...time for them to revisit it) and then applied that up to 2014. The number can be an underestimate if we assume that more students needed EA over time or it can be an overestimate if you assume that the need for EA went down as the economy "recovered". There has also been an increased effort to get international students since then, so I suspect it was an overestimate.

    You would have to define "service" jobs: Your ideal definition of middle income may apply in the bubble that is a private school, but most Americans define it as something around the median household income in the country or each state. This is often below 50k, and is generally below 100k even if you do pre-tax. The sample of students and families associated with private schools (or OOS students at a flagship public school, especially the tops) do not represent what people perceive as "middle class" which I think most people think of as "working class". Your definition also assumes that most households have two people that work full time. I suspect that is not as typical as many think. I think many people would view those in that bracket as in the upper middleclass which, in many eyes, is essentially viewed as well-off and even wealthy. Nonetheless, when college costs as much as it does these days, no doubt that even 100k+ becomes a very sensitive area in terms of "need".
  • aluminum_boataluminum_boat Registered User Posts: 1,539 Senior Member
    And I'm saying that is too broad. You can't compare it to country or to state or even county.

    I also don't know why middle class needs to be defined as median income. You don't need to allocate buckets like that. I defined it by lifestyle - enough money to take a nice vacation or two a year, but still need to budget. And in trouble if you lose your jobs.

    I don't know the economist's point of view on this.

    If you're making 50k in Buckhead with a family of 3, I wouldn't call you middle class. I'm not trying to be insensitive or anything, but you're struggling to make ends meet.
    Same situation in Macon is definitely middle class.

    Also, your two parents working comment might be right. On one hand, people who are making 40-50k probably have their spouse working. For the sheer necessity of it. On the other hand, being a single parent is probably much more likely around that income level as well.
  • bernie12bernie12 Registered User Posts: 5,199 Senior Member
    I didn't say it was defined that way, I am just saying that lots of people in America, especially those near those average and median income levels would not view someone making 100k+ as middle class. Perhaps an exception would be places like NYC and many major cities out west and up north.

    As for the 50k comment: Let's be real aluminum, a person at that income level and 3 children is typical, but is not typically living in Buckhead. They know better....that would be a person clearly living beyond their means. There are areas of Atlanta that are much more affordable and most are not near the city. There is a reason the city is so small and that there are 28 counties in the CSA.
  • aluminum_boataluminum_boat Registered User Posts: 1,539 Senior Member
    I didn't say it was defined that way, I am just saying that lots of people in America, especially those near those average and median income levels would not view someone making 100k+ as middle class. Perhaps an exception would be places like NYC and many major cities out west and up north.

    Well, yes. "If you make more than me, you're obviously rich." I don't think others' opinions on something they don't understand should matter.

    Here's my view. Middle class = financial flexibility. You have to measure money, but aren't particularly worried about it. And the higher up in the middle class you are, the less your worry. Until you stop worrying and then you are in the upper class. 100k doesn't give you the financial flexibility that you're thinking it does. These people are still very much attuned to how much money they spend. I don't know what else to tell you.


    Family of three (Father, mother, kid). Not person + three children. But my example was bad, regardless.

  • bernie12bernie12 Registered User Posts: 5,199 Senior Member
    edited June 2015
    I think that a person would be right in assuming that if they have a household with 44k and a certain amount of children would often be correct in assuming that a household with 100k (say in the same metro area) in general has more "flexibility" than them. You're not talking about a 44k vs. 60k-70k or something. Often 100k is a huge threshold.

    As for middleclass, let us just assume that I mean middle income with respect to the standard incomes made in a country, provice/state, or metropolitan area. Regardless, median income in America is below a years tuition at Emory (when I came in, it was about the same, then Emory increased tuition and fees and this "thing that must not be named" happened in 2008 lol). By your definition, a person at or below the median (or middle income) in America is struggling. That has a large degree of truth to it unfortunately. However, I would claim that many in the south, for example, make it work while having a surprising amount of "flexibility". Six figures in a southern city generally holds some weight. More so in Houston and Dallas than Atlanta, but in all of these, your household is generally in a solid position. The exception may be the higher education landscape, which as I already mentioned, has gotten so out of hand that even those at income levels that have lots of "flexibility" with respect to other sorts of spending face a challenge there. If you fall in these brackets, do whatever it takes to make your child a national achievement or merit finalist or competitive enough for scholarships at some decent schools (note that I don't even say elite/very selective- many of these folks will be qualified for admission to these places given their intelligence and resources, but affording it is a completely different story). If below it, get high (somewhere in the actual interquartile ranges and certainly not too far below 25%) scores and grades and hope that you are applying to a truly needblind school to be taken seriously.
  • collegestu816collegestu816 Registered User Posts: 238 Junior Member
    edited June 2015
    While it's unfortunate Emory's financial aid structure has a huge "doughnut hole" that I mentioned earlier making it essentially unaffordable for "middle income" families (100k-200k or so) who are relying solely on need-based aid, there are cheaper state schools out there that are a very good value. Not to mention that in GA, you get about 90% off tuition at a GA state school through HOPE for just having a 3.0+ gpa in high school and full tuition for having 3.5+ (though you have to maintain it in undergrad as well, which may be much harder to do for some people like the engineering majors at Tech), and many other states have similar programs. The problem people run into is when they are willing to pay any price to attend their "dream school," even if it means taking out six figure loans for an undergrad degree. For some reason the stereotypical example of this is NYU, where need based financial aid is very poor and you have a many humanities majors from middle income families with virtually unemployable degree and insane debt.

    Some of the controversy about the HOPE/Zell Miller in GA is that since it's completely merit based, most students who get it come from higher income families, where high school GPA and test scores tend to be much higher than in lower income families (and so there was some talk a few years ago about putting an income cap to it when the funding dropped after the recession, but they instead raised the GPA requirement). I personally think this isn't really valid since the scholarship is privately funded by the GA Lottery and not by taxes. The ironic part is that most people who play lotteries are also from lower income families, since it's in these neighborhoods where they are the most heavily advertised.

    As for the debate about the middle class, I'm not going get into exact definitions of what it is (generally agree with the posts above), but it's important to keep in mind the U.S. middle class has gotten smaller over the past few decades and will probably continue to do so until it virtually disappears. As an econ major, I'll say that most economists believe the main factors are advances in technology that have made traditional middle class jobs obsolete causing (since these are the easiest to replace with automation; the econ term is "structural unemployment"), and increased global competition from developing allowing similar work to be done at a lower cost. Many middle class jobs now are just transient, entry level jobs with a high chance of advancement (eg think of a post-doc making $40k a year or a resident physician making $55k). And the number of jobs that have become obsolete have not been replaced in a 1:1 ratio with jobs in new higher demand sectors. These technological efficiencies make companies more and more profitable, which benefits upper management, owners, and investors at the cost of the middle and lower classes. This also explains why wages have essentially been stagnant since the 2008 recession (and most middle class workers rely primary on wages) while stock prices have soared (and the wealthy of course own the vast majority of stocks) and income inequality is at an all time high.
  • bernie12bernie12 Registered User Posts: 5,199 Senior Member
    edited June 2015
    I personally am just embarrassed for the US's highered landscape: Especially the cost vs. the quality (most of the highest "quality" schools are mainly just giant social networks now-a-days. And as you are kind of hinting at @collegestu816 , elite and private higher is even more questionable. Most universities are "cheating" and we cheat ourselves (there is a saying that "an education is something that most are willing to pay a lot for, but not get"), but what can you do when most people start going to college. Consumer based culture prevails and it usually has nothing to do with learning. I'll be darned if I ever sent a child to a school where they needed to take out a huge loan just to be almost forced into receiving a mediocre education (unless they are very talented- the absolute most talented at very selective schools can do what they want. Hell many need not really even finish depending on their goals) and resume whoring themselves through school. Much less money can be paid at other schools if this is the case. I always wonder if the talk of a highered bubble has any merit, but then I take into account the saying I just mentioned. What would be interesting is if eventually many schools (especially publics) get so expensive that they have to all drop need blind admissions or cut back on need-based aid such that you kind of go back to how it was where most don't make it to a university setting (I guess there would be expansion of CC systems). It will be interesting to see what the future holds because right now highered is much more linked to socioeconomic mobility than in the past but is getting too expensive and the quality is questionable even from the point of view of employers. No wonder a premium is placed on some types of employers to just hire people from selective schools where students just came in "smart" or to, in some rare cases, ask for SAT's. To me, this almost says that "we don't trust that the 4 year experience can do much to equip students even further. Most were just already prepared, but we need to continue to pretend that we need them to have formal credentials such as a bachelors degree and a college transcript littered with A's that may or may not mean something". I think I now see why most treat places like Emory as a stepping stone. It is way to expensive to risk not doing so.
  • BalbinaBalbina Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
    edited June 2015
    @gdlt234 Around how much does your family make?
This discussion has been closed.