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Harvard professor recounts his experience as a student at Amherst with financial aid

TheGreyKingTheGreyKing 2109 replies100 threadsForum Champion Williams College Forum Champion
In this New York Times article, a current Harvard professor recounts his experience when he was a student at Amherst: how, although he received financial aid, he struggled during breaks when the dining hall was closed, and he struggled to help out his family at home:
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/09/10/magazine/college-inequality.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share
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Replies to: Harvard professor recounts his experience as a student at Amherst with financial aid

  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29210 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    We lived across the street from a family that was reasonably well to do, but constantly struggling with money problems due to the husband always sending money to his family overseas.

    According to the wife, it was both a strong cultural and important family thing for him. It caused a lot of friction in the marriage, as the children got older. The family members regularly came to visit and spent a lot of time at that house.

    So, for those students who have this obligation to support family, it doesn’t necessarily end even after college. I don’t know the solution to the stress such a situation puts on young people just starting a separate life from loved ones. I do not believe that the college or the financial aid student should be taking on that sort of support, however.

    I’ve seen some bad situations arise when a student gets financial aid, scholarships, gifts and family sometimes outright steal the stuff. If a student feels obligated to work megs hours and deprive self to send more money to family, that is a choice that makes it that much more difficult to survive college
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 12711 replies234 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Amherst did make some changes since he left (or while he was still there). Dorms and some level of dining services are open during all breaks. This helps the kids who can't go home, it also helps athletes and others who may need to be on campus for non-academic reasons.
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  • MeddyMeddy 471 replies35 threadsRegistered User Member
    I read his book this summer, "The Privileged Poor". A good read for me knowing he was once a student at Amherst. He also drew on the experiences of students at other elite schools in writing his book. Fortunately as @OHMomof2 mentions, some changes had occurred and of course there are many more that can be made. I've encouraged my daughter to speak up, because only once they know can they fix

    I do love the willingness and openness that Amherst College seems to have in accommodating students with needs that aren't only solved by throwing money at a problem. I heard that a few years back, the President of Amherst invited students to her home for Thanksgiving dinner. I would have loved to be invited to that!
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  • roycroftmomroycroftmom 2876 replies37 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Anyone else puzzled by his final story, where he claims his family wanted his name removed from the utility bill when he was 32, and that he had been on it for 2 decades? I don't think so.
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 38084 replies2086 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    One of my favorite memories from college is having Thanksgiving dinner with my boyfriend at the home of an MIT professor - he invited all the kids who weren't going home. I had traveled from Austin to visit the BF, so that's why I was there.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33430 replies363 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 12
    A lot has changed in the decade or so since he was an undergrad.
    edited September 12
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  • 3puppies3puppies 1727 replies12 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Anyone else puzzled by his final story, where he claims his family wanted his name removed from the utility bill when he was 32, and that he had been on it for 2 decades? I don't think so.

    I am not sure if this happened or not, but in my volunteer work, I have met a couple of families who have exploited a loophole in signing up for utilities in a new apartment - they sign their teenage kid up for the family's service. DirectTV used to be more - shall I say "relaxed" - in how someone could sign up - if Mom and Dad had already signed up to get the free introductory (12 month) program they might not be eligible again, so they sign the teenage kid up. As long as the bill got paid eventually, DirectTV didn't care - so they kept the service.

    A lot has changed in the decade or so since he was an undergrad.

    And reading the article, he deserves credit as he was instrumental in getting things changed. As a junior he lobbied the dean at Amherst to allow low-income students to get meals at the coffee shop during breaks. He understood that you can sometimes change things by asking.

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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 12711 replies234 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 12
    @roycroftmom wrote:
    Anyone else puzzled by his final story, where he claims his family wanted his name removed from the utility bill when he was 32, and that he had been on it for 2 decades?

    I took that to mean he'd been paying it that long. But since he was 12? - that does seem a bit off.

    He's been promoting a book for a few months or so, so lots of interviews:
    Sometimes we couldn’t pay the electric bill, and I had to stop studying when night fell.[/quote
    https://beta.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/03/18/i-was-first-generation-college-student-an-elite-college-admissions-scandal-reopens-old-wounds/
    edited September 12
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77683 replies678 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    OHMomof2 wrote: »
    @roycroftmom wrote:
    Anyone else puzzled by his final story, where he claims his family wanted his name removed from the utility bill when he was 32, and that he had been on it for 2 decades?

    I took that to mean he'd been paying it that long. But since he was 12? - that does seem a bit off.

    Perhaps he was used as the name on the bill because he was the family member who could pass the utility company's credit check?
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  • roycroftmomroycroftmom 2876 replies37 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I don't think credit checks work for children.
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  • brantlybrantly 3919 replies69 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    ucbalumnus wrote: »
    OHMomof2 wrote: »
    @roycroftmom wrote:
    Anyone else puzzled by his final story, where he claims his family wanted his name removed from the utility bill when he was 32, and that he had been on it for 2 decades?

    I took that to mean he'd been paying it that long. But since he was 12? - that does seem a bit off.

    Perhaps he was used as the name on the bill because he was the family member who could pass the utility company's credit check?

    That's what I thought.
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