Letter to John Sexton on dropping out of NYU

<p>I recently left New York University for financial reasons, and sent this letter to NYU President John Sexton as an email outlining why I left and why I think the institution's financial policies are so skewed.</p>

<p><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/239319322/Letter-to-John-Sexton-on-my-dropping-out-of-NYU"&gt;http://www.scribd.com/doc/239319322/Letter-to-John-Sexton-on-my-dropping-out-of-NYU&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

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<p>Well that was dumb. Hard to feel bad for the girl. </p>

<p>Hey, someone has to pay for those millions of dollars of loans for summer homes for NYU’s “star faculty.”</p>

<p><a href=“http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/18/nyregion/nyu-gives-stars-loans-for-summer-homes.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0”>http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/18/nyregion/nyu-gives-stars-loans-for-summer-homes.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0</a></p>

<p>And NYU needs you to take on enormous debt so they can buy multi-million dollar homes for their faculty.</p>

<p><a href=“http://nyulocal.com/city/2013/03/11/nyu-using-tuition-dollars-to-acquire-administrators-multimillion-dollar-homes/”>http://nyulocal.com/city/2013/03/11/nyu-using-tuition-dollars-to-acquire-administrators-multimillion-dollar-homes/</a></p>

<p>All of the worst debt horror stories in CC seem to involve NYU.</p>

<p>One of the lessons: don’t think you can blow your college savings in the first 2 years, and then expect a big increase in financial aid, particularly from a Univ. with crappy aid. A family should plan ahead and choose a college (or a transfer combination) that will allow their college fund to last for 4 years, with a reasonable level of debt. Even with that planning, many families run into problems when a student takes more than 4 years to graduate.</p>

<p>Waaaah, waaaah, waaah. This kid went to a school she couldn’t afford. Only she’s just realizing it now. If she got into NYU, my guess is she could’ve gone to very urban, gay friendly Temple on a full or at least half tuition scholarship.</p>

<p>Her poor mother - I would be terribly embarrassed to have raised such an entitled child who was prone to such public tantrums. </p>

<p>If going to school in NYC is the goal, well there are many other colleges in and around NYC other than NYU. Further, NYU has a part time program and an evening division if I am not mistaken. If “only NYU” would suffice in her mind, she could have sought employment and assisted with the financing of her own education. There is no shortage of part time jobs in NYC. I have little patience for the shifting of responsibility to others for things that one might want. NYU’s financial aid policies are what they are, and they are no secret. If she could not finance her education with the package she received, she should not have enrolled. </p>

<p>And the accusation that NYU is somehow “exploiting” her - well all this other personal information she throws into the letter seems like she is doing the same.</p>

<p>I have no compassion for this girl.

That’s not how life works. “I feel I deserve that ______, whether or not I can afford it” does not fly in any world I know of. Apparently neither she nor her parents knew how to subtract (College Fund - COA each year =…)</p>

<p>“I believe that everyone should get to choose their college or university based on what school is the right fit for them rather than based on their financial circumstances,”</p>

<p>That is the problem this student has. That belief is not supported in our society. Private schools are just that. No obligation to open the doors to all for free. I believe that everyon e should get to choose their job or vocation based on what work is the right fit for them rather than based on their financial circumstances. Even more important, but it ain’t happening. I believe that going abroad for a year, getting a lot of things should not be based on financial circumstances, but it largely is.</p>

<p>I’m no fan of NYU. But that they are need blind in admissions which does give those who don’t meet the financial requirements for aid, look for other sources is what gets them in trouble more than other schools of this calibre. Perhaps they should just deny those who can’t pay . </p>

<p>I’m sorry this student didn’t do two years at a local state school for next to nothing, get those general lower level courses out of the way, and then transfer to NYU. I know several kids who have done this She would have had sufficient funds to get the NYU degree that way in two years. Now as a junior transfer, her options are limited. She did not think this through very well.</p>

<p>Getting financial aid is a privilege, not a right. Almost every college student (except for a lucky few) has to factor finances into his or her final college choice. If you can’t afford to comfortably attend one specific school, choose another. In the college process it is a mistake to fall in love with one school – there are many schools that can be great fits for most people. If NYU didn’t work financially, there are many other urban east coast schools worthy of the OP’s consideration that would likely have been cheaper or might offered more aid (ex. Fordham-Lincoln Center, Temple, Drexel, to name but a few). NYU is has a bad reputation in giving financial aid. Both the student and the parent were irresponsible in making a final college choice.</p>

<p>Really Lucy?</p>

<p>I surmise that your unwise opinions are a result of your youth and inexperience, or really bad career counseling at your high school. By the way, there are quite well-adjusted young Gay people living in cities all over the U.S., not only in Greenwich Village.</p>

<p>While I agree the letter writer seems to demonstrate remarkable naivete over the realities of NYU’s miserly levels of FA for the vast majority of lower and middle class folks, I don’t think NYU is blameless in this situation, either. </p>

<p>It takes a grand heaping of chutzpah to declare oneself a “Private University in the Public Service” when NYU has become even more inaccessible to middle/lower income students…especially those in the NYC area. </p>

<p>One of the factors in the rising tuition costs is NYU’s aggressive and highly successful marketing campaign during the '90s which remade NYU from being a local commuter school for B-/C+ level NYC area kids from well-off families who couldn’t make it into respectable/elite colleges and wouldn’t deign to attend public colleges to becoming an international/national top-choice “cool school” for many kids…including those with viable elite college aspirations. </p>

<p>That marketing campaign involved a lot of money for things ranging from poaching topflight academics from elite institutions(One reason why some departments like Linguistics are in the top 3 now) to adding/rebuilding dorms into more fancy accommodations…including buying up some of the most expensive real estate in the Mid/Lower Manhattan area. They’ve also been building overseas campuses such as the one in Abu Dhabi and Florence. All this costs tons of cash and they need to recoup it through high tuition fees…especially considering their endowment is pitiful considering the large numbers of undergrad students to be supported across all its undergrad divisions. </p>

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<p>Even that is not necessarily doable without incurring high levels of debt. One friend did exactly that and then proceeded to attend law school only to graduate right into the 2008 recession. </p>

<p>While he was one of the lucky few to land a lawyer job, it was at a small non-profit where his salary of $30k is supporting a 2-year NYU ugrad and 3 year law school combined debt which has ballooned to over half a million dollars in debt and climbing. His only hope now is to take IBR which means he has several more years and will be slapped with a gigantic tax bill as loan forgiveness counts as income under IRS policy. </p>

<p>It’s a sad tale, and I certainly agree with her on many points. (Although the idea that one should select a school without regard to finances is obviously foolish and unrealistic.) </p>

<p>At least she and her mother, having made the huge mistake of selecting a school as notorious for poor FA and debt-ridden students as NYU, were not foolish enough to incur another $80K of debt.</p>

<p>Look, i have more sympathy for this letter writer than many of you seem to have…as a mom, I actually went through this last year when my D was a junior and i had just joined CC. The reality is that some great schools - that would be amazing matches and futures for our kids – are not available unless our kids somehow find wealthy parents. Is it fair? Nope. Is it depressing that our kids did everything right but our own lack of funds knock them out? Yes. Is it fair that other kids are allowed to attend simply because they were born in money? Yup. And once you can emotionally accept that, it actually becomes easier to move ahead.<br>
My D and I have a list of schools with this at the top: “Great colleges that we can’t afford.” </p>

<p>@SouthernHope‌ I like that strategy. Acknowledge the desire and move on.</p>

<p>Sorry Southern, but this letter verges on comedic.</p>

<p>It is very tunnel-minded to decide that NYU is the only college which provides what this student is looking for. If I read the letter correctly the student was in Gallatin? Not exactly a powerhouse for academics; this isn’t a program which offers a measurable edge intellectually over dozens of other colleges which would have likely been more affordable.</p>

<p>Yes, it’s nice to be in NYC if one is LGBT. But I think the vibrant gay communities in DC, SF, Boston could give the OP a run for the money. And if it was NYC or bust, there was likely a less expensive way for the OP to get a college education in NY than NYU.</p>

<p>“I believe that everyone should get to choose their college or university based on what school is the right fit for them rather than based on their financial circumstances,”</p>

<p>This is just ridiculous. I’d rather drive a Mercedes than an aging Honda Civic-- and it is certainly the right fit for me. But guess what- who cares. I can’t afford a Mercedes, and I don’t think society owes me a nicer car just because I want one.</p>

<p>I know people who are impoverishing themselves for some colleges that they’re convinced are the be- all and end-all of education. That’s fine- it’s their money and I don’t get to tell them what to do with it. But the fact that there are a bunch of second tier institutions that cost virtually the same as U Chicago, Johns Hopkins, Yale, etc. doesn’t mean that they provide the same intellectual experience as these schools. The price tag is NOT an indicator or educational quality. So perhaps a kid has to go to a college which offers a top notch education but the climate is less fabulous (i.e. frizzy hair school.) Or a kid prefers a suburban campus but ends up in a city instead. Or a kid wants to be 45 minutes from home and ends up two hours from home.</p>

<p>I get it- these are trade-offs that need to be made in order to find an affordable option. But writing letters like these is evidence of a deep sense of self-importance which seems to belie the facts on the table.</p>

<p>Post #9 - if the lawyer works for a public service or non-profit organization, takes IBR and makes 120 qualified payments, the remaining debt is forgiven after 10 years without the debt being taxed. Not ideal to have to work in the public/non-profit sector for 10 years, but if he’s going to do it anyway, might as well get credit for the work and loan forgiveness without the tax.</p>

<p>@cobrat:</p>

<p>I’m not sure why you think that NYU is at fault for wanting to improve itself even if it involves chutzpah. Mind you, I don’t think that full-pay as an undergrad at NYU is worth it unless it’s Stern (and even then, if you can get in-state or merit to certain other undergrad b-schools, I’d choose those instead), but if people make bad decisions, that’s their fault. No one pointed a gun to their head and forced them to fork over the money.</p>

<p>Do you fault Georgetown and many other Catholics for charging tuitions far above what they use to charge as well?</p>

<p>NYU didn’t hide anything from this woman. She knew how much it cost, she knew what aid they offered her. She didn’t do the math. </p>

<p>We all have things we want that we can’t have, and often, not always, the reason is money. What if she had felt NYU was ‘home’, she had the money, but she hadn’t been accepted? Should NYU have accepted her because it was best for her or because she was a student it wanted? There was an article about her earlier this year and she claimed to have had about $30k in grants/scholarships for two years, but also that she spent $30k of her own savings money each year (so $60k/yr) but that she couldn’t afford food and often went to food pantries or ate ramen for days on end. Why was there no food money in the $60k budget? She also didn’t want to work, because she could have gotten a job in a restaurant or store where they might have fed her at least once a day.</p>

<p>Bad planning. Too entitled. A little too much whining.</p>

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<p>oh pooh!</p>

<p>You probably have done everything right as well, but do you always get the dream home or dream car? We need to get rid of this idea that doing what you are supposed to do (study and get good grades in high school) is some tix to the dream school of your choice.</p>

<p>I can think of a hundred+ people who worked hard their WHOLE lives, did everything right, and still could only afford modest homes, used cars, and so forth. Doing the right thing is not something odd that needs a super-reward.</p>

<p>@PurpleTitan</p>

<p>It’s the rank hypocrisy of saying they are a “Private University in Public Service”. </p>

<p>I don’t know about you, but structuring one’s tuition and fees and FA/scholarship* policies so it effectively shuts out a large portion of low and middle income families from attending doesn’t accord with that self-proclaimed motto of theirs. </p>

<p>Especially when that was the constituency(middle income) they served not too long ago. </p>

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<li>Need-based FA is exceedingly stingy whereas full merit scholarships are only given to a tiny handful of students who have Ivy/elite college contender-level stats. Even then, most such folks in my HS graduating class opted to attend the Ivy/elite colleges as they got the same/better deals from need-based FA…and that was before the Ivies and peer elites made their need based FA deals even better for lower-middle income families.<br></li>
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<p>Most don’t have the miserly levels of need based FA as NYU does. </p>

<p>They can very well be in public service without one of those services letting anyone attend at a low tuition. NYU can serve the public by offering free day care, by requiring all its student to do community service, by educating doctors and nurses and lawyers who will go into public service. The US congress is full of millionaires who are in public service. A poor person can’t get elected.</p>

<p>However, I think it is just a slogan. Everyone who puts on a pair of Nikes can’t “Just do it” yet we all buy them and wear them and maybe think we can.</p>