UG CC and SEAS Loan Abolishment

<p>From: "Lee C. Bollinger" <a href="mailto:officeofthepresident@columbia.edu">officeofthepresident@columbia.edu</a>
Date: 19 September, 2006 06:39:47 GMT-04:00
To: <a href="mailto:PRESIDENT@CUVMC.AIS.COLUMBIA.EDU">PRESIDENT@CUVMC.AIS.COLUMBIA.EDU</a>
Subject: Gift for Endowed Chairs and Funding for CC and SEAS Financial Aid
Reply-To: "Lee C. Bollinger" <a href="mailto:officeofthepresident@columbia.edu">officeofthepresident@columbia.edu</a></p>

<p>Dear fellow Columbian,</p>

<p>I am very pleased to announce two important developments at
Columbia. One is an extraordinary gift from University Trustee
Gerry Lenfest (LAW ’58) that will endow faculty chairs in the Arts
and Sciences and the Law School. The other is the elimination of
loans, beginning in the 2007-08 academic year, for undergraduates
from families earning less than $50,000 a year, in Columbia College
and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.</p>

<p>Gerry Lenfest’s $47.5 Million Gift for Endowed Chairs</p>

<p>A Trustee and longtime friend of the University, Gerry Lenfest has
pledged $48.5 million dollars—$37.5 million to endow faculty chairs
in the Arts and Sciences and $10 million to endow chairs at the Law
School. The gift provides a one-to-one match that allows other
donors to establish endowed professorships in the Arts and Sciences
and the Law School with gifts of $1.5 million. This very generous
gift affords Columbia a vital tool, in the form of endowed
professorships—which are among the highest academic honors a
university can bestow—for retaining our best faculty and attracting
other talented scholars.</p>

<p>With this gift, Gerry has now given more than $100 million to
Columbia. Just this past year, he gave $12 million to establish an
endowment for the Distinguished Faculty Awards in the Arts and
Sciences. Columbia is a better, stronger institution for the time,
support, and leadership that Gerry has given to us, and we are very
grateful to him.</p>

<p>Financial Aid Changes at CC and Fu Foundation SEAS</p>

<p>Beginning in the 2007-08 academic year, Columbia will eliminate the
debt burden of students from families earning less than $50,000 per
year attending Columbia College and the Fu Foundation School of
Engineering and Applied Science. Replacing loans with grants for
these students will allow them to fully participate in the
undergraduate experience and make post-graduate career decisions
that are not driven by the need to pay back large loans. This
change will apply to returning students’ aid packages for 2007-08
and thereafter, as well as to financial aid for new students.</p>

<p>Columbia has always sought to be a place where talented students can
achieve their fullest potential, even if they do not have the
ability to pay the full cost of attending the University.
Columbia’s students include a higher percentage of students from
low-income families than our peer institutions, and we enroll the
highest percentage of recipients of Pell grants (generally for
students whose families earn less than $40,000 a year) in the Ivy
League. We are proud of the diversity of our student body and
committed to continuing to expand opportunity at Columbia.</p>

<p>Columbia College and SEAS currently award more than $55 million in
need-based institutional grants, and this new initiative will add
approximately $3.5 million annually to financial aid expenditures.
We will pay for these additional costs through a combination of
current funds, gifts, and future fundraising.</p>

<p>Both of these important initiatives underscore the importance of
donor support, which helps to sustain the University and its core
values, including academic excellence and expanding accessibility
and opportunity to talented students. In the coming weeks, we will
announce an ambitious $4 billion campaign to lay an even stronger
foundation for the University for generations to come.</p>

<p>I want to express my appreciation, again, to Gerry Lenfest for his
powerful and generous gift—and to everyone who helps support the
University, the faculty who teach here, and the students who study
here.</p>

<p>Sincerely,</p>

<p>Lee C. Bollinger</p>

<p>I was interested in seeing how this would have any bearing on GS, since GS is on a merit-based system of aid. Within minutes of Bollinger's email, I received one from Dean Awn that seems worth posting:</p>

<p>To the GS Community:</p>

<p>You most probably have heard that President Bollinger has made a change in the financial aid policies at CC and SEAS. He announced that “Beginning in the 2007-08 academic year, Columbia will eliminate the debt burden of students from families earning less than $50,000 per year attending Columbia College and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.” Similar programs exist at a number of other elite universities and we are very pleased that Columbia is now able to initiate a program of its own.</p>

<p>The reason GS was not included in this announcement is because the full-need funding model for financial aid at CC and SEAS is very different from the predominantly merit based scholarship model at GS. However, while the planning for this change in CC and SEAS financial aid was underway, we too were engaged in a planning process with the senior administration about ways to enhance GS financial aid. The result of that process is that the overall dollar amount allocated for GS scholarships in 2006-2007 has been increased by approximately 14%. This is one of the largest increases in GS scholarship aid in the history of the school. In 2007-2008, this increased scholarship pool will be enhanced further by another 12% increase. </p>

<p>While I am very happy that we are able to manage these increases in scholarship assistance for GS students, I am well aware that more needs to be done. The University is about to announce a major capital campaign in which undergraduate financial aid for all of the undergraduate colleges will be a central focus. Our goal is to make a Columbia education at GS, CC, SEAS accessible to the most talented and capable individuals, regardless of economic background. </p>

<p>-Dean Peter Awn</p>

<hr>

<p>On one hand, I think it was reported that today's changes will impact something like 11-15% of the CC/SEAS population, meaning I don't think much will change except perhaps an added incentive for lower class families to at least encourage their children to apply, knowing that the institution will be paid for if admitted. As it stands, I don't know what percentage of financial aid packages for CC/SEAS students with families earning less than $50,000 are loans. For all we know, it could be already be quite low. On the other hand, if Awn is correct about enhanced GS merit funding, which from the looks of my current scholarship, he is, then it's entirely possible that a student from a wealthier family, or at least middle class, could be awarded greater aid in GS than if that student were in CC/SEAS.</p>

<p>The Lenfest gift (unrelated to the loan issue) is just the beginning of the upcoming $4 billion endowment drive...</p>

<p>For Manhattanville, I'm assuming.</p>

<p>Yes, among other things (more endowed chairs, expanded graduate student body, etc.)</p>