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Skidmore Gives Generously to International Students

Thursday, September 25th, 2014
U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT LOGO

Does anyone read anything from here that isn’t college-related?

Skidmore may have just found a way to nurse its wounds following an abhorrent ranking on a list recently made by The New York Times charting the most economically diverse top colleges. The U.S. News and World Report (you know, that source you claim to absolutely despise yet find yourself still checking even four years after your college application process is over) has released a list of the “10 Colleges That Award International Students the Most Financial Aid,” and Skidmore made the cut.

Skidmore, which has an 8% international student rate, reportedly awarded financial aid to 98 international students during 2013-2014, and the average aid package awarded was $53,600–approximately 90% of the estimated cost of attendance for the 2014-2015 year. (Just to save you a bit of math, the number I was working with for that calculation is $59,942, also known as a fuck-ton of money.)

Just as a point of comparison, here’s some overall financial aid statistics lifted straight from the school’s financial aid website:

  • The average 2013-14 first-year financial aid package was $38,600.
  • The range of the packages was $2,000 to $58,000.
  • 44% of students received need-based grants.
  • 56% received some form of financial aid.
  • 48% were given the opportunity to work on campus.

Given the fact that both economic and ethnic diversity are constantly points of discussion being brought up around Skidmore (both in the admissions office and in public forums), this recent good news is interesting–and just might instill a bit of faith that Skidmore is doing something right. As mentioned US News article, international students don’t qualify for Stafford or Perkins, both of which can provide up to $5,500 a year to undergraduate students. The article claims that much of the student-aid that is awarded to international students is merit-based (as opposed to need-based) at most schools, though there’s no way to tell if that’s the case at Skidmore as well.

In fact, the only information the website offers on the matter is the fact that “Skidmore is also able to offer a very limited number of financial aid awards to students who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States,” so it would be quite interesting to know how whether these select few are chosen based on their academic record, their demonstrated need, or a combination of the two. At the very least, this “ranking” challenges the problematic assumption–made by many–that all international students are paying the full sticker price to attend Skidmore, which might challenge the assumptions we make about people’s economic backgrounds.

Of course, this doesn’t negate the fact that $59,942 is way too much money, especially if we’re not even getting a Fall Fun Day out of it.

India Sends Us Best and Brightest, We Send Them Back English Majors

Monday, October 17th, 2011

For anybody into it, the Times recently had an interesting article on the international politics of higher education. In India, due to the flawed admissions process, an enormous applicant pool, and an absurdly rigid university system, more and more high school students are applying to American schools.

American colleges seem to be equated with “safety schools” among the Indian upper- and middle-classes. Still, many are drawn to the “intellectual freedom of an American liberal arts education.” In prestigious Indian universities, humanities are generally dismissed, while “economics, commerce, engineering and medicine have a certain cachet.” There is a complete lack of mobility within one’s major beyond 11th grade, and the actual admissions examination leaves many students “traumatized.”  I didn’t particularly enjoy my college process, but “traumatizing” is not the first word that comes to mind. “Pain-in-the-ass,” maybe.

The article also includes the best quote ever:

“If somebody majors in English here, it’s like, ‘O.K., she’ll get married,’ ” said Ms. Sachdeva.

Oh, if only it were so easy here! What I would do to have some handsome, strapping pre-med sweep me off my useless, new historicist feet.