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Skidmore Gives Generously to International Students

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

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.

Skidmore Ranking Round-up

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

August is the time of year when magazines like to type up lists of colleges to help high school seniors figure out if they are applying to “good” schools. Lets see how Skidmore stacks up shall we?

Forbes Magazine places us squarely in 80th place; US News considers us the 41st best liberal arts college in the nation and The Princeton Review kinda likes us also. Skidmore’s place on these lists has been climbing steadily over the past couple of years so make sure to let your friends know you were into Skidmore before it got mainstream.

The whole idea of ranking colleges is…problematic. Not all colleges are equal, yes, but the idea that any organization or individual is able to definitively say that one school is #1 and another school is #6 requires a certain hubris. The whole methodology is suspect, the list’s intentions are usually confusing and mostly rooted in selling magazines, and they tend to be pretty lame and surface level analyses of actual student life. But still, these rankings do hold a particular sway over our perception of higher education and offer a convenient opportunity to self-congratulate. Skidmore, all things considered, usually does fairly well in these rankings but the College is careful how they spin it—tour guides, for example, are eager to let you know we have “dorms like palaces” but rarely tout our supposed “reefer madness.” In the end, the college is a business–a luxury brand—and these rankings, at their most benign, are just another advertisement.