Private college presidents push reductions of merit-based aid

Dive Summary:

  • A fledgling movement by private university presidents to slim down the practice of awarding "merit-based" financial aid fizzled out after being unveiled two years ago at an annual meeting in the Council of Independent Colleges,  but it may be on the verge of a potential revival.
  • Meeting at the Council of Independent Colleges' Presidents Institute recently, Kenyon College President S. Georgia Nugent and some of her colleagues found encouragement in two developments, the first being the sharing of a preliminary "statement of principle" that represents a "first, baby step" toward an agreement between the presidents.
  • The second development was the revelation by National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities President David L. Warren that the U.S. Justice Department expressed a willingness to review the accords of colleges agreeing to take common steps toward reducing non-need-based aid if they resulted in either lower tuition prices or more financial aid for students.

From the article:

The fledgling campaign by some private college presidents to persuade their peers to wean their institutions from financial aid awarded without regard to students' financial need has not exactly caught fire. Two years ago, when they unveiled the effort at the annual meeting of presidents in the Council of Independent Colleges, dozens of campus leaders expressed enthusiasm for the idea of curtailing the awarding of financial aid based on criteria other than need (commonly known as "merit-based" financial aid). ...

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