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Financial Aid News!

Importance
1
Readers’ Turn: Eliminate Fafsa?
by NYT > Education
Aug 25, 2015
“A suggestion to remove the college financial aid form called Fafsa led to a discussion that touched on empathy, coddling and fraud.”
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Importance
1
Experts question GW's test-optional shift
by The GW Hatchet
Aug 02, 2015
“Senior Associate Provost for Enrollment Management Laurie Koehler said she hopes GW will attract a more diverse range of students now that it has gone test-optional, a move that mirrors hundreds of other schools. Hatchet file photo
Experts are questioning GW’s latest strategy to bring in a more diverse group of applicants.
When GW announced last week that it would no longer require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores, University officials pitched the policy change as a way to attract “underrepresented” students. But amid a rising acceptance rate and financial struggles, experts are skeptical the plan will be effective.
GW relies heavily upon tuition to fund roughly 75 percent of its operations and boasts a cost of attendance of more than $60,000. As a result, experts doubted whether removing the test requirement would do anything to increase financial and racial diversity among incoming undergraduate classes, experts say. Experts also said GW could admit students that don’t submit low test scores, but can afford to attend without a financial aid scholarship, in turn boosting the University’s revenue but hurting its financial diversity.
Laurie Koehler, senior associate provost for enrollment management, said in an email that with the change in application requirements officials hope to bring in both a more diverse applicant pool and create a less homogenous undergraduate student body.
She said that officials believe an “academically talented and diverse student body” is necessary to succeed.
“We want outstanding students from all parts of the country and world, and of all backgrounds, to see GW as a place they can thrive, and we hope that the test optional policy sends a message to prospective students that if you are smart, hard-working, have challenged yourself in a demanding high school curriculum, and have done well, GW could be a good fit,” Koehler said.
In March, GW accepted 45 percent of undergraduate applicants, the highest acceptance rate in more than a decade. Officials said the bump in acceptances was part of a strategy to inflate the size of the freshmen class in order to grow revenue after a budget crunch led to 5 percent budget cuts across divisions.
Koehler said there was “no correlation” between the change in admissions policy and the administrative budget cuts and that the decision was made with solely “removing barriers to the application process” in mind.
The University gave need-based scholarships to 83 percent of students last fall, and 17 percent of students received need-based scholarships. The financial aid pool grew 6.5 percent this past spring, the largest increase in six years.
About 40 percent of undergraduate students enrolled in 2014 were minorities, according to GW’s office of institutional research and planning.
Koehler declined to answer specific questions on how the change would impact the percentage of students in incoming classes who are eligible for Pell grants, federal financial aid grants that are given to students with financial need, or if officials expect the number of students who eligible for Pell grants to increase.
In 2014, about 14 percent of GW students received Pell grants, a percentage that has increased from 9 percent six years ago, part of GW's commitment to stepping up recruitment of low-income students. The government most often awards Pell grants to students whose families make less than $20,000 a year, making it a common marker of an institution's accessibility and diversity.
Experts say that while overall diversity at some small liberal arts colleges has increased after becoming test-optional, it’s too early to tell if becoming test-optional has increased financial or racial diversity at universities that have made the change.
Robert Kelchen, an assistant higher education professor at Seton Hall University, said that test-optional applications benefit two groups of students, low-income or minority students who on average have lower test scores and “dumb rich kids,” and added that he’s “skeptical” about whether becoming test-optional will actually increase access for lower-income students.
Kelchen said that because GW is likely to see an influx of applications after becoming test optional, the University can afford to be more selective in the students they choose to admit, and those students might bring in more revenue, especially if students with lower test scores who can afford to pay full tuition will now be admitted. He added that this change could in turn lower GW’s acceptance rate, which was at its highest in 10 years for this upcoming fall.
“If you increase applications, you can look more selective. If you look more selective, you seem more prestigious,” Kelchen said.
Kelchen added that another benefit of becoming test-optional was a potential boost in GW’s rankings, because only students who did well on standardized tests would submit their scores with their application.
GW was kicked off of U.S. News and World Report’s rankings for a year after misrepresenting admissions data in 2012, including how many members of the freshmen class were in the top ten percent of their high school class.
Anna Ivey, an admissions consultant and former dean of admissions at the University of Chicago Law School, said that while GW may see an increase in applications from students who would have been discouraged to apply otherwise, admitting low-income students “conflicts with the reality” that the University needs students who can pay full tuition.
Two years ago, GW admitted publicly for the first time that it put hundreds of students on the wait list each year if they could not afford to pay full tuition.
“If their goal is to get more kids to apply to GW who are lower income, I'm wondering how they’re going to get paid for it,” Ivey said.
Officials have pointed to GW's latest fundraising success as an indicator that financial aid can continue to support students.
As part of GW’s $1 billion dollar fundraising campaign, $50 million has been raised for the University’s Power and Promise Fund over the past two years, which gives donor-supported scholarships to students in need.
“We hope that a more socioeconomically and racially diverse applicant pool, including a pool that has more first-generation college students, will result in growth in the diversity among our enrolled students,” Koehler said.
Last year, the University hosted students from a Southeast D.C. high school through the nonprofit Serve Your City to help students learn more about the college application process and learn more about GW.
The move to make GW test-optional was recommended by a University task-force, started in 2014, to help low-income students find success at GW. University President Steven Knapp has made college accessibility and affordability a priority during his administration, attending a White House summit about college affordability last year.”

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Importance
1
Clark University featured in Princeton Review’s ‘Best Colleges’ guide
by Clark News Hub » News Releases
Aug 06, 2015
“Clark University has been recognized by the Princeton Review as one of the country’s best institutions for undergraduate education. Clark is included in the 24 th annual edition of the annual college guide, “The Best 380 Colleges: 2016 Edition.”
Only about 15 percent of America’s 2,500 four-year colleges, and four colleges outside the United States, are profiled in the Princeton Review’s flagship college guide.
“The Best 380 Colleges” (Random House/Princeton Review) commends Clark University and others for outstanding academics, which is the primary criteria for selection of schools for the book. The choices are based on institutional data collected about schools, visits to schools over the years, feedback gathered from students, and the opinions of Princeton Review staff and its National College Counselor Advisory Board.
Clark appears on the “Best Northeastern Colleges” ranking and is number 20 on the “Best College Theater” list, as well as number 3 on “Lots of Race/Class Interaction.” And the Clark University profile includes ratings in specific categories (scored from 60-99), including scores of 91 for “Green Colleges,” 91 for “Academics” and 93 for “Financial Aid.”
The guide includes extensive comments from Clark students who were surveyed about their experiences at the University. For example, students say Clark is “a place where students can focus on their education [both] inside and outside the classroom in a progressive, enlightened, empowering setting,” and that they value the fact that they’re able to “engage in serious, hands-on … research.”
Students quoted also praise Clark’s “low-pressure social environment” and the Worcester community, as well as the school’s diverse population, where “no two students are alike … we come from all over the world and each have a different story and perspective.”
The Princeton Review does not rank the colleges from 1 to 380 in any category.  Instead it uses students’ ratings of their schools to compile 62 ranking lists of top 20 colleges in the book in various categories. The lists in this edition are entirely based on The Princeton Review’s survey of 136,000 students (about 358 per campus on average) attending the colleges. The full methodology for the rankings can be found here .
The Princeton Review is an education services company known for tutoring, test-prep courses, books, and other student resources. Headquartered in Natick, Mass., the company is not affiliated with Princeton University.
Learn more about Clark in the rankings.
Founded in 1887 in Worcester, Massachusetts, Clark University is a liberal arts-based research university addressing social and human imperatives on a global scale. Nationally renowned as a college that changes lives, Clark is emerging as a transformative force in higher education today. LEEP (Liberal Education and Effective Practice) is Clark’s pioneering model of education that combines a robust liberal arts curriculum with life-changing world and workplace experiences. Clark’s faculty and students work across boundaries to develop solutions to complex challenges in the natural sciences, psychology, geography, management, urban education, Holocaust and genocide studies, environmental studies, and international development and social change. The Clark educational experience embodies the University’s motto: Challenge convention. Change our world.
www.clarku.edu”

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Importance
1
Class of 2019 is Clark’s largest ever
by Clark News Hub » News Releases
Aug 05, 2015
“PLEASE NOTE : THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED AND CORRECTED
Incoming class reflects 87 percent hike in applications over three years
Clark University will welcome its largest class in history to the Worcester campus this fall.
“Thanks to the efforts of the entire Clark campus community and the dedicated work of our Admissions staff, Clark is enrolling the largest and academically strongest class in its recent history,” said Don Honeman, dean of admissions and financial aid.
Clark received 8,047 applications and admitted 55 percent of applicants. By comparison, the University  had 4,297 applicants and admitted 70 percent for the fall 2012 semester. The figures show an 87 percent increase in applicants over three years.
Here are more facts about Clark’s Class of 2019:
684 first-year students are entering, with a high school grade point average of 3.66
44 percent are in the top 10 percent of their high school class (based on schools that provide a class rank)
16.1 percent are international students who are citizens of 46 different countries
U.S. students are from 28 states, plus Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.
28 percent of U.S. students are ALANA (African-, Latino-, Asian-, Native-American)
In addition to these statistics, three students have been named Presidential LEEP Scholars and will receive full tuition, room and board for four years.
Don Honeman, Clark University Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid
Besides academics, members of the Class of 2019 are set to enhance campus life with their experiences and talents. One founded a youth technology conference while another started a successful nonprofit organization and delivered a TEDx speech. Others, like a professional figure skater and a national championship-caliber tennis player, excelled athletically. They’re also talented; one student sang at Carnegie Hall, one was named the “Songwriter to Watch” by the Nashville Songwriters Association International and another created her own children’s book.
Honeman credits the impressive profile of the Class of 2019 to Clark’s take on higher education. “These results are a testament to Clark’s unique brand of undergraduate education. Our LEEP philosophy, our research mission, and the attraction of a master’s degree in five years with the fifth year free all combine to offer talented students the prospect of a different and appealing kind of college experience,” he said. “This combination, coupled with the clear evidence that Clark students bring our ‘Challenge Convention. Change Our World.’ motto to life every day, serves as a powerful incentive for some of the best high school graduates from the United States and across the globe to join us for their college years.”
Founded in 1887 in Worcester, Massachusetts, Clark University is a liberal arts-based research university addressing social and human imperatives on a global scale. Nationally renowned as a college that changes lives, Clark is emerging as a transformative force in higher education today. LEEP (Liberal Education and Effective Practice) is Clark’s pioneering model of education that combines a robust liberal arts curriculum with life-changing world and workplace experiences. Clark’s faculty and students work across boundaries to develop solutions to complex challenges in the natural sciences, psychology, geography, management, urban education, Holocaust and genocide studies, environmental studies, and international development and social change. The Clark educational experience embodies the University’s motto: Challenge Convention. Change Our World.
 
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