Posts tagged ‘US News & World Report’

February 26, 2013

Colleges with highest percentages of students receiving merit aid

by Grace

Top 10 merit aid colleges for the 2011-12 school year as compiled by US News & World Report


… Merit aid may be awarded for outstanding academic achievement or for other reasons not tied to academics….

On average, 13 percent of students who had no financial need received some amount of merit grants or scholarships for the 2011-2012 school year, according to data reported by 1,084 colleges to U.S. News in the 2012 annual survey.

The top ten list of schools includes some highly ranked institutions.  Unfortunately, Cooper Union may soon end its free tuition policy due to a “dire budgetary situation“.  Rhodes College in Memphis is one of the Colleges That Change Lives.

The entire list of “colleges that report the highest percentage of their students in the 2011-2012 academic year who “had no financial need and who were awarded institutional non-need-based scholarship or grant aid” excluding athletic awards and tuition benefits” can be found on the US News website.  You may want to check it out, especially if you do not expect to qualify for need-based aid.  Be sure to check details like criteria used in selecting recipients and average merit award amounts.

November 21, 2012

Quick links – SUNY tuition increases, GWU gets unranked, teachers’ union makes concessions

by Grace

——  ‘SUNY to ask state for $1.97 billion, a 13% increase’ (

  • Governor Cuomo asked New York State agencies to “estimate zero growth in their budget proposals”.
  • SUNY is asking for a 13% budget increase from the state.
  • In-state undergraduate tuition will increase by about 5%

SUNY’s proposed budget asks for increases of $134 million for university hospitals, $53 million for the system’s four-year colleges and administration, and $37.3 million for community colleges.

According to the board resolution, the system needs increased funding so it can “meet the ongoing costs of current operations, preserve gains in academic quality, achieve excellence and serve the State of New York to the greatest degree possible.”


“Generally speaking, people ask for a little more than they think they are going to get,” said Assembly Higher Education Committee chairwoman Deborah Glick, D-Manhattan. “That doesn’t mean that they are not asking for exactly what they need. You don’t always get what you need.”

——  ‘U.S. News Strips George Washington of its Ranking Due to Cheating’ (TaxProf Blog)

From #51 to unranked

George Washington University is now unranked by U.S. News and World Report, following a disclosure earlier this month that it had misreported statistics about the academic achievement of its incoming freshmen.

On the basis of the incorrect data, GWU was No. 51 in the publication’s latest vaunted list of best colleges in the nation, which was published in September. That ranking was higher than the university deserved, U.S. News chief ranker Bob Morse wrote on his blog on Wednesday.

Students are understandably unhappy.

”Students are very, very worried about this,” said Scheckter, 21. ”They are worried about graduating, applying to graduate school having a degree from a university that is now ranked the same as the University of Phoenix, which, no offense to them, is not the same institution. A lot of people pay a hell of a lot of money to come here, thinking they will get a degree from a top 50 university.”

Ranking is based on many factors that can be manipulated and may have no bearing on the quality of a school, but most of us still pay attention to the lists.  I think rankings offer a short-hand way of looking at college quality, albeit in a general and sometimes superficial way.  And some of the data compiled as part of the ranking is useful information in evaluating colleges.

——  Baby steps – teachers’ union in Westchester County agrees to wage freeze and increased health premium contribution

After 16 months of negotiations, the Mamaroneck school board and the teachers’ union have reached an agreement that reduces salary increases for teachers — including a two-year wage freeze — while raising their health premium contributions and eliminating a contractual retirement-recognition payment.

The new agreement, which covers five academic years from 2011-16, contains a freeze on wages from 2012-14, as well as increased instructional time for students.

Under its terms, base pay increases will be held at 2 percent for years 2014 through 2016. The contribution to health-insurance payments will go from 7 percent to 8 percent in the 2015-16 year.

In the private sector, the average percent of health premium paid by employees is 16% for individual coverage and 27% for family coverage. 

A contractual retirement-recognition payment, amounting to 25 percent of each retiring teacher’s salary, has been eliminated beginning in 2013-14 for all new hires. It cost the district more than $1.5 million in the last three years, Pierson said.

The new contract also calls for an increase in student instructional time, with Hommocks Middle School getting up to 20 minutes more per day and the high school up to 15 minutes more per day. At the elementary level, time with students will be increased by 30 minutes per week.

Schools, union reach agreement (

February 3, 2012

Fewer poor students at top colleges

by Grace

It’s not surprising that lower-income students are underrepresented at top universities.  Family income correlates with many measures of academic achievement, suggesting this as a factor.  And according to  Caroline Hoxby, an economics professor at Stanford, there are many low-income students out there who are able to fulfill admissions criteria at these schools but are not applying.  Among other reasons, these students often do not have access to knowledgeable guidance counselors who are aware that top schools typically offer generous financial aid.

Pell Grants as a proxy for income
Most (about 60%) Pell Grant recipients come from families with incomes below $30,000, making it a useful indicator for low-income students.   (Over 90% have incomes below $50,000.)  Here are the average per-school Pell Grant percentage figures for several categories of universities among those ranked on a national level by US News & World Report for the 2009-10 school year.

Category                                                                      Percentage Pell Grant Recipients Per School
All universities (250 total)                                                      29%
Mid-ranked universities (13 total, ranked 119-128)              26%
Top ten ranked universities                                                   16%

More details for the top ten universities, based on 2009-10 school year:

Columbia stands out as having the highest number, just slightly below the average for all nationally ranked universities.  I wonder if it’s partly due to its relatively higher renown among the general population.  It also could be that a lower-income student finds it easier to blend in among the New York City student body than among those of other elite schools.  That’s just my speculation based on my relative familiarity with New York.  Perhaps Columbia simply has a very aggressive recruiting program for low-income students.  (Since this number increased significantly over the previous year, it could be a reporting error.)

Given the relatively low economic diversity at these universities, low-income students probably feel greater pressure to try to keep up with their wealthier peers than they might at many other schools.  I recently heard about a student who was unable to attend a business symposium at an elite school because he didn’t own the proper attire.

Sources for Pell Grant recipient income information:
Department of Education FEDERAL PELL GRANTS Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Request

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