A couple of months ago I posted about the plans of two Ivy league universities (Harvard and Yale) to cut tuition for middle class students, defined as families earning less then $200,000 a year. Tom Faranda's Folly: Two excellent features on the cost of higher education
Coincidentally my alma mater, Farifield University, was mentioned in one of the articles - as an example of a school with a very modest endowment, which would not be able to match the tuition reductions of the big boys.
Last Saturday, CBS news had a feature story on the tuition changes at Harvard and Yale, and Fairfield also got a mention, and their President was interviewed, for the very same reasons as in the prior articles. Harvard has a $35 billion endowment, Yale, $22.5 billion, and Fairfield $345 million. The CBS interviewer and television crew had gone up to Yale for part of the report, and I figure Fairfield was probably a convenient place for them to stop off at on the way back to New York! It's actually an intersting report.
Here's the CBS video:
The Fairfield University President is Jeffrey von Arx, S.J., and Fairfield gets less then a minute of the eight minute feature.
Here is the PR piece Fairfield emailed to it's alumnus, along with the above link:
The story aired on Saturday, Feb. 2, at 6:30 p.m. ET. In addition to what was broadcast, below are some of the points that Fr. von Arx made during the interview with the reporter that were not aired:
- Places like Fairfield are much more representative of independent higher education in the United States.
- Fairfield University educates highly qualified students - our students come from the top 20% of their high school graduating classes - and we provide a high quality liberal arts education, often with smaller classes and more individualized attention than the Ivies.
- Through our financial aid policies, we try to provide broad access to the education we offer: over 60% of our students are on financial aid, and 90% of that financial aid goes to students with need.
- The challenge is that we are not in a position to offer financial aid packages comparable to schools with huge endowments (Harvard's endowment is almost 100 times more than ours!).
- If we want to continue to proved access to as many needy students and their families as possible, we have to spread our resources as broadly as possible, and so a typical financial aid package at Fairfield consists of university grants, loans, and work-study, and will continue to do so.
- Fr. von Arx also noted that he himself is a graduate of Princeton and Yale. As you know, his strategic priorities are to provide access to an increasingly diverse body of students and to offer them a distinctive brand of Jesuit education and integrative learning within a community dedicated to personal, spiritual, and intellectual growth.