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Higher tuition requires more aid

Letter to the Editor | Sunday, February 3, 2008

I have some comments regarding Kate McClelland’s article (“ND looks to boost financial aid,” Feb. 1) regarding student financial aid at Notre Dame. First, I applaud the University for finally making this concerted effort to substantially increase student financial aid. As a parent who had three children enrolled at Notre Dame last year, I can attest to the fact that the University is falling way behind our competitors (such as Boston College) when it comes to student financial aid awards.I also wanted to point out that the statistics cited in the article are very confusing, and perhaps even more so, misleading. First, the article reads that the University’s financial aid budget has risen from $55 million to $72 million over the last 18 years, or an increase of 13 percent. Isn’t that an increase of 31 percent, on a total basis? (It certainly does not equate to 13 percent on an annual basis.) Second, the financial aid officer says that over the same period, Notre Dame’s tuition has risen only five to six percent. Isn’t that misleading as well, since obviously the tuition increases are on an annual basis, whereas the financial aid award increase cited above was over an 18-year period? Obviously, over the same 18-year period, the Notre Dame tuition has probably risen well over 100 percent, versus the apparent 31 percent increase in financial award money.Hopefully these comments help clarify how significant the financial aid problem at Notre Dame really is. If we don’t get this situation rectified, and rectified soon, we will become a university with little if any economic diversity among its student body, and we will lose many highly qualified students to other Catholic universities.

Jim BlasealumnusClass of 1981Feb. 1