Letter to the Editor: Senior Matthew Simons responds to the February article “An Educated Investment.”
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I found the Feb. 23 article “An Educated Investment” on private colleges to be grossly misrepresentative of actual student experiences. It made several claims I believe to be false.
Firstly, it argued that the prestige of a university can compensate for high tuition rates. While this principle may hold true for certain fields, such as liberal arts, this cannot be generalized to all graduates. According to a data analysis by the Wall Street Journal in 2016, the difference in earnings between majors from selective and nonselective universities in STEM-related fields was negligible. In those fields, talent can be cultivated by and recognized in public universities as well as private ones. At Purdue, for example, major companies such as Google and Hulu recruit programming talent because the school produces qualified graduates.
Secondly, the article made the assertion that UPenn is “the top-ranked school in the country to study both computer science and business.” This is also false. According to U.S. News and World Report, a widely accepted college ranking system, UPenn is ranked only 19th in computer science and 24th in undergraduate engineering. In fact, its computer science program is ranked one place above Purdue, an institution with a dramatically lower cost of attendance.
Finally, the article stated that UPenn, a school that guarantees to meet the full demonstrated financial need of a student, was out of reach to the middle class. This could not be further from the truth. According to UPenn’s Office of Financial Services, the school meets 100 percent of financial needs and will even provide a median amount of aid of $15,935 to families with incomes up to $220,000, who Investopedia states are well within the ranks of the upper class. Perpetuating the belief that private colleges are unaffordable only discourages financially disadvantaged and middle class students from applying to schools that are actively making themselves accessible to low-income students. Not only does UPenn offer a considerable amount of aid to financially deserving students, which includes those occupying the middle class, but it even attempts to recruit students from disadvantaged backgrounds through the Penn Early Exploration Program.
Although universities such as UPenn may be criticized for favoring wealthy students, such universities are certainly accessible to the middle class and are not the end-all-be-all of college admissions.
Matthew Simons, senior