Sunday, November 11, 2007

Phillips Exeter will be cost-free for some next year

The following piece appeared in the Union Leader.

Phillips Exeter will be cost-free for some next year
Union Leader Correspondent

EXETER – Current and prospective students at Phillips Exeter Academy will be recipients of a new financial aid package next year if their family income is less than $75,000 -- their tuition, boarding and other necessarily school materials will be completely free.

"The educational gap between the 'haves' and 'have nots' continues to widen in this country and in the world," principal Tyler Tingley said in a statement announcing the board of trustees' decision.

"We want to be clear that money does not stand in the way of an Exeter education," he continued.

►Click here to view the news release about Phillips Exeter Academy free tuition.

Included in the free education will be a computer, academic supplies, books, school fees and linens for students' rooms. Without any financial aid, which is offered for families with income up to $200,000, full tuition and room and board comes to more than $36,000 a year, excluding books and fees.

School spokesperson Julie Quinn said the new initiative is funded by the school's large endowment fund that recently topped over $1 billion and a fundraising campaign that has raised its $305 million goal two years ahead of schedule.

The school's current financial aid program helps 46 percent of its students with tuition costs, with grants that total more than $13 million. The school also decided last year to become a "no loan" institution where student loans would be replaced by grants.

The initiative is expected to affect 183 out of the school's 1,000 students. Of those, 83 students have families who are currently contributing partial amounts of the school's tuition while still receiving financial aid.

"The number of students who will fall into this category next year will, we expect, be larger, but we can't know the figure until our admissions cycle is complete in April," said Quinn.

Quinn said the initiative proves the school is "need blind," meaning it accepts applicants without regard to financial background and would qualify nearly two-thirds of American families to send their children, if accepted, to Phillips Exeter for free.

"The point of an Exeter education is usefulness to the world," said Charles Harris, president of the school's board of trustees. "Financial wealth should not determine access to the best education, nor should it shape a learning community."

Founded in 1781, the school is widely known for its Harkness teaching method and notable graduates such as Franklin Pierce, Daniel Webster and John Irving.

The initiative will go into effect for incoming and current students for the 2008-2009 school year.

Quote of the Day:
"I have found it; I have discovered the cause of all the misfortunes which befell him. A public school, Joseph, was the cause of all the calamaties which he afterwards suffered. Public schools are the nurseries of all vice and immorality." Attribution: Henry Fielding (1707–1754), British novelist, dramatist. Abraham Adams, in Joseph Andrews, bk. 3, ch. 5 (1742). Speaking of his host, Wilson.

No comments: