Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Sunday, July 21, 2019 — Houston, TX 83°

Editorial: The right investment: Rice expands access

By Thresher Editorial Board     9/19/18 9:03am

On Tuesday, Rice announced a program it’s calling The Rice Investment, a sweeping expansion of its need-based financial aid set to begin in the fall of next year. Families making between $65,000 and $130,000 per year will receive grants covering the entire cost of tuition, currently $46,600 per year. In addition to receiving full-tuition grants, those making less than $65,000 will also receive grants that cover fees, room and board. Households making under $200,000 will not be asked to take out loans as part of their financial aid package and will have at least half their tuition covered. 

The Thresher Editorial Board applauds the Board of Trustees and President David Leebron for demonstrating Rice’s dedication to financial accessibility. In an era in which wealth inequality is at an all-time high, this material commitment to helping low- and moderate-income students climb the socioeconomic ladder by pursuing their academic passions is welcome news. Though the program will require a $150 million fundraising drive, we at the Thresher believe there is no better use of Rice’s money than expanding access to the university we’re proud to call home.

This is a revolutionary step even for a university known for its commitment to a phrase that has become its mantra: “Unconventional Wisdom.” Rice’s financial aid program is now better than Harvard’s and comparable to Princeton’s, which is among the most generous in the United States. While every private university ranked No. 20 or higher by U.S. News and World Report offers need-based financial aid, The Rice Investment’s massive scope distinguishes it among  these elite ranks.  



According to a tool created by the New York Times, Rice already excels among its peers in providing an elite education to low- and middle-income students. Among the 15 colleges ranked with or above Rice by US News and World Report, only four admit more students in the bottom 40 percent of household incomes than Rice. It ranks seventh among this cohort in mobility — its ability to move students from the bottom 40 percent to the top 40 percent. This new financial aid policy stands to improve Rice’s ability to serve a population often left behind by elite colleges.

The message from Rice is clear: if you’ve got what it takes, you shouldn’t have to worry about what it costs. There’s a place for every high-achieving student inside these hedges, no matter how much your family makes.

While it’s financially untenable to eliminate tuition entirely — someone has to pay professors’ salaries —  The Rice Investment harkens back to Rice’s tuition-free roots. This is a bold step, and we agree with President Leebron: Talent does deserve opportunity.



More from The Rice Thresher

NEWS 7/1/19 10:23am
McNair Hall to open new coffee shop in the fall

A new coffee shop on the first floor of McNair Hall is projected to open for business this September, according to Peter Rodriguez, dean of the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business. According to Rodriguez, several external vendors are currently competing for a contract. Whichever vendor is selected will choose the baristas who will staff the coffee shop and the types of coffee and food offered, Rodriguez said.

NEWS 5/28/19 10:14am
Provost Miranda to step down, return to faculty role

 Provost Marie Lynn Miranda announced that she will be stepping down from her role as provost, a position she has held for the last four years, at the end of June, in an email sent last Sunday. Miranda will go on sabbatical for the 2019-2020 academic year, after which she plans on reassuming her faculty position in the department of statistics, according to Miranda’s email. Her decision follows the diagnosis of her youngest child with cancer last year.

NEWS 5/11/19 4:26pm
Graduation 2019: Rain distracts but fails to disrupt

Class of 2019 graduates came to Saturday morning’s commencement with their caps, gowns, stoles and umbrellas. Despite forecasted downpours and the proposed alternative venue of Tudor Fieldhouse, both Friday and Saturday ceremonies were held outside. Like their matriculation ceremony four years ago, the graduates saw rain fall as they were granted their degrees. 


Comments

Please note All comments are eligible for publication by The Rice Thresher.