Online comments of the week
Published: Saturday, August 18, 2012
Updated: Saturday, August 18, 2012 15:08
In response to “An open letter to President Leebron and the Board of Trustees on the future of Rice”
(May 23, 2012)
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, David. Although I was a graduate student with a tight budget this year (graduated last year from Rice), I decided to contribute to the Annual Fund again. I didn’t attend Rice because of the slick new buildings. It was the financial aid that drew me to Rice. My parents own a dry cleaner, and without the generosity of alumni donors, I never would have attended such a great institution that I still believe values its undergraduates. Although tuition is expensive, it doesn’t even cover the actual cost of educating a student ($75,000+). If Rice truly was recruiting the “rich kids,” it would have adopted a financial aid policy like Princeton’s or a flagship public (research illustrates that there’s been a tremendous rise in merit-based, no-need aid). Although my contribution will not endow a scholarship, I am proud to know my piece contributes to the larger pool of alumni donors who give to the Annual Fund – more than 70 percent of which goes towards financial aid, enabling other students, some of whom are first-generation such as myself, to attend Rice.
While I agree with just about all of the complaints against Leebron and Co. in this article, I’m in a position to say that the undergraduate population still flourishes, despite the administration’s best efforts as it sometimes seems. I believe that many of the issues with the undergraduate culture were brought about by a simple lack of upperclassman leadership. It’s up to the kids there now to be role models for incoming freshmen, and how well they do that job is influenced directly by the quality of the masters and RAs.
Whether or not you choose to give to the Annual Fund probably won’t influence that very much, although I’m still inclined to make restricted gifts to support only financial aid in hopes that each incoming class will be able to bring in more people like Tsz Wong.