Click here for updates on the evolving COVID-19 situation at Rice
Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Sunday, October 24, 2021 — Houston, TX °

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

SPORTS 10/21/21 11:15am
Rice set to join American Athletic Conference

For just the third time in school history, Rice will be moving athletic conferences. Along with five other Conference USA schools, Rice accepted an invitation to join the American Athletic Conference, the AAC announced Thursday morning. Rice will remain in C-USA for now, as the move won’t take effect until a later time which is yet to be determined, although multiple Rice coaches indicated that 2023 could be a possible target date. According to Athletic Director Joe Karlgaard, in the AAC, Rice has found a conference that meets all of its criteria.

NEWS 10/19/21 10:53pm
Wellbeing & Counseling Centers see 37% increase in demand from last year

The Wellbeing & Counseling Center have both seen an increase in use since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Elizabeth Plummer, the clinical director of the Counseling Center. According to Plummer, walk-in appointments are available for emergency situations, and slots for these crisis appointments have been accounted for in the Counseling Center’s schedule to make walk-ins accessible. Since last year, the Counseling Center has seen nearly four times as many crisis appointments as they usually do, according to Timothy Baumgartner, director of the Counseling Center.

SPORTS 10/19/21 10:48pm
Nicole Lennon breaks kills record against LA Tech

Senior outside hitter Nicole Lennon made Rice history on Saturday, breaking the program’s all-time kills record as the Owls beat Louisiana Tech University in both matches of their two game series. With her 1970th kill, Lennon broke the record set almost two decades ago by Rice legend and former member of the Spain women’s national volleyball team Rebeca Paz. After the game, Lennon said that breaking the record let her see just how much of an impact she’s made on the program.


Comments

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