Friday, June 17, 2011

The Promise Scholarships

at the University of Minnesota

Another Whopper?

But I have promises to keep

And miles to go before I sleep...

Here's the start of an investigation into the shell game that has been going on with respect to the so-called Promise Scholarships at the University of Minnesota.  These have been held up as an answer to the dilemma posed by a high tuition model at the U. Supposedly students with great financial needs would be sheltered from the devastating costs of college and staggering debt loads.

Simply not so.

To begin this discussion here is a little comparison between two public universities, the U of M and the University of North Carolina.  Basically, you can use data provided by these universities to figure out the net cost of attendance.  If you'd like to try it yourself, go here and sign in as "guest."

Then fill out the forms for these colleges making sure that the so called AGI is zero, so that the student/parents are absolutely unable to contribute to the cost of education.  You will get the following numbers.  I intend to discuss them in a little more detail shortly, but the results are striking and indicate that Promise Scholarships need re-thinking.  The net cost at the U of M is $11,268 and the student/parent is expected to borrow $8,600 per year for a staggering four year debt of  $34,400.

Contrast this to the situation at the University of North Carolina where a student with the same financial resources would see a net cost of $2,700 with loans of ZERO to the student/parent. 

Some quibbles may be made over this analysis but it is obvious that something smells in Morrill Hall and it is not the President's fish.

(click figures to enlarge or download)

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