Access Affordability

A2_CartoonThe Georgetown administration has historically demonstrated a strong commitment to creating a diverse student body. But doing so requires supporting low-income students through an extensive need-based scholarship and mentorship program, and recently, as reflected in the university’s drop to 88th from 46th in The New York Times’ ranking of colleges doing most for low-income students, low-income accessibility at Georgetown has faltered. To bridge the economic gap on campus, the university should join a coalition of colleges and universities attempting to make college affordable and accessible and put a greater emphasis on the services and aid offered by the Georgetown Scholarship Program.

The Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success, composed of 80 highly ranked universities and colleges, aims — through a free online platform including a database, application system and portfolio — to make college affordable and accessible for students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. The coalition does so through this platform with tools that streamline the experience of planning and applying to both college and financial aid, making it easier and more transparent for all students. For one, the online virtual locker, a private space where students can organize materials for later use in their applications, allows less privileged students to begin planning early with the help of teachers who offer guidance through editing and feedback. The integrated application process on the platform also offers transparent information on financial aid and what students can get awarded. By joining the coalition, which is still seeking members, Georgetown would be making its admissions process more attractive to low-income students by lowering the greatest barriers to college: prior planning and lack of financial aid transparency.

Aside from joining this coalition, the administration should emphasize the importance and usefulness of the GSP when touring the country.

To make Georgetown competitive in relation to its peer institutions in attracting talented low-income students, the administration must emphasize the unique role GSP plays in providing guidance to and ensuring the success of students on financial aid. This, coupled with an emphasis on how helpful the Office of Student Financial Services is in finding the best option available to students, would boost the image of Georgetown as an accessible school. Greater funding to GSP through a coordinated drive of alumni donations should also be considered to further reduce the loan component of a student’s financial aid package, making the university more attractive to students who could not afford to attend otherwise.

To fulfill the Office of Undergraduate Admissions’ vision and make Georgetown a school for all types of students, the administration must take these steps to make the university accessible to students from diverse backgrounds and ensure their success once accepted.

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One Comment

  1. To the Editorial Board, have you ever been to one of these information sessions that the Georgetown Office of Undergraduate Admissions (not the administration) conducts throughout the country? If so, what was said? Have you ever been to an information session held here on campus? They are conducted six days a week, twice a day. Have you ever been on a tour here on campus? They conveniently stop right outside of the GSP’s office — what was said there? Have you ever spoken to an Admissions Officer about the emphasis they put on the Georgetown Scholarship Program and the financial assistance available to students coming from lower socio economic standings? If so, what did they have to say? Have you ever spoken to a Blue and Gray tour guide about their own emphasis on the Georgetown Scholarship Program and the financial assistance available to students coming from lower socio economic standings? What was their personal take on the matter? Are you all aware of the intricate relationship that has been cultivated between the Admissions Officers and the regional populations they oversee when they visit high schools all throughout the world, particularly in lower-income areas? If so, tell us about it! What is “the Office of Undergraduate Admissions’ vision” and how are they not adhering to it currently? I am presently unaware. Furthermore, how would you know if you never contacted them, visited them or even provided the readership with what that vision is? I am very interested to find out. Are you aware that Georgetown was one of the founding members of The Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success? Do you know why they are no longer involved? The answers to these questions and many more would be greatly appreciated not just now, but before a paper, specifically the “Editorial Board,” should consider when publishing what seems to be at best a reaction to an article found on Facebook, void of any glimmer of investigative journalism. The Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success has actually met with much criticism, as it promotes the very system it seeks to dismantle. In essence, in instituting “lockers” for students to create portfolios beginning in ninth grade, it begins the college application process far too early, detracts from formative high school experiences, and increases stress over an already-stressful college process. Students who attend wealthy schools with small student-to-counselor ratios will inevitably be mentored even more, while students from low-income schools (already suffering under an average burden of 500:1 student-to-counselor ratios nationally) will continue to lack such support. It further opens the door for the profit of private, independent counselors to charge expensive rates for “portfolio review” that low-income students cannot even begin to contemplate. All of this only continues to perpetuate a system of inequity between the haves and have-nots.

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