Economy crushes Hoya hopeful’s dreams

Only for the fortunate few, now more than ever

The recession has led to a lot of hardship and disappointment all around. This year’s crop of high school seniors deciding where to go to college are in a particular bind, having to reconcile their academic dreams with economic realities.

The Associated Press has an especially heartstrings-tugging story out today about the issue. The article is largely focused on Laura Mueller-Soppart, a Chicago senior who had her heart set on the School of Foreign Service (which was “sparkling with erudite conversations about international affairs” and employs her personal heroine, Madeline Albright):

She got accepted, but when the financial aid award letters arrived, her family’s expected contribution was way beyond what they felt they could afford, given how the drop in the stock market had cut their savings by more than half. She also had two younger brothers to think about.

So when Northeastern University in Boston offered her a nearly full ride, she asked herself: “Do I go $200,000 in the hole because so many told me Georgetown was indispensable, or do I take the full ride?”

She is taking the full ride.

“It was really hard for me, hard to the point where I cried all the time because I felt it was so incredibly unfair,” Mueller-Soppart said. “I told myself I could have worked half as hard as I did and ended up in the same place.”

The article goes on to explain that because Georgetown uses federal financial aid forms to assess a family’s expected contribution, Mueller-Soppart’s family was at a disadvantage because they hadn’t invested their savings in retirement funds (which can’t be counted for determining a family’s financial contribution). She still hopes to come to Georgetown for grad school, though.

Here’s what University Spokesperson Julie Green Bataille had to say about the story:

[W]e know that students and families are making difficult decisions about college this year and that’s why we’ve taken the steps we have in terms of limiting tuition growth and increasing our financial aid budget.

Photo from Flickr user ehpien, used under a Creative Commons license.

One Comment on “Economy crushes Hoya hopeful’s dreams

  1. Yes, you go $200,000 into debt, because Georgetown is worth it. You have to ask yourself about the worth of something that’s given away for nothing.

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