Letters to the Editor - Nov. 24

November 24, 2012

Princeton offers significant financial aid to students

To the editor:

It was great to read “To Harvard from here? Yes, it is possible” by Spence Perry (Nov. 14). It is unfortunate that qualified students in Washington County continue to be discouraged from applying to Princeton or Harvard because of the “high cost.” This, despite major efforts to inform students, parents, educators and administrators in this area that Princeton is firmly committed to meeting 100 percent of the financial need for every qualified student, with an aid package that does not require a loan.

According to Princeton University, the average aid package for a student admitted to the Class of 2016 is $39,700. For families with gross family income of less than $100,000 per year, the average grant is higher, covering full tuition ($38,650) as well as a substantial percentage of room and board. For the Class of 2016, the average grant for families with incomes of less than $60,000 was $51,450, which covered full tuition as well as room and board ($12,630).

For at least three decades, Princeton has offered aid to cover 100 percent of each admitted student’s need. In 2001, Princeton became the first university to offer every aid recipient a financial aid package that replaces loans with grant aid (scholarships) that students do not pay back.

Admission is need blind for all applicants (including international students); financial aid is awarded solely based on need (there are no merit scholarships); and no student is required to take a loan to meet Princeton’s costs (grants and scholarships will cover all needs).

Alumni throughout the world consider it a privilege to help the Office of Admissions by interviewing candidates and responding to their questions about their alma mater. Last year, most of the 26,664 applicants for undergraduate admission to Princeton were given the opportunity to meet with an alumnus for such an interview. Our record in Maryland was 100 percent — all applicants were contacted and interviewed by Princeton alumni eager to share their own experiences and to respond to a new generation of interested students.

Peter J. Kurz

Stadium, senior center are not needed

To the editor:

I might be a 70-year-old spoilsport, but if someone was selling senior centers and ball stadiums for a buck-fifty each, I’d advise the taxpayers to run up and down the streets of Hagerstown and the roads of Washington County yelling “We can’t afford either one. Maintenance alone on these two projects will kill us.”

With all the things we need and all the things that need to be done here in our city and county, how can our elected officials even suggest spending $3 million to $4 million on something as trivial as a senior center and $35-plus million on something as frivolous as a baseball stadium?

We have roads and streets in bad need of repair. We have teachers, police and fire personnel who fall way short of being compensated for the jobs they do, and who work without the equipment and supplies they need. We have homeless in need of a year-round 24/7 shelter from summer heat and winter cold.

We can’t take care of our elderly. We can’t give Holly Place $100,000 annually to stay open. We complain that we can’t afford a free school breakfast and lunch for a needy child, but we can build $35 million ball stadiums. The list of real needs goes on and on.

I would strongly advise the county commissioners to shelve all further consideration for a senior center and get on with the present-day issues that are in grave need of their attention.

And to the newly elected city council, I say put the ball stadium on the farthest back burner. It should be the least important of Hagerstown’s many concerns and problems.

George Sylvester Coyle

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