Zach Biegun ’11 is not your typical Cornell student. He does not really like to drink or go out. He is 24 years old. He postponed college for three and a half years to pursue his passion in ballet. He is the 12th person in his family to attend Cornell: His sister majored in anthropology, his brother in mechanical engineering, his mother in art history and his grandfather in animal food science. He works two jobs, as a yoga instructor in Helen Newman and as an Emergency Medical Technician in Boston on weekends. Oh, and he’s homeless.[img_assist|nid=37911|title=No direction home|desc=Zachary Biegun ’11 stands outside his tent where he often sleeps this semester. On Monday night he camped out behind the Africana Center.|link=node|align=left|width=336|height=224]
As Cornell admitted its potential Class of 2013, Deputy Provost David Harris estimated on Monday that around 10 percent of these students were deemed “selected students” under the University’s new financial aid initiative, which hopes to recruit “enrollment priorities” more aggressively.
This year’s admissions results, which the University announced on March 31, reported a 19.1 percent admit rate. This percentage translates into a total admittance of 6,567 students.
Cornell administrators announced a new financial aid plan last November, with one of the three components aimed at attracting “selected students” with higher quality of aid packages.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — An enthusiastic contingent of about 15 Cornell students spread out across dozens of Capitol Hill offices yesterday to lobby members of Congress for more federal financial aid as part of a University-sponsored trip.
The students shared with House, Senate and education-related committee staffers from both sides of the aisle their personal stories about how financial aid and the rising cost of attending higher education have impacted their lives.
This is the fourth article in a series analyzing socioeconomic issues at Cornell poverty and in the surrounding community.
Despite the nation’s economic crisis, Cornell’s new financial aid initiative, announced last January, has continued to help many students from families of low-socioeconomic status. On top of this, the University offers a number of services and programs to Cornellians from low-income families, many of whom are first generation college students, in order to ease the adjustment to college life.
Currently, the financial aid office offers a number of services to all students at Cornell, including walk-in hours and peer advising.
Cornell hopefuls for the class of 2013 have turned in their applications, and it is now up to the admissions office to determine who will receive acceptance letters. The Sun sat down with Doris Davis, associate provost for admissions and enrollment, to find out about this year’s crop of potential Cornellians, the changing face of early decision and what is next for financial aid.
The Sun: This year is riding on the heels of last year’s record high number of applicants ever to Cornell. But, with a financial crisis also threatening to deter many college hopefuls, do you think the number of applicants will be up?
This is the first part of a series delving deeper into the economic crisis and its effects on higher education, particularly at Cornell.
In the past few weeks, members of the Cornell community have received a plethora of information about how Cornell is dealing with the current economic crisis. Like Cornell, many institutions of higher education have created innovative plans to support their missions while managing their budgets.
In the face of a national economic crisis, the University does not foresee any major changes to the student health insurance plan it offers.
“We do not expect this economic crisis to affect Cornell University policy regarding health insurance,” said Sharon Dittman, associate director of Health Promotion and Community Relations for Gannett.
For those who opt to buy healthcare from Cornell, they may receive a price break. Dittman cited that financial aid for health insurance will be influenced by the fiscal downturn, providing students with adequate resources in a time of need.
Despite the recent economic downturn, Cornell announced its plan to increase need-based financial aid to students and families. The plan, following a financial aid initiative announced last January, will allow many Cornell students to graduate debt-free and will relieve some of the enormous economic burden placed on lower to middle class income bracket families.
“In the current volatile and difficult economic circumstances, many current and prospective college students and their families are concerned about the affordability of a university education. Particularly at this unsettling time, Cornell University must open its doors even wider,” President David Skorton stated in a press release.
12 days after classes started, about 750 students’ financial aid applications are still being processed due to complications from the implementation of PeopleSoft. PeopleSoft replaced JustTheFacts software and now manages students’ personal, academic, bursar and financial aid information.
“PeopleSoft is certainly the major factor in the delay,” Doris Davis, associate provost for admissions and enrollment, stated in an email. She cited late student applications as another cause.
“We want to encourage students who are in urgent situations to come to the Office of Financial Aid and speak to a financial aid counselor,” she added.