Paying tuition never looked so bucolic
Please put your iPhone back in your Patagonia sweatshirt pocket for a second. Apparently it’s time to rethink the idea that the Wesleyan student body is entirely made up of students from upper-class families, at least according to new data from the New York Times. In conjunction with an article on colleges recruiting from an increasingly diverse set of economic backgrounds, the Times has published a chart comparing the economic diversity of various schools. And Wesleyan has come out at number 13 on the list.
The chart ranks colleges according to a College Access Index, which is based on the percent of the past few freshman classes who came from low-income families (measured by the share receiving a Pell grant) and on the net price of attendance for low- and middle-income families. The data states that 18% of freshman classes arriving 2012-14 have received Pell grants, and that the average cost for low- and middle-income students is $8,700 a year. This gives Wesleyan a College Access Ranking of 1.5, putting us below Amherst and above Williams, for reference.
Exactly a year ago, the Diversity University forum was held to address diversity at Wesleyan in light of hateful comments on the ACB, the use of race in Public Safety Reports, and allegations of unnecessary use of force by Public Safety. The conversation also touched on many other points and became a three hour-long panel/discussion with over 400 students, faculty, and staff in attendance.
These were a few of the most salient points from the forum, summed up by pyrotechnics in his post from last year:
- We’ve got problems. Big, scary institutional and individual problems and shortcomings. We all do. Every one of us.
- There are a lot of people who really give a shit. Not only was this evident in attendance, but in the words, actions, and thoughts of many. This carries from those brave students who shared their own horrifying stories all the way to President Roth at the helm of the University, who remarked: “I take this very seriously. It’s so corrosive. It undermines the very fabric of this university. This can’t go on. … If we have screwed up, we will fix it. What you’re describing to me wrecks the University’s mission.”
- Dialogue is important, and this kind of forum needs to happen regularly, but actions speak louder than words. Right now, there is a real limit to the trust that our community affords itself and the administration to actually address these issues. Ostensible, and more importantly, tangible progress in institutionally healing our community is necessary to shore up that lack of trust.
The dialogue continued again this year with the Privilege and Policy forums, which happened over a five part series in the span of a month. Student Body President Nicole Updegrove ‘14 organized the series, and 1-4 Wesleyan students facilitated each talk. The goals were to more thoroughly address diversity issues, for a wide range of students to participate, and to explore potential policy solutions. The conclusive points from this series were similar to those of the Diversity University forum from last year, namely that these issues are incredibly complex and important, that they affect everyone, and thusly, we need to talk about them.