At the end of this past September, Perkins loans—Loans from the federal government granted to individuals with extremely high financial needs—were retired after Congress failed to reinstate the program. The discontinuation of these loans leaves numerous students questioning whether or not they will have the financial means to attend Boston College this upcoming year, the prospect of which is both sudden and unfair. The discontinuation of the loans—and the uncertainty of federal financial aid it introduces—should serve as an opportunity for the University to think carefully about its endowment and its tuition costs, especially if it is looking to expand the availability of its educational services in the future.
BC is a financial powerhouse: it has the 40th largest educational endowment in the U.S. with $2.2 billion in assets, while also having the largest endowment of any Jesuit school in the nation, and the recent Light the World Campaign is closing in on its $1.5 billion goal earlier than expected. With unforeseen complications and turnarounds like the halting of the Perkins Loans, a top administrative concern for the near future should be running campaigns akin to or with the same financial goals of Light the World. When the federal government is unable to provide support, BC should be positioned to aid the students who need the help the very most.
To help maximize the money that can take the place of future retired federal loans, BC should also take a closer look at its internal costs. Cutting administrative bloat should be a start, along with the seemingly unnecessarily costs such as annually tearing up and replacing grass for purely aesthetic reasons. And, although there are a myriad of reasons for increases in tuition year-to-year, the University should work to mitigate the upward trend, so that 20 years down the road, when tuition will reach unfathomable levels if the three percent yearly increase should hold, BC doesn’t find that it is incapable of helping any of its students in financial trouble.Competitive salaries and campus aesthetic are important when maintaining a top-ranked, private institution, though paying some administrators like executives and preventing patches of brown dirt should take a back seat when there are students’ educations on the line.
The halting of the Perkins Loans is an unfortunate way for many students to kick off a new, or even first, year at BC. While there is hope that the loans will be reinstated in the near future, and therefore mitigate student anxiety over future educational opportunities, this period of limbo should be a sign for the University to reevaluate its budget and financial aid considerations.
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