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Baxter Ball’s Letter to the Editor

The Post Standard
Letters to the Editor
June 29, 2010

Today’s students still choose private colleges


To the Editor:

Your front-page story June 25 examined the economy’s impact on students’ college choices. Manlius Pebble Hill School has noticed no significant increase in SUNY applications in the last 10 years. We have six graduates going to SUNY colleges this year, roughly the same average as over the last decade. The 80 percent of students going to private colleges is a significant increase — concomitant with an increase in applications to out-of-state public colleges.

What appears to be driving this seemingly counter-intuitive development is the recent dramatic increase in private college academic scholarships. Many millions of dollars are now being awarded to maintain quality admissions. This year’s MPH graduates have won millions in academic scholarship money; four will be attending elite private colleges at absolutely no out-of-pocket expense.

This type of “tuition discounting” is directly related to the economic downturn, but will probably remain a tool in the ever-increasing competition among private colleges to enroll top-notch students. MPH, too, has significantly increased its own tuition assistance program in response to local and national economic trends.

Baxter F. Ball, Head of School
Manlius Pebble Hill School