March Update from Admissions, Access, and Affordability Working Group

Chair: Tom Spock, Board of Managers

Co-Conveners: Jim Bock, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid
Suzanne Welsh, Vice President for Finance and Treasurer

As indicated by our last update, we spent the early part of our time on admissions, and decided that the best way to proceed was to develop a set of principles to help guide the work of the Admissions office moving forward. The working group has discussed a draft of those principles, and will continue to refine them over the course of this semester. Right now, one of many ideals expressed in that draft is an affirmation that the primary quality we want to look for in candidates for admission is academic excellence. But, it was important, we thought, to think of that term broadly, to explicitly include qualities like creative thinking, willingness to question, an initiative and drive to accomplish challenging goals, among several others. Having made good progress on this front, the working group moved on to matters of financial aid.

Just as in the first semester when we needed to begin by understanding the details of the admissions process, Laura Talbot, Director of Financial Aid and Suzanne Welsh, Vice President for Finance and Treasurer have helped us to better understand the financial aid process and the financial implications of our policies in the context of the larger budget and resource allocation picture. Again, much like the case for admissions, a small subgroup was formed to develop a set of principles for financial aid.  It is anticipated that these will focus on procedures for considering any changes in financial aid, and financial metrics that should be monitored and analyzed over time.

In addition to developing the two sets of principles, which will also address some procedural and governance aspects, the working group will also need to discuss visibility and recruitment issues, as well as any factors coming from any of the other groups that could impact the work of this group.