High tuition not necessary for competition, function with top schoolsPosted on September 26, 2013 | by Nikolas Reda-Castelao
Last week, WSN contributing columnist Sibora Lalaj dismissed the dangers of NYU’s massive debt incurrence in her piece, “High tuition necessary for NYU to function, compete with top universities,” which also seemed to encourage debt incurrence as a necessity to the prestige of the school. The piece was filled with a casual tone when acknowledging the university’s fiscal infamy as the necessary byproduct of both its own ego and prominence. It was not entirely conscious of what these costs mean for NYU students.
First, Lalaj points out that one reason the university is expensive is because of its location, which is a valid point. Real estate value in the Greenwich Village is in the area of $1,600 per square mile and the median home sale price is $1.1 million. New Haven, Conn., where Yale University is located, only holds a median market price of somewhere above $200,000. Now, without claiming to know how much real estate ties into the overall price, these numbers indicate what exactly those incurring debt will experience.
Also, NYU was not always a top-tier school. It was almost facing bankruptcy in the ’70s, and did not become a prominent location until the late ’90s and early 2000s when NYU President John Sexton became president of the university. His leadership propelled the prestige of many departments, if not all, and attracted great minds the world over to teach here. NYU is has seen a meteoric rise as an academic institution, to be sure.
Lalaj could have made many arguments that defend the high cost of our living — discussed the national trend in high price, emphasized the involvement of personal accountability or even the difficulty of fundraising for our endowment. Rather, we get throwaway adages such as “comparing apples to oranges.” At the beginning of the millennium, NYU’s massive expansion began because it was a time when expanding was manageable and attracting renowned faculty, but it is now becoming inexcusable.
Lalaj considers the vacation home loans perk, but refuses to mention it again. Harvard University has instituted a program where they would pay for any student in an income bracket under $60,000 whereas NYU can barely provide 60 percent of those in need of financial aid.
NYU’s expansion plans are amassing costs well into the billions, surpassing what the school can actually afford. Property prices in the city have decreased, as NYU’s tuition rose well above the 24 percent national average of other colleges. The university pretends to be a dream school to attract students, only to reject them to improve its prestige. All prestigious universities are guilty of this, but they at least meet their student’s financial needs.
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Sept. 26 print edition. Nikolas Reda-Castelao is a staff columnist. Email him at email@example.com.