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Information Overload: Sun Back in Print

The kids at the Sun celebrated Martin Luther King Day and the first day of classes by going back into full-swing operations today, and in doing so are running a couple of great articles.

First, we thankfully learn that the Madoff ponzi scheme hasn't affected Cornell in the slightest. The 27 percent drop in the endowment could always be worse!

James Walsh, chief investment officer for Cornell, said in an e-mail, ďI am glad to say we had zero exposure to Madoff and strongly believe it would never have found its way into our portfolio.Ē

While Cornellís investments were left unaffected by Madoff, other universities were not so fortunate. Yeshiva University, New York University and Tufts University were a few of the institutions of higher education injured by the fraud.

Then we read about how the contract colleges are dealing with the state budget cuts. CALS and the Vet School appear to be harder hit then HumEc and ILR, but notably, ILR is going to have to lay off a lot of workers in its extension program. It's unclear as to whether or not the entire extension program will be shut down, or just significantly curtailed.

The veterinary college has had to lay off staff, defer new hires, decrease equipment and supply budgets and stop programs. Dean of the College of Industrial and Labor Relations Harry Katz said that his college will lay off 17 professionals of ILRís extension program by June of 2009.

Kotlikoff said the Vet School is uniquely impacted by the state cuts for multiple reasons: First, state funding represents a more significant portion of the overall budget for the veterinary college and agriculture college than for human ecology and ILR.

Finally, we have an interesting interview with Doris Davis that seems to contradict some of our earlier reporting on the admissions front. Davis maintains that the ED admit size was no different than earlier years and that the recent financial aid initiative will not explicitly target athletes, among other students:

Sun: This yearís early decision class, in addition to having a record number of applicants, also saw an increasing percentage of the class admitted early. Why was this?

DD: Last year, I think it was about 35 percent of the class admitted early decision. This year itís about 35 to 36 percent. Itís nothing that we manage to a science. We donít tell the colleges thereís a number we admit. We donít have quotas, but we do want to make sure that the number doesnít rise in a sharp way. I think there is kind of a self-monitoring [system]. They know that we donít want to admit what some Ivyís were doing eight or nine years ago, which was admitting half the class early. Weíve never been that high. We have a sort of understanding that we donít want to have [those] numbers go way beyond what itís always been. In the time Iíve been here, itís been between 34 to 36 percent.

Sun: It has been said that one reason Cornell announced its second phase of the new financial aid plan in October is because it was losing many of its athletes to schools with bigger financial aid programs. Is the newest plan helping in the recruitment of athletes?

DD: Weíll see. [One phase is] to reduce parental contribution for select students whose incomes are above $60,000 a year. And those students may include students who are of an enrollment priority. Some of those students may be athletes and some may be mathematicians and physicists. So there are a range of students who are going to qualify for those enhanced initiatives. And that piece, we will see, because those students [effected by the new plan] come in fall 2009.

Regarding ED enrollments, Davis actually ends up directly contradicting a table in the Sun. But I suppose it's possible that the University will expand enrollment this year to increase revenues. And in regards to athletic recruiting, she skirted the issue by not directly alluding to the financial aid packages for middle income families that will only be granted to certain students. Interesting.

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on January 19, 2009 (#)

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