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Courting the Canucks

Amidst all of the positive press that Cornell has received for expanding its financial aid policies, one change has gone largely unnoticed. Beginning in the Fall of 2010, Cornell will start distributing financial aid previously set aside for Canadians and Mexicans to all international students:

Currently, Cornell spends about $5.5 million dollars on financial aid for Canadian and Mexican undergraduate students and about $2 million dollars on financial aid for all other international undergraduate students. When the new policy is implemented, all international undergraduate students will be eligible for financial aid funding that had previously been allocated specifically for Canadian and Mexican students and other international students. This new policy will allow Cornell to enroll undergraduate international students from a broader range of countries, and will apply to all new international undergraduate students beginning in Fall 2010.

So while this is very good news for international students from Asia, Europe, or South America, it's pretty poor news for Canadians. (And frankly, there's not that many Mexican students at Cornell, so I don't think this policy change will affect them greatly.) Meanwhile, schools like Penn (which is not need blind to internationals, unlike Cornell) still treat our northern neighbors in a separate pool for financial aid. And they don't even have to worry about recruiting hockey players!

The irony is that Cornell actually has a long history of educating Canadian students outside the hockey rink -- it helps that Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto are fairly close to Ithaca. I don't have any hard numbers in front of me, but it is hard to believe that any other top private university educates more Canadians than Cornell.

Goldwin Smith was Canadian, as is Cornellian billionaire Stephen Jarislowsky, not to mention the peerless Ken Dryden '69. Then, of course, there are those American Cornellians who play a large role in Canadian life, like the GM of the Toronto Raptors and the commissioner of the NHL (who admittedly, not too many Canadians are found of.)

So it will be interesting to see how Canadians hold up at Cornell now that $5.5 MM in yearly support is being diverted away from them. Prior to hearing this news I was actually hoping that new football coach Kent Austin, who spent some time coaching in Canada would bring some strong-willed Canadian players to our football team. And, more importantly, what will happen to our beloved hockey teams?

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on April 22, 2010 (#)

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