Misleading numbers

Sean Croston’s otherwise observant editorial misses a detail describing federal financial aid. He uses a number, $65 billion, that is much more than the entire Department of Education budget.

This false figure was invented for a recent Congressional report by combining grants and work-study with loans. As most UR students could explain to the Congress, there’s a difference. Yes, the government allows $50 billion annually in student loans, but 95 percent of those loans are paid back with interest.

The true figure? This year true US government spending on college financial aid is about $13 billion, or less than $1,000 per student.

-Jonathan burdick Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid

Benefits of Greek life

The University always seems to see the worst in what the Greek system brings to the table. I for one can tell you that I – as well as many of my other brothers – would never have had the business acumen to start my own company were it not for the time I spent in drunken bliss at chapter meetings arguing over which initiate to blackball.

Seriously, the Greek system offers learning experiences that the university cannot offer – I speak of leadership, management, philanthropy and marketing among the many.

Just a few statistics – 13 of the past 16 presidents of the United States have belonged to a fraternity. Additionally, the majority of corporate CEOs and board members were members of a fraternity

Why doesn’t the university get it? Fraternities help people become successful. Why? Because of the network they develop, the time they spend marketing and meeting people during rush, the experience in managing a corporate account with legal documentation and by-laws and the experience in negotiating and finding win-win solutions.

Now if we could only get the administration to see this. Oh yes, I forgot – this is unlikely to ever happen. The administration is made up of a bunch of university professors – they don’t have any business sense because they don’t live in the real world.

They have their little Utopia where everyone is equal and nobody’s feelings can get hurt. Wake up! The real world doesn’t work that way – prep the students for success.

And so, I continue to tell the phone solicitors that I will not send one penny of my riches to UR until the administration’s “Utopia” merges with the real world.

-Scott rudder Founder and Vice President, Marketing and SalesInnovative Photonic SystemsAlumni, Class of 1988Sigma Phi Epsilon

Skewed priorities

It is editorials like the one written by Mr. Sean Croston in last week’s edition of the Campus Times that makes me question the priorities of college students.

In his article, “Bush: fuzzy math or fuzzy priorities,” Mr. Croston boldly suggests that it is more worthwhile to spend $87 billion on financing college students’ education than on freeing Iraqi citizens from the rule of an oppressive dictator and aiding them in the process of reconstruction.

It seems, Mr. Croston, that it is not President Bush who refuses to “sacrifice,” but college students such as you who appear to be more concerned with the status of your own financial aid package than with the condition of the Iraqi people.

Do you truly believe that $87 billion is better spent on “doubling your student aid?” Are you so vehemently opposed to American assistance in the reconstruction of a new democratic nation that you are willing to make such an absurd suggestion?

Is comparing the cost of reconstruction to our own tuition bills a valid and intelligent reason for suggesting that we withhold aid from Iraq?

The thought of placing the financing of our own privileged education above the needs of both the citizens of Iraq and the American soldiers who risk their lives to defend their freedom is unthinkable. It is my sincere hope that others on this campus are equally appalled by this assertion. So no, Mr. Croston, “we don’t really need that extra financial aid.”

-Kelly Wentworth Take Five Scholar

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