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Hamilton College Numbers Game

At a time when spending in higher education is viewed with increasing suspicion, Hamilton College is trying a new stratagem to justify it.

Meeting with students, Hamilton’s vice-president for administration and finance, Karen L. Leach, “laid out a different way of looking at educational costs than most students and families probably consider, adding that she was simplifying numbers a bit for clarity,” Beckie Supiano reported in the The Chronicle of Higher Education on March 23, 2012. “Students who wanted to get into the finer details, Ms. Leach said, were welcome to stop by her office.”

“Counting all the tuition the college brings in, but subtracting financial aid, Hamilton’s budget is $115 million, she explained. Divided by the enrollment, 1,812 students, that comes to a cost of about $65,470 each. Then subtract the $53,470 the college charges in tuition, fees, and room and board.”

“Each person, even a full-pay student gets at least a $10,000 scholarship,” Leach claims. Of course, what she doesn’t say is what they are spending it on.

“We’ve invested more than $150 million to renovate and expand our academic, residential and recreational facilities in the past decade, but all of our spaces — both old and new — are just the means that enable you to do great things,” Hamilton [1] proclaims on its web site.

“As part of this campaign, Hamilton is seeking $40 million for endowed scholarship aid, $35 million for the new arts facilities and $30 million in unrestricted support for the Annual Fund. Throughout the campaign, a portion of each year’s Annual Fund is being allocated to support the need-blind initiative until the new endowed funds begin generating income,” the college [2] claims.

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia [3].

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