Friday, October 8, 2010

Stanford hopes to close financial-aid deficit in four to five years, Hennessy tells Stanford faculty

University President John Hennessy highlighted the endowment’s recovery at Thursday’s Faculty Senate meeting, which also saw a detailed overview of undergraduate admission and financial aid two years into a financial aid overhaul that pressured University finances but erased tuition for hundreds of students’ families.

The endowment’s growth to $13.8 billion this year marked a turnaround from the $4.6 billion drop to $12.6 billion last year, the largest single-year fall in the University’s history. “We’re beginning to see some greater stability,” Hennessy said. “It’s a long way back to where we once were.”

He repeated Stanford Management Company’s comparison between the 10-year performances of Stanford’s principal investments, with a return of 6.9 percent, and the U.S. equity market, which declined over the decade.

“I think it still shows the advantage of a highly diversified portfolio, although in the financial crisis of the last few years, no portfolio was completely safe,” Hennessy said.

“I think going forward, we hope to be able to continue to deliver good returns while ensuring that the endowment can meet its obligation payout to the University,” he added.

Heading into the final year of the Stanford Challenge, a five-year, multi-billion dollar fundraising campaign, Hennessy said the University has seen a “significant” jump in annual giving. It is helping close the deficit in undergraduate financial aid, which Stanford hopes to seal in four to five years, the president said. Alumni must understand the importance of that support when they consider giving, he added.

The endowment payout funds more than $60 million of the financial aid budget this year. The remainder of the $100 million-plus budget is covered by the Stanford Fund, general funds, the Tier II buffer and other sources. Slightly fewer students are receiving financial aid this year than last.

Hennessy’s remarks came after a campus-wide earthquake drill Thursday morning. “I think we discovered that we still have a lot of work to do,” Hennessy said about the community’s readiness. A major earthquake in California is a matter of “when,” not “if,” added law Prof. Hank Greely.

Shaw Talks Test-Score Trends, Recaps Aid

Dean of Undergraduate Admission and Financial Aid Richard Shaw last made a formal report to the faculty two and a half years ago, just as Stanford made a major commitment to more financial aid. On Thursday, he recapped those changes and provided a detailed glimpse at the undergraduate demographic.

The $15.5 million financial aid boost of 2008-2009, which erased parent contributions for families making less than $60,000 and tuition for families making less than $100,000, has helped protect families’ home equity, cost-of-living adjustments and responsibilities to multiple children in college as the economy flagged, Shaw said.

In fiscal year 2010, more freshmen with families making between $100,000 and $200,000 received financial aid, he added. The number of freshmen getting aid in that range dropped back in FY11.

Trends in the entering class include a drop since 2003 in the number of students reporting their class ranks—a “Lake Wobegon effect,” Shaw said. Forty-one percent of the Class of 2014 reported their class ranks to Stanford, compared to 83 percent in 2003.

Median verbal SAT scores for the entering class have hovered between 710 and 730 in the past decade, landing this fall at 720. The median math score this fall was 740—on the high end for the decade—and the median writing score was 730, the highest it has been since that section’s introduction in 2006.

Shaw turned to other universities, telling faculty 26 percent of students admitted to the Class of 2014 also were admitted to UC-Berkeley; 21 percent to UC-Los Angeles; 18 percent to Princeton; 17 percent to Harvard; 15 percent to Yale; 13 percent to UC-San Diego; 14 percent to Duke; and 13 percent to M.I.T.

Of the ’14 admits who did not enroll at Stanford, 32 percent chose Harvard; 16 percent, Yale; 14 percent, Princeton; and 13 percent, M.I.T. UC-Berkeley was not among the top 20 schools those students chose.

At 71.6 percent of 2,340 admits, yield this spring was the highest since at least 1954. Shaw attributed that, at least in part, to connections alumni made with applicants who participated in the pilot alumni-interview program in several U.S. cities last year. The Committee on Undergraduate Admission and Financial Aid found a “very small effect” of the interviews on evaluations of Stanford hopefuls, and will decide the future of the three-year pilot after its wrap-up this year.

Up Next: Libraries, SUES, ROTC

David Spiegel, psychiatry professor and 35-year faculty member, appeared as the new chairman of the Faculty Senate on Thursday. “I should warn you as a psychiatrist that I have never before undertaken group therapy on such a massive scale,” he joked.

The Senate now looks to an Oct. 21 report on the future of Stanford’s libraries, which earlier this year affirmed their support of a massive book-scanning partnership with Google Book Search. On Nov. 4, professors Sue McConnell and James Campbell Ph.D. ’89 are due to deliver an update on the Study of Undergraduate Education at Stanford (SUES), a major review of undergrad curriculum.

When the ad hoc committee on ROTC will report to the faculty is unclear. When U.S. Senate Republicans blocked debate on a proposed repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy last month—a repeal expected when the ad hoc committee formed in March—the timing and likely outcome of a decision at Stanford were thrown into doubt. But the committee is meeting, Spiegel told The Daily, and he is “sure they’ll report sometime this year.”

Rex Jamison, academic secretary to the University, promised: “There won’t be any dragging.”


NYCFan said...

It appears that one-third of all Stanford's cross-admit losses are to Harvard, and further, that while Harvard whips Stanford handily with cross admits, Stanford holds its own or beats all other elites with cross-admits.

Mathacle said...

Make sure that you understand the data. On paper, Harvard only won by 53% over Stanford. Well, too much info is unknown.

NYCFan said...

It is you that don't understand the data. One third of all Stanford's cross admit losses were to Harvard, while Harvard admits constituted only 17% of the cross admit pool.

As you have conceded elsewhere (and own unscientific CC data shows) between 40-50% of Stanford-Harvard cross admits are also admitted elsewhere. Conservatively, 75% of these multiple-school cross admits chose either Harvard or Stanford. As a result, the 212 cross admits who chose Harvard represented between 70-75% of the number who chose one or the other of these schools.

Since Harvard took more cross admits from Stanford than Yale and Princeton combined, and had a smaller cross admit pool with Stanford - on average - than either of them, a 75% cross admit edge for Harvard vs. Stanford translates as a cross-admit edge half that size - or 37.5% - for Yale and Princeton.

The Harvard cross-admit edge over Yale and Princeton combined was equivalent to its edge over Stanford - leading to its 76.5% yield rate vs. Stanford's 71% yield rate (with a large early-admit program and 5% of the class as athletic scholarship recipients.)

Mathacle said...

Harvard cross-admitted 17% of total admits -- 398, and won 32% of Stanford's total losses(664) -- 212. So on paper, Harvard won 53%. But, the rest may not have gone to Stanford, something we did not know from the report. Where did you get those fishy numbers? I probably could figure out the ratios from the report, but I lost interests at this point.

NYCFan said...


I assume you "lost interest" because these numbers blew your earlier "fishy" projections out of the water!

Mathacle said...

I stand by my data and analysis as you don't, and hence Harvard does not, have any proofs to say otherwise. Guess Harvard could not even know how to collect data regarding the cross-admits, and you just have been framed in the H box since day one. Everything you say is just lower my respect on H.

By the way, my data and analysis will always be stapled on the first page of Google.

NYCFan said...

From an editorial in today's Stanford Daily:

Editorial: Admission statistics hold lessons

Monday, October 11th, 2010 | By Editorial Board

...Even with our ascent, the data also show that we have not yet conquered the big three: Harvard, Yale and Princeton. While the yield rate climbed to its highest-ever peak of 71 percent, students who are accepted by both Harvard and Stanford still flock to Cambridge at a nearly three-to-one pace. These numbers are improving to our advantage, with accepted students breaking evenly between the Farm and Yale, but our consistent positioning behind the Big Three in national rankings seems to have a bit of support from the admission data analysis."

Mathacle said...

Don't have too much faith in what they are saying. Like Harvard, they don't quite know this either. The even split between S and Y seems to be the old story. The way they collected data could not tell the whole story. They should not know more than what they released, unless there are data they have not published. The CC data show H and S are 62:38, which could be roughly 3:1 as they indicated.

Here are the matches from CC data
as I released here:

Stanford v.s. HYPM:

S / H= 37.9% / 62.1%
S / P = 42.5% / 57.5%
S / Y = 44.4% / 55.5%
S / M = 56.2% / 43.8%

I am more willing to talk to you if you can be more civilized and not put the 70% H box on your head. Even I am on the Stanford side, but I am more objectively to see this matter.

I tried to find out more from the report, but I failed. The problem is a difficult PIE problem with only partial info available. Trust me, unlike you, I will admit that I am wrong once I am convinced.

Mathacle said...

Also, the yield-to-admit ratio matters the most, as people usually can not see the cross-admit info, while yield-to-admit is public information.

NYCFan said...

The Stanford yield rate is distorted by the huge number of cross admits with the Cali state schools.

Whereas Harvard's top cross admit pools are with Yale, Stanford and Princeton, Stanford's are with Cal, UCLA and Princeton.

Needless to say, Stanford builds up a big edge vs. its less competitive instate "rivals."

Of course the Stanford yield rate is also enhanced by admitting a huge fraction of the class via early admissions, and by filling 5% of the class with (100% yield) "athletic scholarship" recipients.

Mathacle said...

The info you don't know is that the cross-admit pool between Cal and Stanford could have enough content of HYPM, as most top applicants from California applied to some of HYPSM. That is another reason Cal lost so badly on paper. A lot of them could have gone to HYPM, instead of Stanford. The report just did not say this to make Stanford look better.

NYCFan said...

My point is simply that the Stanford "yield rate" is artificially enhanced by including many thousands of applications from Californians ticketed for the relatively less competitive state schools, with a smaller fraction of the pool consisting of cross applicants with the more competitive HYPM rivals.

NYCFan said...

Some details from the Stanford point of view, with bar graphs showing cross-admit data vs, HYPM from 2002-2010:

Mathacle said...

Thanks for the info. I think that we can settle on this now. The CC data are roughly correct for H, Y, M, but off for P.

Thanks again.