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Reexamine Financing

To the Editor: While it is almost unthinkable that Penn would actually institute such a tution discount as Ariel Horn suggests ("Some hope for tuition bills," The Daily Pennsylvanian, 2/7/01), her article raises important issues about tuition at private colleges. Last week, the Philadelphia Inquirer featured a six-part investigation of the financial woes afflicting small private colleges in the Philadelphia area. Many of these colleges were suffering because college-bound students would opt for cheaper state schools, who also lure students through merit-based scholarships. Penn obviously does not offer merit aid because of the high caliber of the entire studenty body, but the University could certainly take steps to alleviate its excessively high tuition. Princeton was able to eliminate loans in its fiancial aid package because of its superb returns in the stock market. It baffles me that Penn always touts the prestige and superior academic resources of Wharton, yet we lag behind our competitors in our endowment investment returns. Let's look at Princeton and see what they did right -- and what we did wrong -- and then revise our investment strategy. Also, I read that some private universities set their tution above actual costs so that they can use the excess money for financial aid to others. I am not sure if Penn participates in this practice, but I think it is completely ridiculous for some students to pay more than their fair share. Perhaps the University can lower tution by eliminating this extra cost and we can all have this discount that Horn alludes to in her editorial. Freezing tuition rates is another possibility, since tuition is always increasing far more than the inflation rate.

Harris Arch Wharton '04 Greek system advantages To the Editor: The Greek system never claimed that it is the sole way to meet quality individuals at Penn. However, it does feel by rushing, you are able to meet people and make friends, and by continuing on to pledge, you can end up best friends with students who are surprisingly different than you. It is interesting how non-Greeks have so many misconceptions and preconceived notions about the Penn Greek system. Nearly every Greek institution at Penn has a national charity for which they fundraise. Every year, the Penn Greek system raises thousands of dollars for charities across the nation by hosting philanthropic events. While some may claim that "numerous exist," there isn't a single other student organization that raises money for charities on such a substantial scale. It is also interesting how people that have not had direct experience with the Greek system assume that we are not involved in activities outside our respective houses or associate with peers outside the Greek community. Club sports, activist organizations and student government are great ways to make friends -- and that is why so many Greeks are involved in those activities. I can personally attest to the fact that the Greek system promotes the development of interpersonal skills and emphasizes social responsibility. The Penn Greek system not only offers its own unique opportunities, but allows for us to take advantage of those outside the system as well. Can anyone else personally attest that it doesn't?

George Nanos Engineering '01

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