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Haverford College

At Haverford, students and administration collaborate to create college’s party policy

in News by

Students’ mixed reactions to the college’s new alcohol policies have been well-documented. Such debate is not the norm at nearby Haverford College, where students generally believe, as a 2009 Bi-College News article put it, that “Haverford’s Alcohol Policy is Better than Everyone Else’s.”

Whereas debates on the best way to handle drinking have been common on Swarthmore’s campus since the beginning of the semester, Haverford has had little trouble of such kind in recent memory. Haverford’s policies differ in many ways from Swarthmore’s, and student support is widespread.

Much of the reason why Haverford’s rules are consistently lauded lies in the fact that students vote on them every year. The policies are controlled, reviewed, and edited by the school’s Joint Student and Administration Alcohol Policy Panel, which then brings a proposal to each year’s Plenary, a student-organized rules convention. The proposal must be approved before it can be enforced.

Student voting on alcohol policy changes is unlike the process at Swarthmore. Although a few students were consulted prior to implementing new rules, some on campus feel that not enough of students’ concerns were taken into consideration. For example, the administration’s decision to ban seniors from raising money through Pub Nite led to significant outrage from students wishing to keep Pub Nite a weekly tradition — and no answers from officials about how to achieve that.

At Haverford, students favor their policies by a large majority.

“We have the full support of the administration and the student body,” said Alexandra Lamacki, co-head of the JSAAPP. She specifically mentioned the annual ratification of drinking rules as a key factor.

“The implementation of the alcohol policy is not completely without problems, but for the most part it is upheld and widely respected by the student body,” Lamacki added.

Haverford student Mike Pavliv, managing editor of the Bi-College News, sees his school’s policies as “laissez-faire.” Students are allowed to drink in any residential house and adjacent areas, and, according to Pavliv, most parties do serve alcohol.

Both Lamacki and Pavliv agree that Haverford campus safety is “very chill” — and they see that as an asset. Safety officials are rarely seeking to punish underage offenders. A student who is sick, or sees a sick student, is encouraged to call campus safety, which then has the responsibility to decide whether to transport the person to the hospital or not. Pavliv believes that Haverford security is less likely to involve itself in parties than security personnel at most colleges.

Pavliv noted a Haverford party last fall in which a person lit a cigarette or joint and set off the smoke alarm. Before local law enforcement arrived as legally mandated, campus safety reached the scene and recommended that all partygoers leave before potentially getting punished by the local police. For Pavliv, that situation is an example of how Haverford safety officers “are very chill regarding intoxication  … and never look to punish said students.”

Just this semester, Swarthmore’s Public Safety has had a marked presence on campus, namely at Disorientation. Due to the increased visibility of Public Safety officers on campus, many Swarthmore students have argued that students become motivated to pre-game extensively, rather than trying to drink during parties — a trend that they believe has ramifications for student safety.

The relationship between students and security at Haverford is a key reason why, according to Pavliv, students feel safe notifying campus safety officers.

Pavliv believes strict policies at other colleges have significant repercussions.

“At a school where drinking is virtually forbidden on campus, like Villanova, students escape off-campus, often to Haverford, to drink, and tend to be far more afraid to call for help when situations get out of control,” Pavliv opined.

Lamacki is a full believer in the effectiveness of Haverford’s relatively lax rules.

“Whereas schools around us have had serious issues concerning alcohol on campus including an alcohol related death, Haverford has never had such problems,” she said.

Not everyone sees Haverford’s alcohol policy as being a happy medium. The national organization Students for Safe Drug Policy gave the college’s policies a D. The group noted that Haverford does not have an official alcohol amnesty policy, which relieves sick students and their helpers of formal, serious punishment — a positive new addition to Swarthmore’s policy. Officials believe the new rule will encourage students to seek help whenever necessary.

The SSDP also dinged Haverford for its ambiguous, difficult-to-find sanctions and punishments for breaking school rules, while approving the clarity of Swarthmore’s alcohol policy, which it gave a B.

This is the most recent installment in a series focusing on alcohol and party policies at peer institutions.

Haverford’s curtails generous financial aid policy

in Around Higher Education/News/Regional News by

Haverford College has decided to end its costly policy of meeting all needed student aid with grants rather than loans, in the latest of several liberal arts college walkbacks on generous aid policies.

Approved by Haverford’s Board of Managers in February, beginning with the class of 2019, Haverford’s aid packages will include loans for students from families making more than $60,000 per year. Depending on the family’s income level, the loan levels range from $1,500 to $3,000 per year. Students from families making fewer than $60,000 per year will continue to receive financial aid packages that do not have a loan component. Haverford’s change in loan policy does not impact Haverford’s admission policy, as Haverford will continue to offer need-blind admissions.

“Our decision to modify our loan policy came out of long-term budget planning discussions,” said Jess Lord, dean of admissions and financial aid at Haverford. “It reflects an effort to bring into equilibrium our deep commitment to access and affordability with the long-term sustainability of the budget.”

Over the course of the past decade, a number of institutions implemented a policy of omitting loans in their financial aid packages for their students, but because of financial sustainability concerns, some institutions have retracted their no-loan policies.

According to Swarthmore’s Vice President for Finance and Treasurer Suzanne Welsh, Haverford’s change in its loan policy does not affect Swarthmore’s no-loan policy. In 2007, the Board of Managers decided to stop including loans in financial aid packages, using grants in the place of loans. Families can still take loans on their own, and many do.

Swarthmore’s endowment was at $1.634 billion at the end of fiscal year 2013, nearly four times as large as Haverford’s endowment of $434 million at the end of fiscal year 2013.

“Swarthmore is well-endowed, so the endowment provides a significant portion of our budget,” Welsh said. “As our endowment has grown and performed well, it has enabled us to provide for growth in our financial aid budget.”

Swarthmore has two primary sources of revenue: student revenues and endowment spending. For the 2013-2014 school year, gross student revenues are $86.4 million, and total financial aid is $30.0 million. Net student revenues comprise $56.4 million, or 44 percent of Swarthmore College’s revenues. Endowment spending comprises $58.8 million, or 46 percent of Swarthmore College’s revenues. Gifts, grants, and other sources of funding comprise the final 10 percent of the college’s revenues, equal to $12.9 million.

At Haverford, gross student tuition revenues are $54.1 million, and total financial aid is $22.1 million. Including room and board revenues, net student revenues comprise $46.7 million, or 56 percent of Haverford College’s revenues. Endowment spending comprises $22.1 million, or 27 percent of Haverford College’s revenues. Compared to Swarthmore, Haverford receives a considerably smaller percentage of its revenue from its endowment, and as a result, a comparatively higher percentage of its revenue from student revenues.

Lord emphasizes that Haverford’s decision to end its loan-free policy is based upon future projections of need for financial aid.

“This decision does not reflect issues with the current Haverford budget or with the health of the endowment,” Lord said. “The financial aid budget has doubled over the past ten years, and the trajectory for all of higher education suggests that this pattern will only continue.”

Welsh anticipates Swarthmore’s financial aid policies to be sustainable as long as the growth in demand for financial aid does not exceed the college’s projections. According to Welsh, sustainability is a primary concern of the finance committee.

“We worry about that a lot,” Welsh said. “Every year, we prepare long-term projections and test them with all sorts of assumptions so that we do as much contingency planning as we can for unforeseen events. But we do not think the sustainability of our financial aid policy is threatened in the near-term absent any major shifts in the economic environment or in the mix of students who apply to Swarthmore.”

The sustainability of financial models is a concern for schools nationwide, especially for institutions with smaller endowments than Swarthmore. For over a decade, the cost of higher education has increased more quickly than family incomes, resulting in an increasing demand for financial aid.

“That is not a sustainable situation, and at some point that will have to end,” Welsh said. “Hopefully family incomes will start to grow again as the economy recovers, but I think there is a lot of pressure on institutions going forward to hold down their tuition increases, which will put pressure on their programs.”

 

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