In Depth

$2.9 Million Increase in Financial Aid Since Goal Set in 2004 to Go Needs-Blind

There are now 1,091 Phillips Academy students from 46 states and 31 countries. The school hopes to increase diversity of the student body by broadening recruitment efforts and eventually admitting students regardless of financial need. Five percent more students are able to receive financial aid since the budget was reevaluated in 2004 as a result of the Strategic Plan. Financial aid funds have increased by approximately one million dollars per year for the past four years. Chief Financial Officer Stephen Carter said, “Considerably more money has been allocated to financial aid, and [the Trustees, including Carter], have pushed for this very aggressively.” Carter also said, “Some of this would have been added each year anyway to adjust for increases in tuition, but a sizeable amount of the increase paid for incremental aid for students.” To allow for this increase, there has been more fundraising and portions of the endowment have been used. “We have also been blessed with good appreciation in the value of the endowment,” said Carter. Currently, 41 percent of students are able to receive financial aid, whereas only 36 percent of students received aid before the budget was reevaluated. One component of the Strategic Plan focuses on bringing in “youth from every quarter,” a term that has evolved since it was first written in the school’s 1778 constitution. Associate Dean of Admissions Deborah Murphy said, “These plans created by the school are guided by the principles in the 1778 constitution. They are revisions and affirmations of several points made in the constitution.” In order to accept students from different places around the country and the world, the Academy aims to increase the boarding student population to about 75 percent of the student body. Phillips Academy currently has 294 day students, which is 26.9 percent of the student body, and it plans on reducing this number to a constant quarter of the school. This will require new dorms and resources to furnish a dorm, a topic that will be brought up in the upcoming capital campaign. New recruitment efforts include drawing from all the regions of the United States, with a new focus on the Southeast, West and Midwest. States include Oklahoma, Kansas, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, West Virginia and Kentucky. Internationally, recruiting will target China, South Africa, India, Brazil and Great Britain. Last year, admissions officers increased the number of cities they visited to 70. Dean of Admissions Jane Fried said, “Since 2004, we have increased our travel days by 40 percent. We are spending more time in communities spreading the word about Andover, an opportunity that is virtually unknown to many families in many parts of the country.” This 40 percent increase in traveling yielded a 21 percent increase in Andover applicants. “We want to make the school accessible,” said Murphy. The admissions office is also working on new literature and a new admissions DVD. Fried said, “The current Composition of the Student Body Committee, made up of faculty, students and trustees, has invited faculty and student perspectives in recent student/faculty discussion groups and will create a report that will help guide the admission office recruitment over the next five years.” Fried went on to say that resources are limited, so it is useful to have community input on target areas for recruitment. Phillips Academy was also chosen to participate in the Davis Scholars Program, which funds tuition for national and international Andover students. This effort will benefit the diversity of the school. These issues of diversity and recruitment connect to Phillips Academy’s financial aid system. Financial aid has been increasing gradually in past years. In 2004, Phillips Academy awarded $8.9 million in financial aid; this year, it awarded $12.8 million. The average grant is $27, 200 and 10 percent of students have been on complete financial aid since 2004. “We evaluate the financial need of each family based on the total cost of attendance, not just on the total tuition,” said Director of Financial Aid James Ventre. One Strategic Goal is to evolve into a needs-blind admissions system. Increase in endowment and money devoted to tuition costs, more of which will be raised in the next capital campaign, are required to reach this goal.