Ivy Council debates tuition initiative

by Phil Salinger | 11/9/04 6:00am

Delegates from seven of the eight Ivy League schools convened at Cornell this weekend for the Ivy Council Fall Conference. Topics discussed at the conference ranged from rising tuition costs to academic advising to file-sharing.

The conference's main focus was generating support for the National Tuition Endowment, which is not yet sponsored by all eight Ivies. The endowment, if passed by Congress, would generate money using a variety of sources, such as using the interest from federal student and parent loans and by removing tax-exemption subsidies for private lenders to fund more federal student aid.

Delegates from Columbia University, which has been the main driving force behind the National Tuition Endowment initiative, presented to the conference in hopes of rallying further support.

"It's a great initiative that has considerable student interest at each of the Ivies," said Columbia delegate Stacey Hirsh.

Each school came to the conference with its own agenda and its own list of issues on which it was seeking advice from the other schools.

The Dartmouth delegation of 16 was hoping to find better methods of academic advising, according to delegate Jacques Hebert '07.

Harvard delegates, expecting an overhaul of the Harvard undergraduate curriculum in the near future, looked to other schools for guidance. Among the changes proposed by the Harvard student body are a mandatory international study project and a change from a core curriculum to a set of distribution requirements similar to those at Dartmouth.

The conference "gives us a little more depth and diversity in our decision making," Harvard delegate Samita Mannapperuma said.

File-sharing was another central topic of discussion at the conference. A Cornell delegate mentioned that Cornell has legally purchased the file-sharing program Napster for the entire Cornell community.

Such a situation, according to Hebert, may be appealing but is a long way from happening at Dartmouth.

The conspicuous absence of the weekend was the Yale delegation, which failed to coordinate travel plans after their head delegate and travel coordinator suffered a concussion in a car accident, delegates from other schools said.

Six freshmen delegates, meanwhile, swelled the ranks of Dartmouth's 16-member delegation, which has been smaller in recent years.

At the end of the weekend, the Dartmouth contingent was happy with the range of topics discussed and was looking forward to bringing these issues to the Student Assembly.

"It was a great weekend. It was very productive," Hebert said.

The next Ivy Council conference will be held in the spring at Dartmouth.

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