Schapiro talks tuition, admissions aboard visiting C-SPAN bus


Sean Su/Daily Senior Staffer

University president Morton Schapiro leaves the CSPAN bus Wednesday morning. Schapiro’s interview touched on NU’s historically high tuition and historically low admission rate, as well as the school’s relationship with the rest of the Big Ten conference.

Sophia Bollag, Web Editor

University President Morton Schapiro spoke with C-SPAN on Wednesday about Northwestern’s historically high tuition and low admissions rate as part of a bus tour the network is conducting among Big Ten conference schools.

The bus, which includes a mobile television studio where Schapiro was interviewed for the network’s morning show “Washington Journal,” travels the country to familiarize communities with C-SPAN.

Several of the questions asked by both the program’s host, Greta Wodele Brawner, and viewers who called in to the program focused on what prospective students can do to gain admission to NU. Schapiro said he tells students who want to attend a selective university like NU to apply to many schools in order to increase their chances.

“It’s a little bit of a crapshoot, to be honest,” he told Brawner. “When you’re only admitting, as we do, 13 percent of applicants, you never know.”

During the interview, Brawner drew attention to NU’s unique position as the only private school in the Big Ten. It is also the smallest, with roughly 8,000 undergraduates, and has one of the highest tuition rates.

In response to questions about NU’s high tuition relative to other schools in the Big Ten, Schapiro stressed most students receive some form of financial aid and that NU is a need-blind institution.

Only about a third of NU students pay the full tuition price, which is roughly $46,000, Schapiro said.

Schapiro and Brawner discussed the value of higher education. Despite recent scrutiny about whether higher education is worth the often large price, Schapiro said he believes a university education has grown more valuable.

“When I graduated college in 1975, it used to take about 23 years to make up for all those costs, the opportunity costs and the direct costs. Now it takes less than 10,” Schapiro said. “So it’s not only a great investment, it’s a better investment than it ever was.”

He also praised the role universities play in society.

“I think we’re leaving the millenials a more difficult world than we were left as a baby boomer by our parents,” Schapiro said. “I want to think that American higher education at a place like Northwestern is really part of the solution, not still another part of the problem.”

After Schapiro’s interview, students were invited to tour the mobile television studio aboard the bus, which parked between Kresge Hall and the McCormick Tribune Center.

The C-SPAN bus is currently touring all 14 universities in the Big Ten Conference to educate students about the network’s programming and its internship opportunities, C-SPAN spokeswoman Chellie Zou said.

The bus will visit Michigan State University on Thursday.

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