Thoughts on the New Normal

At the College Board regional conference in Boston last week, I presented a session called “Embracing the New Normal” with Smith College Dean of Admission, Audrey Smith, and Brown University Director of Financial Aid, Jim Tilton.

While much of the session focused on access to and the affordability of education—both public and private—there was still time for an exchange of a more abstract bent. After my two expert colleagues presented evidence about the economic challenges facing all institutions, a counselor from Vermont spoke of the real danger of developing a two tracks in education.

The counselor dealt with many high school students who were the first in their families to head to college. These students simply could not assume the financial burden of their own flagship state university, she said.

My thoughts turned to the access that we provide at The Williston Northampton School. As a 171-year-old school founded on principles of inclusion, we embrace a remarkable socio-economic diversity. Yet our noble mission also has challenges. One of those challenges is to raise funds for endowed scholarships, as some of the elite colleges and universities have accomplished.

At the conference, it hit home to me once again that these efforts will be a priority for Williston in the future.

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