Letter to the editor: International students should have financial aid

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

My freshman year, a student asked Jared Cohon, “Why doesn’t CMU offer financial aid to international students?” Jared Cohon replied, “Well, there is some logic to that. We are an American university.” The student brought up an excellent point. The top 15 universities are located in either the United States or the United Kingdom. If we look at the top 20, we add Switzerland, Canada, and Australia. And so on...

Very few students can afford Carnegie Mellon’s tuition without financial aid. The average financial aid package for a Carnegie Mellon student is over $30,000, and America is the richest country in the world. So why is the luxury of a Carnegie Mellon education made affordable only to Americans?

If all universities followed Carnegie Mellon’s example, we could expect only those who reside in wealthy countries to have a top-of-the-line education.
According to Jared Cohon, this is because Carnegie Mellon is an American university.

American, as used here, literally means residing in the United States. I am an American because I was lucky enough to be born in this wealthy country. An equally accurate description of me would be human. As a human, I see no reason why a Carnegie Mellon education should only be accessible to those who win the pre-birth lottery.

Like Jared Cohon, I believe that Carnegie Mellon should lead by example. However, it is just as important that Carnegie Mellon set the right example. Given the recent celebrations concerning Bill Dietrich’s $265 million donation, I think the time is right to establish financial aid for international students.