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No, I won't be making a gift in your honor

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Ya know, critics, man... Critics never got nothin' nice to say, man. You know one thing I notice about critics, man? Is... Critics never ask me about how my day went.

-Eminem, On Fire

 

Yesterday I got this letter from NYU:

Welcome back, [BL1Y]!

This promises to be a very special spring semester at NYU School of Law. In addition to the normal roster of classes and exciting events, we’ll prepare to thank Ricky Revesz as he concludes his remarkable tenure as dean this spring.

Throughout his deanship, Ricky has been a true friend of the students and a champion of student programs, expanding scholarship opportunities, growing the loan repayment assistance program, establishing new clinics, centers and institutes that provide students with opportunities to participate in meaningful professional work while still in law school… and so much more.

I hope you will be able to join Ricky and your fellow recent graduates for some of our upcoming events on campus and around the country. A partial list is shown below, but you can view a full list on and RSVP through our online calendar.

Warm regards,
[Some Lady]

P.S. Please consider making a special gift in Ricky’s honor before his term ends on May 31st. If your gift and my email have crossed paths, thank you for your generosity!

Here's my [annotated] reply:

Ricky's "remarkable tenure" has included a more than 30% increase in tuition since I enrolled in 2005 [double the rate of inflation], and those "expanding scholarship opportunities" include decreasing the number of students receiving awards of half tuition or more [15.2% to 10.2%], and a decrease in the median scholarship award [$17,000 to $15,000]. These disappointing figures come during a time when the school raised more than $400 million from alumni donors.

If the next dean can manage to get NYU's financial house in order, then I might consider making a contribution, but no, I will definitely not be giving any money in Ricky's honor.

However, if you would like to support NYU's alumni and future students, please consider making a contribution to Law School Transparency.

Thanks, and I look forward to eating your free food.

 

To be fair to NYU, the number of students receiving any award jumped from 29.2% to 46.7%. But, that gain was entirely in the less-than-half tuition range, which increased from 14.0% to 36.5%. The rate of full tuition offers also increased, from 6.2% to 7.2%. The big hit comes from people getting half-to-full, which fell from 9% to 3%.

Now let's apply some fuzzy math to that 6% half-to-full drop. We'll assume that the average full-to-half award is 75% of tuition, and that an average less-than-half award is 25%. So, to get a 1 percentage point increase in full tuition awards, we need to lose 1.33 percentage points of full-to-half. [1 x 1 = 1.33 x .75]

That leaves us with 4.67 full-to-halves to redistribute among to the less-than-halves, and here we get a 3:1 conversion rate. [1 x .75 = 3 x .25] So those 4.67 would create 14.01 more less-than-half awards. The actual increase was 17.5%, so we still have 3.49% left unaccounted for. Time for more maths...

One $17,000 scholarship can create 1.13 $15,000 scholarships. [1 x 17 = 1.13 x 15]

So those "expanding scholarship opportunities"? Really just 2.36% of the class getting an award of less than half tuition.

If those 2.36% get the median award, it'll cost NYU just $506,600 a year. In other words, you could maintain this award for 200 years, and not even spend a quarter of the $415+ million raised in the last few years.

Nice legacy, Ricky.

[Read more from BL1Y]


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