Members of the student governments of all eight Ivy League institutions in addition to Stanford University, Northwestern University, and the University of Chicago have banded together in an effort to make it easier for first generation and low-income applicants to apply to these schools without having to worry about the costs of the applications. Led by a Brown University student, Viet Nguyen, they’ve called their lobbying effort the “No Apologies Initiative.” And why? Because when Viet Nguyen applied to colleges, he wrote of how he had to send emails to the various schools apologizing for requesting application fee waivers and he doesn’t feel students should have to apologize for these requests.
And we wholeheartedly agree. We’re all for encouraging first generation and low-income students to apply to any and all of the colleges of their dreams and, sometimes, application fees can indeed be prohibitive. So what a nice move it would be for these eleven institutions, including all eight Ivy League universities, to be among the trailblazers in this area. As reports Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs for “The Cornell Daily Sun” in a piece about the “No Apologies Initiative,” “Nguyen, in the three-page initiative, wrote of the ‘humiliating’ process of emailing colleges at the last minute explaining that he could not pay the application fee because of the many other fees associated with applications, including submitting test scores and Advanced Placement credit. ‘My emails were filled with apologies,’ Nguyen wrote. ‘I was apologizing for the inconvenience I was causing. I was apologizing for how embarrassed I felt. I was apologizing for being poor.’ All of the colleges ultimately waived the fees, Nguyen said, but he said the process was ‘convoluted’ and ‘unnecessary.'”
We’re all for anything colleges can do to make it easier, and less convoluted, for low-income and first generation college students to apply.