Six weeks into a process to revamp financial aid protocol at Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB), the school has shared the most recent updates in an ongoing review and re-imagining of how financial aid is awarded.
The decision to reassess the process, which we covered two weeks ago, came not long after a data breach exposed that Stanford had misrepresented how it distributed financial aid. Data analysis revealed that the school had not been been awarding scholarships exclusively on the basis of need, but rather disproportionately based on other criteria including gender, immigration status, and work experience.
Dean Jonathan Levin clarified Stanford’s financial aid policy in a public letter and pledged greater transparency moving forward:
“Stanford GSB’s communications over the years have explained the base level award process, but have not discussed the incremental fellowship awards,” he wrote. “I believe that a preferable approach, going forward, is to be significantly more transparent about the principles and objectives being applied in making financial aid awards, and about how different awards are made. We are committed to working on this for the current admissions cycle.”
In a letter to the Stanford GSB Community on April 10th, Assistant Dean for MBA Admissions and Financial Aid Kirsten Moss shared some of the progress the school has made in recent months, praising the student leaders who have guided much of the process.
“In February, the Student Association conducted several focus groups to learn about our students’ experience with financial aid at the GSB,” Moss wrote, adding that in March many of the focus group participants attended a co-design workshop to prototype new financial aid models. “We will be using these prototypes as the building blocks for the design of a new financial aid process,” she added. This month, the school will conduct additional focus groups with alumni and meet with faculty members from core academic areas.
The school has also established an advisory group made up of faculty, staff, and alumni to counsel its senior leadership and has hired a new financial aid project manager. Christi Opitz, a former Cambridge Associates investment consultant and HP finance department member, will “fully focus on supporting this initiative in the coming months,” noted Moss.