A Note from the Editor

By Matthew Stone

The Mac Weekly got it wrong last week. And we need to set the record straight.In our lead story on Friday, Sept. 28, “Financial aid numbers dip for a second year,” we miscalculated the percentage of first-year students receiving need-based financial aid. Our result was a number significantly lower than what the actual data reflect. Instead of 45 percent of the current first-year cohort, 66.2 percent of that group received need-based financial aid. We also reported that 51 percent of first-years received need-based financial aid in the fall of 2005 when the actual number was 70.1 percent.

A front-page graph accompanying the story also reflected the mistaken statistics.

The error came out of efforts to calculate the percentage of domestic first-year students receiving need-based financial aid. To calculate the percentage, we mistakenly divided the number of domestic first-year students receiving financial aid by the total number of students in the first-year class, domestic and international, instead of dividing by only the number of domestic students.

The basic premise of our story still stands, albeit on a weaker footing. The percentage of Macalester’s sticker price covered by the average financial aid award has dropped-to 58 percent this fall, down from 65 percent in the fall of 2005-and the percentage of first-year students receiving need-based financial aid has also declined-from 70.1 percent in the fall of 2005 to 66.9 percent in the fall of 2006 to 66.2 percent this year, according to numbers from the Financial Aid office.

Nevertheless, it is inexcusable to publish numbers as far from the truth as we did. We accept full responsibility for our errors and pledge to employ more caution in the future in hopes of avoiding a similar situation.

As Macalester’s only student newspaper, we realize that we have a responsibility to report the news on campus, and to get it right. When we make mistakes, we have the responsibility to let you know.

We also have the responsibility to move on, and to continue to report the news. After all, the only way we can earn and keep our readers’ trust is to learn from our errors, pick up the pieces, and produce the best journalism we can.