New York University’s crown-prince-funded Abu Dhabi branch won’t see students until next summer, but yesterday the school held an opening ceremony and dedication at its downtown (downtown Abu Dhabi) campus.
NYU President John Sexton, a big personality who’s staked a lot on a big plan, talked up some benefits more tangible than the creation of a “global university.”
Notably: while New York City has always been NYU’s trump card in luring applicants, Sexton predicts that generous financial aid at the Abu Dhabi branch (all students to graduate debt-free) will really thrust the school into the big leagues:
“We’re going to be turning down kids who applied early action to us, who would have been easy admits for Harvard or Oxford or Stanford or Cambridge,” NYU President John Sexton said. “When that begins to happen, that makes NYU hot. [It's] not just going to affect just the 100 students that show up at NYUAD next September. That’s going to affect the students that show up here [in New York].”
The Washington Square News tracks down a student who seems to have responded exactly accoding to Sexton’s plan:
Lan Duong, 17, attended the most recent weekend over Thanksgiving break and is an early-decision candidate. Duong has a 4.5 weighted GPA. It was the challenge of such selective admissions that enticed her to apply.
“It’s almost even more prestigious than an Ivy because it’s so selective. I jumped at the challenge,” she said.
Will other, less suggestible students feel the same way? Will Abu Dhabi be able to keep the money rolling in? Will the United Arab Emirates be the new Greenwich Village?