Sunday, February 29, 2004


This article about Harvard changing their aid policy is enlightening for a few reasons. First, it tells us that 73.9% of Harvard students come from families earning over $80,250 per year. That means 73.9% of students come from the top 25% of household incomes.

But, even more enlightening I thought was this bit of insight into the administration's attitude:

At Harvard, the idea of eliminating the parental contribution grew out of focus groups with lower-income students last fall. University officials found that many of the students were paying some or all of their parents' share themselves.

This was news to them? It was news that some poor students had to earn extra income to cover the portion of the tuition payment that their parents were supposed to cover under the aid formula? How clueless could they be?

One doesn't have to go to the most elite institutions to get a great education or to achieve great heights in any segment of society, but one can't deny that in plenty of areas it opens doors over and above what one would expect if the benefits were simply the higher quality of education.