I knew Harvard was using its funds to drastically increase need-based aid, but I had no idea people were complaining. The NY Times is apparently less optimistic about this than CNN was. While CNN praised this as a great financial burden being lifted off the backs of low and middle-income students with great grades who are headed to Harvard, the NY Times is bothered about potential consequences at other colleges.
The fear, I suppose, is that schools will be more concerned with showing their generosity than with finding the best students. In a worst-case scenario, colleges will be fighting over low-income students, and the brightest minds of the lower class will find themselves in high demand at prestigious schools. How is this a bad thing again?
Harvard is, no doubt, the very model of a successful school. Its alumni are rich and connected, and its foundation’s trust account is enormous. By bringing in the best faculty and providing great facilities, they are setting their graduates up for great success that will come back in the form of alumni donations. Some say Harvard should be free completely to those with the academics to be accepted for enrollment – and it wouldn’t surprise me if this was achieved in a few years at the rate they are going.
More schools should follow Harvard’s lead and work to make university more affordable for its students. The point should be to make it accessible to everyone, not to pick a favorite targeted group.
*Edit: I had referenced a web log called “Wild Upper West” but this site is apparently private now. Since the link didn’t work, I’m removing it..