Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Perhaps it's just me being weird about my middle-class-ness (and yeah, I get that I'm pretty privileged, especially being white and all), but this strikes me as sort of mind-boggling:

Harvard University announced on Monday that it would significantly increase the financial aid it offered to middle-class and upper-middle-class students, seeking to allay concerns that elite colleges are becoming too expensive for even relatively well-off families.

The move, to go into effect in the next school year, appears to make Harvard’s aid to students with household incomes from $120,000 to $180,000 the most generous of any of the country’s prestigious private universities. Harvard will generally charge such students 10 percent of their family household income per year, substantially subsidizing the annual cost of more than $45,600.

The skeptic in me said it's just because those wealthy kids' families will end up putting money in Harvard's coffers anyway (but I suppose they won't be endowing any new programs or building gyms or anything). But then I read on and realized that families making $180,000 a year were previously putting $30,000 of that into Harvard each year... You'd hate to have more than one kid, with those kinds of bills. So I get it.

Still, it seems like such a shame that only the wealthiest schools are making it easier for people (including wealthier people) to go to college, when so many people are finding it hard even to pay for a local junior college. Good for Harvard? Sure. But it's too bad they don't have the ability to make the UC system cheaper.

(Also, I think it's amazing how distorted my sense of money and class is. According to the president of Harvard, and you know presidents of Harvard are always right, this change affects the middle class. Apparently you are middle class if you make between $120,000 and $180,000 a year! Are you fucking kidding me!??!? Moments like these are when I remember that I'm never going to have enough money to buy a home.)

On the other hand, had Harvard put some of these programs into place earlier, I could have ended up there instead of Stanford. Which would be weird. And which would maybe make me not as judgmental of Harvard privilege as I am currently...

1 comment:

Bruce said...

Middle class, boy do I feel like shit.