Monday, December 10, 2007

Harvard increasing aid for mass affluent

Harvard is increasing financial aid for middle class and upper middle class families (which the mass affluent segment would fall into) (free WSJ Digg link). From the article:

Under its new program, to take effect next fall, the Cambridge, Mass., school said undergraduates whose families earn up to $180,000 a year would be asked to pay 10% or less of their incomes annually for the cost of Harvard, which now totals $45,620.


Under the new policy, families making $120,000 to $180,000 will be asked to pay 10% of their incomes. A family earning $120,000 would pay about $12,000, compared with more than $19,000 under current student-aid policies. Families earning below $120,000 would pay a declining percentage of their incomes, down to zero at $60,000 and below.

There is no mention about what families making more than $180,000 will have to pay.

This is great news. The rising cost of education is a problem for many American families. It's good that Harvard is recognizing this. Families making less than $60,000 will not be expected to pay anything for a Harvard education for their children, which will hopefully open this door to some very smart but low income students. Loans are being eliminated from Harvard's financial aid package and being replaced with grants. It's also nice to see a school reduce the burden on the middle class. I don't think any family, lower income or upper middle income should have to mortgage their future to get its children a top notch education. Should they have to make sacrifices? Yes, absolutely. But they shouldn't have to burden themselves and their children with massive debt.

The link to the Harvard release can be found at the Harvard Gazette.

I also found this story about changes to financial aid that Duke University recently made. It gives a little bit of color on what other schools are doing:
Princeton University gained national attention in 2001 when it announced that it would eliminate all loans for students qualifying for need-based aid. Davidson, Amherst and Williams colleges have also eliminated loans.