From my latest for Al Jazeera:
“Diversity” is a cherished value of American schools – so long as that diversity does not include students whose families earn less than the tuition fee. Elite universities favour those willing to pay to play – and play again until they win.
Only 3.8 percent of American families make more than $200,000 per year. But at Harvard University, 45.6 percent of incoming freshman come from families making $200,000 or more. A mere 4 percent of Harvard students come from a family in the bottom quintile of US incomes, and only 17.8 percent come from the bottom three quintiles.
“We admit students without any regard for financial need – a policy we call ‘need-blind admission’,”Harvard’s website proudly proclaims. Harvard charges $54,496 per year for tuition, room and board, but waives the fees for families making less than $60,000 per year.
This would be a laudable policy were Harvard admitting low-income students in any significant numbers, but they are not. Instead, they fill their ranks with the children of the elite portrayed in Miller’s article – elites who drop hundreds of thousands of dollars on private schools, exorbitant “enrichment” activities, and personal tutors that almost no Americans can afford.
Harvard’s admission is “need-blind” only in that it turns a blind eye to actual need. Like many universities, it increases its number of aid recipients by inflating its price tag. With tuition higher than the median US household income, students from families making $200,000 are now deemed poor enough to qualify for financial aid.
Read The immorality of college admissions at Al Jazeera English.