Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Harvard Proves the Value of Free Markets

Harvard University has experienced a year-over-year increase of over 5%, hitting an all-time high of 29,000 applications for only 1,700 spots. This is especially impressive considering the current recession, which has only exacerbated the difficulty of paying for ever-increasing tuitions. Harvard credits their new student aid program, which vastly increases the number of students eligible for university aid, which previously tended to leave middle-income families out of luck:
Admissions Dean William Fitzsimmons says Harvard's generous financial aid packages have encouraged so many students to apply. The financial aid program requires no contribution from families with annual incomes below $60,000 and about 10 percent of income from families that make up to $180,000.
I have written elsewhere how this expanded aid is, despite the press, very non-altruistic, and it seems that even on such a short time frame it's becoming clear that despite the increased outlays on scholarships, the net business effect is quite positive for Harvard. Of course, rather than undermining the aid program, this case illustrates the ability of free markets to benefit all parties involved.

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