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Our Elite Colleges Should Abolish Tuition
Schools like Harvard have become tax-exempt hedge funds with huge returns. Ending tuition would be a form of payback.
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Although Harvard is widely known as one of America’s oldest and most prestigious colleges, that public image is outdated. Over the last couple of decades, the university has transformed itself into one of the world’s largest hedge-funds, with the huge profits of its aggressively managed $36 billion portfolio shielded from taxes because of the educational institution it continues to run as a charity off to one side.

The numbers tell the story. These days Harvard’s 6,600 undergraduates are charged annual tuition of $44,000 per year, with substantial reductions for students from less wealthy families. So student tuition probably contributes much less than $200 million to Harvard’s annual revenue. Meanwhile, the hedge-fund side of Harvard’s operations last year generated a $5 billion return, an amount at least 25 times larger. If all of Harvard’s college students disappeared tomorrow, or attended classes without paying a dime, the financial impact on Harvard, Inc. would be completely negligible.

But although those tuition dollars mean almost nothing to Harvard, they are surely a daunting barrier and burden to almost any American family. An admissions process is flawed when a four-year total price tag approaching $250,000 probably deters many students from even applying.

Harvard claims to provide generous assistance, heavily discounting its nominal list price for many students from middle class or impoverished backgrounds. But the intrusive financial disclosures required by Harvard’s financial aid bureaucracy may be a source of confusion or shame to many working-class households. I also wonder how many lower-income families unfamiliar with our elite college system see such huge costs and automatically assume that Harvard is only open to the very rich.

Meanwhile, even some upper-middle-class parents — who are charged closer to full freight — must wonder if they can afford paying close to a quarter million dollars for a Harvard diploma.

Harvard’s enormous hedge-fund operation has avoided billions of dollars in government taxes. In exchange for this continuing tax benefit, Harvard should abolish all tuition for its undergraduates.

The announcement of a free Harvard education would capture the world’s imagination and draw a vastly broader and more diverse applicant pool, including many high-ability students who had previously limited their aim to their local state college.

Furthermore, everything I’ve said about Harvard applies equally well to most of America’s other top universities including Yale, Princeton and Stanford, which have also become huge untaxed hedge-funds that charge exorbitant tuition. They could just as easily provide free college educations to their students at little financial cost and great social benefit.

In recent decades a greater and greater fraction of our financial, media and political elites have been drawn from among the graduates of a small handful of our top colleges, whose enrollments are enormously skewed toward the wealthy and the well-connected. Having these colleges eliminate their tuition would be an important step toward reversing this unhealthy American polarization.

Ron Unz is a software developer and publisher of The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection.

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(Republished from The New York Times by permission of author or representative)
 
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The Meritocracy Series
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  1. what a brilliant idea. the elite colleges should be like the specialized schools in nyc such as stuyvesant-free!

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  2. Open borders for the Ivy League

    If they want an America with a population of 1 billion, how about a Harvard with 1 million students.

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  3. This is an exellent idea.

    I’d like to see this policy adopted at Harvard, as well as any other private university that can afford to do so (I’m guessing Stanford and Yale are on that list, and probably at least a couple others). However, virtually nothing I’d have liked to have seen come to pass, has actually done so, over the last quarter century. I doubt the next quarter century will be much different, alas. Its great that we still have people who churn out interesting and innovative policy ideas. I mean, what the Hell, everyone needs a hobby, I guess.

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  4. Nah.

    This way you can let in whoever you want who and give them free tuition. For diversity’s sake you understand.

    But the right kind of people, people this school is designed for have no trouble paying the tuition.

    So with one stroke, you keep out Charlotte Simmons (and Charlotte Wong).

    WhoTF wants a grind from NC or wherever? You can get a grind who will fit right in and think right thoughts from… the usual places.

    Meanwhile if you accidentally find some young Von Neumann in Hinterville or Hooterville you actually could give him/her a scholarship if you felt like it.

    Come on, you know what Harvard is. It is a big coed fraternity. And all the brothers and sisters are the State Department, various high ranking government officals, and Wall Street.

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  5. Immigrant from former USSR [AKA "Florida Resident"] says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Dear Mr. Unz:
    And why are those, as you correctly label them, “hedge funds”, do not pay taxes in the first place ?
    Respectfully, F.r.

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  6. The high tuition isn’t a bug, it’s a feature.

    It deters non-elite students whose parents can’t navigate the complex labyrinth of financial aid and scholarships. If Harvard made tuition free (or reasonably affordable) and became a meritocracy, it’d be another Cooper Union.

    Being an elite university isn’t just about high SAT scores and GPAs, it’s also about being a magnet to the children of elites. In fact, what makes Harvard an elite university is that it was established by elites and has been the stomping ground of their college-age scions.

    See this article about GW University.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/college_guide/feature/the_prestige_racket.php?page=all

    It demonstrates how increasing tuition is a surefire strategy for increasing the prestige and profitability of a university.

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    • Replies: @Carlton Meyer
    I agree that wealthy parents are part of the Ivy League admission requirement. Most of the elite legacy families could not compete if just anyone can apply. Great universities graduate very successful people mostly because they apply there. You could take the incoming class of Harvard and force them to attend Kansas State instead and they would go on to great things, mostly because of family connections, and probably graduate with a better education.

    America's most famous and successful entrepreneur was Sam Walton. In his book, he said they stopped recruiting Ivy League grads because they worked less, complained more, and always demanded higher pay. He found that graduates of state schools in the mid-West are best. If you wish to dig into a better scandal, ask why 13% of public university students in California are foreigners (out of state) and 30% at the top schools! The answer is the bureaucracy prefers them as they are more profitable since they pay much higher tuition. Of course taxpayers still pay for most of their "public" education, while many of their children get rejection letters because of a lack of school slots.

    More on this: http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-ln-uc-napolitano-20140930-story.html
    , @Crawfurdmuir
    "The high tuition isn’t a bug, it’s a feature."

    So true. I recall many years ago (before the advent of electronic publishing!) reading that a well-known magazine, the pages of which were filled with full-page advertisements for luxury goods, could easily have charged its subscribers nothing, and, cæteris paribus, shown a substantial profit based solely on its advertising revenues.

    However, cæteris are never really paribus. The magazine's subscription charge served to qualify its subscribers as being the sort of people likely to buy the luxury goods advertised in it. Without that assurance, the publisher would not have been able to persuade its advertisers to pay for the space at its famously high rates.

    High tuition fees at elite universities serve a similar purpose. Their continued existence depends upon maintaining their appeal to the socioeconomic elite. Free tuition and strictly meritocratic admissions policies would be fatal to that business model.

  7. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Ron,

    They’ve already effectively done this. The high nominal tuition prices are just for the purposes of price discrimination: They only make you pay what you can afford:

    https://www.vox.com/2015/4/1/8328091/stanford-tuition-financial-aid

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  8. Harvard claims to provide generous assistance, heavily discounting its nominal list price for many students from middle class or impoverished backgrounds.

    This is a strange and extreme understatement. If you are an American, from a family of four, without a sibling in college, and no family assets, and are accepted to Harvard, you get a 100%, full tuition scholarship if your parents make $150,000.

    If they make less than this, Harvard begins paying room and board as well on top of charging no tuition. Someone “working class,” family income of $65,000 or less, not only gets a full tuition scholarship, but entirely free room and board.

    To take another situation, family income of $200,000 and two kids in college, Harvard would charge tuition of $10,000 a year, less than most public colleges. If you give that family $200,000 in liquid assets on top of their house, it goes up to $20,000 a year.

    But the intrusive financial disclosures required by Harvard’s financial aid bureaucracy may be a source of confusion or shame to many working-class households.

    So we are supposed to feel bad for someone whose kid is going to Harvard, and who will receive ~$250,000 tuition and housing scholarships, because they have to fill out a “confusing” form? Too bad for them, but how about less fortunate parents who are trying to get $3000 Pell Grants for their kids to go to the local community college and have to fill out basically the same forms?

    Meanwhile, even some upper-middle-class parents — who are charged closer to full freight — must wonder if they can afford paying close to a quarter million dollars for a Harvard diploma.

    Nobody who isn’t just plain rich is paying $250,000 for their kid to go to Harvard. My $200,000 in liquid assets (home equity doesn’t count), $200,000 a year in income example is at the high end of “upper middle class” and they would pay about $125,000 over four years.

    Harvard’s enormous hedge-fund operation has avoided billions of dollars in government taxes. In exchange for this continuing tax benefit, Harvard should abolish all tuition for its undergraduates.

    The main beneficiaries of your proposal are rich people who have very smart and likely-to-be-successful children, at the expense of the slightly less rich and privileged student body in general.

    In recent decades a greater and greater fraction of our financial, media and political elites have been drawn from among the graduates of a small handful of our top colleges

    In the case of CEOs of the largest 100 countries, this study shows the opposite to be the case:

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/educate/college/careers/CEOs/news4-7-05.htm

    Ivy league graduate CEOs declined from 14% to 10%, while public college CEOs rose from 32% to 48% between 1980 and 2001. If this trend has reversed, let us know.

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    • Replies: @International Jew

    Nobody who isn’t just plain rich is paying $250,000 for their kid to go to Harvard. My $200,000 in liquid assets (home equity doesn’t count), $200,000 a year in income example is at the high end of “upper middle class” and they would pay about $125,000 over four years.
     
    Dunno, if you're in your 50s (typical of elite-college parents) and all you've got socked away is that, you're on course for a none too comfortable retirement.

    College financial aid, with its clear implication that family assets are there to be plundered, tells us a lot about the tax policy of professors' and college bureaucrats' dreams.
    , @Kyle McKenna
    Agreed, which is why the 'sticker price' of tuition at such schools shouldn't be lowered or eliminated: it should be doubled or tripled. Way too many rich and super-rich kids are paying far less than the actual cost of their education. Any surplus funds thus generated can be applied to financial aid for the less fortunate.

    And yes, the last thing Harvard (or Yale, Princeton and Stanford) needs is more applicants to reject.

  9. The announcement of a free Harvard education would capture the world’s imagination and draw a vastly broader and more diverse applicant pool, including many high-ability students who had previously limited their aim to their local state college.

    There is no reason to believe (1) there are many high-ability, high-work-ethic high school students who are not even applying to the top tier of colleges (2) such students, or society in general, are harmed by going to “their local state college.”

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  10. I can’t understand why, if you want to write about higher education, you’d attack Harvard, one of the shining jewels of American society, renowned and envied by foreigners on every continent, and not those institutions that are destroying the lives of hundreds of thousands of our young countrymen.

    Everyday sleazy trade school colleges trick young Americans into taking on student loans to a degree than permanently damages their welling being, for the entire rest of their life.

    No ability to buy a house, start a family in a responsible bourgeois manner, take on a SBA loan, with the weight of this debt hanging on them, impossible to even discharge in bankruptcy.

    All of this is funded by the American taxpayer to the large extent the loans aren’t repaid.

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    • Replies: @Maj. Kong

    I can’t understand why, if you want to write about higher education, you’d attack Harvard, one of the shining jewels of American society, renowned and envied by foreigners on every continent, and not those institutions that are destroying the lives of hundreds of thousands of our young countrymen.
     
    Harvard is the Kremlin of Cultural Marxism. It deliberately discriminates against white traditionalist Christians (come to think of it, didn't they found Harvard), and in favor of Jews, Blacks, Latins, and Chinese princelings.

    (As a Catholic, I'm personally more invested into fixing ND and Georgetown)

    When you are the lead dog, as Harvard is, everyone else is sniffing your ass. They maintain an exclusionary admission policy, but to a man (Borjas and perhaps 3-4 others) they want unrestricted immigration.
    , @A Gargoyle
    Well, I resent Harvard because of its legacy admissions policies. I know several mediocre people who are pretty confident that simply because they're Harvard alumni, their even more mediocre children are highly likely to be admitted. I know several people with far smarter children - better children actually - who are seriously worried about what it would take to rise above the cacophony of extra-curricular fictions and secure a place in a second-tier university. That doesn't sit too well, since I'm subsidizing Harvard's tax dollars with my own.
  11. I’d rather see these private hege funds be taxed than be free. As others have pointed out, they already have very generous financial aid packages for even the middle or upper middle class, so this would mostly benefit the rich.

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  12. In the ‘common lore’ of the American people, Harvard, Yale, Princeton and the likes, no matter the facts of economic assistance, are beyond reach except for a tiny privileged minority. But if you think about that in terms of raw demographics, it is absolutely true in any case, no matter where your roots are. And, once enrolled in the Ivy League, you’ve exited the mundane world of common people and become of the elite class. In this regard, it doesn’t matter where you came from, at the end of the day the facts reinforce what amounts to a class society. It’s a fact there are a few, rare instance, that leapfrog the odd outsider to the top. The Ivy League can be one such avenue.

    In respect to ‘public relations’ the Ron Unz proposal makes sense .. the best available to the best, no matter economic origins. But still, we would not have escaped class as much as promoted the brightest to the top tier class where a 1st criteria is economic success and they’ll have those doors of opportunity opened. I’m not convinced this is avenue to social justice in education. But at least the Unz proposal should provoke debate.

    Democracy favors the privileged if only because those more selfish persons have (above all) an aptitude to subvert the rules to their own advantage; for there to be a rich community, there must be lesser communities which can be ‘capitalized’ on or that is to say taken advantage of.

    Taking advantage of entire classes of people somehow works. That is until a more overt greed sets in, example given, when the wealth represented in a society’s labor becomes managed for the economic elites as a hedge fund at the societal level; to feed the greed at the apex of the western democracies class structures. In this respect, when labor has reached junk bond status, the elite schools have utterly failed when producing an alumni (ruling elite) who cannot see maintaining a healthy societal under-girding is essential to their own future. It’s a repeated story of revolutions which are generally a messy business.

    The more interesting proposal (to me) is this: why not a blind employment lottery based on test scores solely, with no inkling of educational institution (even so far as no institutional education at all) but based solely on aptitude for any given job? How would the Ivy League fare insofar as any (future) outsized representation in the worlds of government and business (not to mention law and politics.) Suddenly those institutions education might not look nearly as attractive.

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  13. I totally support this mericratic idea about higher education. You and Steven Pinker should run for presidency which can do much needed educational reform (health care reform done by obama already). The campaign message should be educational reform to face new challenge from globalization.

    Or at least run for Harvard presidency to jump start the new change from top.

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  14. @JohnnyWalker123
    The high tuition isn't a bug, it's a feature.

    It deters non-elite students whose parents can't navigate the complex labyrinth of financial aid and scholarships. If Harvard made tuition free (or reasonably affordable) and became a meritocracy, it'd be another Cooper Union.

    Being an elite university isn't just about high SAT scores and GPAs, it's also about being a magnet to the children of elites. In fact, what makes Harvard an elite university is that it was established by elites and has been the stomping ground of their college-age scions.

    See this article about GW University.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/college_guide/feature/the_prestige_racket.php?page=all

    It demonstrates how increasing tuition is a surefire strategy for increasing the prestige and profitability of a university.

    I agree that wealthy parents are part of the Ivy League admission requirement. Most of the elite legacy families could not compete if just anyone can apply. Great universities graduate very successful people mostly because they apply there. You could take the incoming class of Harvard and force them to attend Kansas State instead and they would go on to great things, mostly because of family connections, and probably graduate with a better education.

    America’s most famous and successful entrepreneur was Sam Walton. In his book, he said they stopped recruiting Ivy League grads because they worked less, complained more, and always demanded higher pay. He found that graduates of state schools in the mid-West are best. If you wish to dig into a better scandal, ask why 13% of public university students in California are foreigners (out of state) and 30% at the top schools! The answer is the bureaucracy prefers them as they are more profitable since they pay much higher tuition. Of course taxpayers still pay for most of their “public” education, while many of their children get rejection letters because of a lack of school slots.

    More on this: http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-ln-uc-napolitano-20140930-story.html

    Read More
  15. @Lot
    I can't understand why, if you want to write about higher education, you'd attack Harvard, one of the shining jewels of American society, renowned and envied by foreigners on every continent, and not those institutions that are destroying the lives of hundreds of thousands of our young countrymen.

    Everyday sleazy trade school colleges trick young Americans into taking on student loans to a degree than permanently damages their welling being, for the entire rest of their life.

    No ability to buy a house, start a family in a responsible bourgeois manner, take on a SBA loan, with the weight of this debt hanging on them, impossible to even discharge in bankruptcy.

    All of this is funded by the American taxpayer to the large extent the loans aren't repaid.

    I can’t understand why, if you want to write about higher education, you’d attack Harvard, one of the shining jewels of American society, renowned and envied by foreigners on every continent, and not those institutions that are destroying the lives of hundreds of thousands of our young countrymen.

    Harvard is the Kremlin of Cultural Marxism. It deliberately discriminates against white traditionalist Christians (come to think of it, didn’t they found Harvard), and in favor of Jews, Blacks, Latins, and Chinese princelings.

    (As a Catholic, I’m personally more invested into fixing ND and Georgetown)

    When you are the lead dog, as Harvard is, everyone else is sniffing your ass. They maintain an exclusionary admission policy, but to a man (Borjas and perhaps 3-4 others) they want unrestricted immigration.

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    • Replies: @Lot

    Harvard is the Kremlin of Cultural Marxism.
     
    You really believe that, or is that hyperbole?

    In fact, Harvard accurately reflects the views of its students, faculty, and donors: elitist center-leftism, with a big dose of nerd triumphalism and capitalist-glorification, since these groups are very nerdy and have reaped the benefits of capitalism.

    It deliberately discriminates against white traditionalist Christians (come to think of it, didn’t they found Harvard), and in favor of Jews, Blacks, Latins, and Chinese princelings.
     
    Harvard's affirmative action program is no secret, and it does not benefit Jews or Asians, who are excluded from the ~18% of the class set aside for NAMs. Nor do they benefit much from the substantial preference for athletes and the smaller and real preference for a few students from the empty square states, which favors non-Jewish whites. I'd guess these two preferences outweigh the alumni/rich guy preference that benefits Jews, but I can't say for sure, and neither can you.

    As for Chinese princelings, supposedly the number you need to donate to get your average-for-upper-class kid into Harvard is $5 million. I have no problem with that myself, they subsidize the rest of the students, who further benefit from being in a dating/marriage pool with a liberal dose of heirs and heiresses in addition to all the nerds. There are other schools that are more purely IQ admission, like Cal Tech and to a lesser degree U Chicago. I think Harvard's model makes more sense, and so do most kids, but I'm glad for this type of diversity.

    While we're on the topic, Ron's article, and a few others I've seen, overestimate the percentage of Jews in the Harvard student body. They tend to be thinly sourced, such as off-hand estimates from the campus Hillel, and accepted as gospel.

    They maintain an exclusionary admission policy, but to a man (Borjas and perhaps 3-4 others) they want unrestricted immigration.
     
    So talk about the problems with unselective immigration, not make left-wing populist attacks on "exclusionary" Harvard.
  16. “End tuition” literally means “stop teaching”. Is that what we want?

    I always chuckle when I see ads for charter schools that are “tuition-free”. That’s quite an admission!

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  17. Even with existing tuition structures, Harvard is already cutthroat competitive. I do agree free tuition for prestigious schools is a good idea this agrees with my and other’s idea to offer free public high-ed for all high-IQ students. We need policy that benefits America’s best and brightest, since those individuals tend to create the most economic value

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  18. @Reg Cæsar
    "End tuition" literally means "stop teaching". Is that what we want?

    I always chuckle when I see ads for charter schools that are "tuition-free". That's quite an admission!
    Read More
    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    There's good metonymy and there's bad.

    And there's revealing metonymy, as when a word meaning "expanding one's mind" degrades into "shrinking one's wallet".

    It's all in Chapter 29 of The Elements of Eloquence.

    I prefer the way Sting used the word.
  19. @David
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metonymy

    There’s good metonymy and there’s bad.

    And there’s revealing metonymy, as when a word meaning “expanding one’s mind” degrades into “shrinking one’s wallet”.

    It’s all in Chapter 29 of The Elements of Eloquence.

    I prefer the way Sting used the word.

    Read More
  20. Why not simply do this: Record classes of all the top professors across the country and make them freely available to anyone with a PC and DVD player.

    Look most coursework is just sitting on ones duff in a giant classroom with 200-300 other students. That’s nothing to brag about and not really needed anymore. These sorts of learning environments/classrooms are pre-internet and personal computer.

    So why not bypass the colleges altogether(and do away with credentialism as well, since that’s the main reason one attends a Ivy League) by putting together a coursework package consisting of a DVD and textbook. Now you can learn the same material that is taught in Harvard or MIT.

    Read More
    • Replies: @A Gargoyle
    It's being done (though be careful how you define "top professors"). In 10 years time this whole argument will probably be moot, and the Ivy Leagues will be regarded as the (mildly) academic analogues of whites-only golf clubs. The best education will be available on your iPad12 or Hololens, and anyone who wastes too much time listening to non-interactive monologues in oak-paneled rooms will suffer an embarrassing fate when they finally strut into the workforce.

    But good software systems take time to write, and logic propagates through society even more slowly. So in the meantime, the injustices of the admissions process are extremely relevant.
  21. @Lot
    I can't understand why, if you want to write about higher education, you'd attack Harvard, one of the shining jewels of American society, renowned and envied by foreigners on every continent, and not those institutions that are destroying the lives of hundreds of thousands of our young countrymen.

    Everyday sleazy trade school colleges trick young Americans into taking on student loans to a degree than permanently damages their welling being, for the entire rest of their life.

    No ability to buy a house, start a family in a responsible bourgeois manner, take on a SBA loan, with the weight of this debt hanging on them, impossible to even discharge in bankruptcy.

    All of this is funded by the American taxpayer to the large extent the loans aren't repaid.

    Well, I resent Harvard because of its legacy admissions policies. I know several mediocre people who are pretty confident that simply because they’re Harvard alumni, their even more mediocre children are highly likely to be admitted. I know several people with far smarter children – better children actually – who are seriously worried about what it would take to rise above the cacophony of extra-curricular fictions and secure a place in a second-tier university. That doesn’t sit too well, since I’m subsidizing Harvard’s tax dollars with my own.

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    • Replies: @Lot

    Well, I resent Harvard because of its legacy admissions policies.
     
    It is actually a pretty small preference. Look at this way: if 12% of Harvard students are children of alumni, and it would be 6% without the preference, that means 6% of the class is for alumni preference. These aren't exact figures, but are close enough to get my point across.

    For this 6% of slots, for an annual class size of 1675, that means we're talking about 100 students a year. But each class size that is about 1700 students will eventually have about 2 kids each, producing an average of 3000 college age kids a year (rounding 3400 down to 3000 to account for students marrying each other).

    So, you have 3000 children of alumni, nearly all of whom probably would like to go to Harvard too. About 100 will get in on their own merit, leaving 2900 people competing for the 100 "legacy" seats. Given we're talking about kids whose parent(s) went to Harvard, that is some pretty stiff competition for those 100 seats. As a result, the "boost" you get from being a legacy is really pretty small. And even if my estimates are off by a factor of 2, that still means little Johnny has to beat out 14 other legacy candidates for his legacy slot, kids whose IQ probably averages around 130 with at least a few you need to beat out above 140.

    Also, since there is a smaller preference of younger siblings, nephews, and grandchildren, the I may be just as well overstating the small legacy preference.

    And once those students are there, if they don't perform as well as their peers, it will be reflected in their grades, which unlike admission you can't buy.
  22. @rod1963
    Why not simply do this: Record classes of all the top professors across the country and make them freely available to anyone with a PC and DVD player.

    Look most coursework is just sitting on ones duff in a giant classroom with 200-300 other students. That's nothing to brag about and not really needed anymore. These sorts of learning environments/classrooms are pre-internet and personal computer.

    So why not bypass the colleges altogether(and do away with credentialism as well, since that's the main reason one attends a Ivy League) by putting together a coursework package consisting of a DVD and textbook. Now you can learn the same material that is taught in Harvard or MIT.

    It’s being done (though be careful how you define “top professors”). In 10 years time this whole argument will probably be moot, and the Ivy Leagues will be regarded as the (mildly) academic analogues of whites-only golf clubs. The best education will be available on your iPad12 or Hololens, and anyone who wastes too much time listening to non-interactive monologues in oak-paneled rooms will suffer an embarrassing fate when they finally strut into the workforce.

    But good software systems take time to write, and logic propagates through society even more slowly. So in the meantime, the injustices of the admissions process are extremely relevant.

    Read More
    • Replies: @JohnnyWalker123
    The primary purpose of attending an elite college isn't to get an education.

    The primarily purpose is to a get an elite credential which will allow one to access a high-paying career track. Elite employers value elite credentials. Goldman hires from Harvard not because there aren't equally bright kids elsewhere. It hires from Harvard because Harvard is perceived as America's most elite institution and Goldman also considers itself America's most elite institution.
  23. @JohnnyWalker123
    The high tuition isn't a bug, it's a feature.

    It deters non-elite students whose parents can't navigate the complex labyrinth of financial aid and scholarships. If Harvard made tuition free (or reasonably affordable) and became a meritocracy, it'd be another Cooper Union.

    Being an elite university isn't just about high SAT scores and GPAs, it's also about being a magnet to the children of elites. In fact, what makes Harvard an elite university is that it was established by elites and has been the stomping ground of their college-age scions.

    See this article about GW University.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/college_guide/feature/the_prestige_racket.php?page=all

    It demonstrates how increasing tuition is a surefire strategy for increasing the prestige and profitability of a university.

    “The high tuition isn’t a bug, it’s a feature.”

    So true. I recall many years ago (before the advent of electronic publishing!) reading that a well-known magazine, the pages of which were filled with full-page advertisements for luxury goods, could easily have charged its subscribers nothing, and, cæteris paribus, shown a substantial profit based solely on its advertising revenues.

    However, cæteris are never really paribus. The magazine’s subscription charge served to qualify its subscribers as being the sort of people likely to buy the luxury goods advertised in it. Without that assurance, the publisher would not have been able to persuade its advertisers to pay for the space at its famously high rates.

    High tuition fees at elite universities serve a similar purpose. Their continued existence depends upon maintaining their appeal to the socioeconomic elite. Free tuition and strictly meritocratic admissions policies would be fatal to that business model.

    Read More
  24. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    I think part of the problem with Harvard is the limited number of students they accept for admission. Maybe a better use of their money would be to help some other colleges become better so that there would be more top colleges for smart U.S. students to attend. As Harvard and other top universities continue their outreach programs to an ever greater number of students, and as the U.S. population continues to increase, and as more admissions slots are set aside for international and minority students, it would probably be very helpful to have more top-notched colleges with more financial aid for our country’s very smart students to attend.

    Read More
    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    Your education has nothing to do with what college you went to so I don't see how an outreach program does anything. I worked with a woman who got her BS at a Cal State and her MS at Cal Tech. Obviously, she decided to get serious enough to rise past all the typical undergrads who just take classes and complete the basic requirements of a degree (like me).

    There is nothing stopping any undergrad from engaging the professors and getting involved with their research. That will get you farther academically than going to the right school.

    However, you won't get to try and ask Thirston Howell's daughter out on a date at State U..
  25. @A Gargoyle
    It's being done (though be careful how you define "top professors"). In 10 years time this whole argument will probably be moot, and the Ivy Leagues will be regarded as the (mildly) academic analogues of whites-only golf clubs. The best education will be available on your iPad12 or Hololens, and anyone who wastes too much time listening to non-interactive monologues in oak-paneled rooms will suffer an embarrassing fate when they finally strut into the workforce.

    But good software systems take time to write, and logic propagates through society even more slowly. So in the meantime, the injustices of the admissions process are extremely relevant.

    The primary purpose of attending an elite college isn’t to get an education.

    The primarily purpose is to a get an elite credential which will allow one to access a high-paying career track. Elite employers value elite credentials. Goldman hires from Harvard not because there aren’t equally bright kids elsewhere. It hires from Harvard because Harvard is perceived as America’s most elite institution and Goldman also considers itself America’s most elite institution.

    Read More
  26. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Mr Unz. Content on your site has grown in quality and quantity.

    May I suggest adding a larger section at the top of the front page where you can feature 6-8 articles at once instead of just one at a time?

    Also adding in a feature where you can sort by weekly most viewed, most commented, and featured article section where you hand pick important articles would be nice.

    Thanks

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    This is very true, Kudos to Ron Unz for putting in the effort to put this website together.

    When I read my local newspapers or national magazines, the content often seems boring and superficial compared to much of the writing that's available here.

    It's become a really good website.... I think it's got the potential to actually 'make a difference' ... And that's a difficult thing to do these days.

  27. As formulated, this is a horrendously bad idea. With this plan, you are only granting a huge new advantage to an already highly advantaged class. Graduates of Harvard will not only be able to leverage their (presumed) superior intellectual and social skills and the Harvard brand name, but now they’ll be able to leverage the fact that they will have minimal or no college debt upon graduation. In the meantime, the poor suckers who didn’t make the cut and have to go to less prestigious schools will have to suffer through life with the added burden of colossal student loans. Even third rate state schools are charging $20k-30k in tuition these days. What about the students who are perhaps in the top 5%, but not the top 1% and didn’t get into Harvard? They’ll be in so much debt, they’ll practically be indentured servants to the lucky Harvard graduates. As a father of several small children, that’s definitely not the world I want them to live in!

    Better idea, simple: If Harvard really wants to leverage its enormous resources for the common good, it should figure out a way to extend a Harvard education and the Harvard brand to 10x as many students as it currently does. Distance education and satellite campuses, along with reduced tuition, would be one of the best ways for Harvard to help better society through education (rather than research). But they won’t do that, because it would dilute the brand and they’d risk being top of the heap. Their brand is way more important to them than helping society.

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  28. I really like this kind of stealth socialist/populist jiu jitsu. Either make the tuition free, or lose your non-profit status.

    In fact, I think all non-profits should be paying taxes anyway.

    I also like the idea of making student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Lot

    I really like this kind of stealth socialist/populist jiu jitsu.
     
    I have no problem with the style, just the target. In the list of problems with American education, Harvard's tuition and admission policies isn't even in the top 100 problems.

    Ron's writings I often find frustrating in that he is obviously brilliant, but he defends strange ideas (Hispanic crime/IQ issues are the foremost) for no reason I can ever discern. Populist articles like this for his elite audience is another.


    In fact, I think all non-profits should be paying taxes anyway.
     
    That's harder than you think to do, as a matter for accounting. Better to just raise the inheritance tax IMO.

    I also like the idea of making student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy.
     
    They used to be. And like other bankruptcy "reforms," the banksters and collection agency lobbyists found a few examples of people "abusing" the system as their justification to screw over impulsive, ill, unlucky, and/or innumerate, but otherwise decent middle class people they improvidently loaned way to much money too.
  29. @Lot

    Harvard claims to provide generous assistance, heavily discounting its nominal list price for many students from middle class or impoverished backgrounds.
     
    This is a strange and extreme understatement. If you are an American, from a family of four, without a sibling in college, and no family assets, and are accepted to Harvard, you get a 100%, full tuition scholarship if your parents make $150,000.

    If they make less than this, Harvard begins paying room and board as well on top of charging no tuition. Someone "working class," family income of $65,000 or less, not only gets a full tuition scholarship, but entirely free room and board.

    To take another situation, family income of $200,000 and two kids in college, Harvard would charge tuition of $10,000 a year, less than most public colleges. If you give that family $200,000 in liquid assets on top of their house, it goes up to $20,000 a year.

    But the intrusive financial disclosures required by Harvard’s financial aid bureaucracy may be a source of confusion or shame to many working-class households.
     
    So we are supposed to feel bad for someone whose kid is going to Harvard, and who will receive ~$250,000 tuition and housing scholarships, because they have to fill out a "confusing" form? Too bad for them, but how about less fortunate parents who are trying to get $3000 Pell Grants for their kids to go to the local community college and have to fill out basically the same forms?

    Meanwhile, even some upper-middle-class parents — who are charged closer to full freight — must wonder if they can afford paying close to a quarter million dollars for a Harvard diploma.

    Nobody who isn't just plain rich is paying $250,000 for their kid to go to Harvard. My $200,000 in liquid assets (home equity doesn't count), $200,000 a year in income example is at the high end of "upper middle class" and they would pay about $125,000 over four years.

    Harvard’s enormous hedge-fund operation has avoided billions of dollars in government taxes. In exchange for this continuing tax benefit, Harvard should abolish all tuition for its undergraduates.
     
    The main beneficiaries of your proposal are rich people who have very smart and likely-to-be-successful children, at the expense of the slightly less rich and privileged student body in general.

    In recent decades a greater and greater fraction of our financial, media and political elites have been drawn from among the graduates of a small handful of our top colleges
     
    In the case of CEOs of the largest 100 countries, this study shows the opposite to be the case:

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/educate/college/careers/CEOs/news4-7-05.htm

    Ivy league graduate CEOs declined from 14% to 10%, while public college CEOs rose from 32% to 48% between 1980 and 2001. If this trend has reversed, let us know.

    Nobody who isn’t just plain rich is paying $250,000 for their kid to go to Harvard. My $200,000 in liquid assets (home equity doesn’t count), $200,000 a year in income example is at the high end of “upper middle class” and they would pay about $125,000 over four years.

    Dunno, if you’re in your 50s (typical of elite-college parents) and all you’ve got socked away is that, you’re on course for a none too comfortable retirement.

    College financial aid, with its clear implication that family assets are there to be plundered, tells us a lot about the tax policy of professors’ and college bureaucrats’ dreams.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Lot

    Dunno, if you’re in your 50s (typical of elite-college parents) and all you’ve got socked away is that, you’re on course for a none too comfortable retirement.
     
    I hear you, just pushing back against defining "rich" as "richer than me, my top 2% income is just upper middle class" that Ron was playing into.

    Remember, we're not counting home equity, and the obvious thing to do once jr. gets into Harvard is pay off your mortgage entirely so your brokerage account doesn't count against him. $200,000 and a paid off house, plus a kid that is unlikely to ever require your financial help, plus $200,000 a year in income, plus getting the max from social security,* is still pretty well off.

    *The current max at normal retirement age is $31,704 a year, to go up with inflation for life. Just the man getting that much, plus his wife getting maybe 70% of that, plus Medicare benefits, and no commuting expense sounds pretty comfortable to me even with nothing else to go on.

    Also, if you can wait until the day you turn 70, the max social security benefit is $41,100/person/year. And you don't have to make that much to get it, almost every man who we'd call upper middle class will get something close to the max.

    I live well in an expensive city and my annual non-housing spending is only about 20K a year.
  30. What’s the point of attracting more applicants when they’re already rejecting ~99 out of 100?

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  31. @Maj. Kong

    I can’t understand why, if you want to write about higher education, you’d attack Harvard, one of the shining jewels of American society, renowned and envied by foreigners on every continent, and not those institutions that are destroying the lives of hundreds of thousands of our young countrymen.
     
    Harvard is the Kremlin of Cultural Marxism. It deliberately discriminates against white traditionalist Christians (come to think of it, didn't they found Harvard), and in favor of Jews, Blacks, Latins, and Chinese princelings.

    (As a Catholic, I'm personally more invested into fixing ND and Georgetown)

    When you are the lead dog, as Harvard is, everyone else is sniffing your ass. They maintain an exclusionary admission policy, but to a man (Borjas and perhaps 3-4 others) they want unrestricted immigration.

    Harvard is the Kremlin of Cultural Marxism.

    You really believe that, or is that hyperbole?

    In fact, Harvard accurately reflects the views of its students, faculty, and donors: elitist center-leftism, with a big dose of nerd triumphalism and capitalist-glorification, since these groups are very nerdy and have reaped the benefits of capitalism.

    It deliberately discriminates against white traditionalist Christians (come to think of it, didn’t they found Harvard), and in favor of Jews, Blacks, Latins, and Chinese princelings.

    Harvard’s affirmative action program is no secret, and it does not benefit Jews or Asians, who are excluded from the ~18% of the class set aside for NAMs. Nor do they benefit much from the substantial preference for athletes and the smaller and real preference for a few students from the empty square states, which favors non-Jewish whites. I’d guess these two preferences outweigh the alumni/rich guy preference that benefits Jews, but I can’t say for sure, and neither can you.

    As for Chinese princelings, supposedly the number you need to donate to get your average-for-upper-class kid into Harvard is $5 million. I have no problem with that myself, they subsidize the rest of the students, who further benefit from being in a dating/marriage pool with a liberal dose of heirs and heiresses in addition to all the nerds. There are other schools that are more purely IQ admission, like Cal Tech and to a lesser degree U Chicago. I think Harvard’s model makes more sense, and so do most kids, but I’m glad for this type of diversity.

    While we’re on the topic, Ron’s article, and a few others I’ve seen, overestimate the percentage of Jews in the Harvard student body. They tend to be thinly sourced, such as off-hand estimates from the campus Hillel, and accepted as gospel.

    They maintain an exclusionary admission policy, but to a man (Borjas and perhaps 3-4 others) they want unrestricted immigration.

    So talk about the problems with unselective immigration, not make left-wing populist attacks on “exclusionary” Harvard.

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  32. @International Jew

    Nobody who isn’t just plain rich is paying $250,000 for their kid to go to Harvard. My $200,000 in liquid assets (home equity doesn’t count), $200,000 a year in income example is at the high end of “upper middle class” and they would pay about $125,000 over four years.
     
    Dunno, if you're in your 50s (typical of elite-college parents) and all you've got socked away is that, you're on course for a none too comfortable retirement.

    College financial aid, with its clear implication that family assets are there to be plundered, tells us a lot about the tax policy of professors' and college bureaucrats' dreams.

    Dunno, if you’re in your 50s (typical of elite-college parents) and all you’ve got socked away is that, you’re on course for a none too comfortable retirement.

    I hear you, just pushing back against defining “rich” as “richer than me, my top 2% income is just upper middle class” that Ron was playing into.

    Remember, we’re not counting home equity, and the obvious thing to do once jr. gets into Harvard is pay off your mortgage entirely so your brokerage account doesn’t count against him. $200,000 and a paid off house, plus a kid that is unlikely to ever require your financial help, plus $200,000 a year in income, plus getting the max from social security,* is still pretty well off.

    *The current max at normal retirement age is $31,704 a year, to go up with inflation for life. Just the man getting that much, plus his wife getting maybe 70% of that, plus Medicare benefits, and no commuting expense sounds pretty comfortable to me even with nothing else to go on.

    Also, if you can wait until the day you turn 70, the max social security benefit is $41,100/person/year. And you don’t have to make that much to get it, almost every man who we’d call upper middle class will get something close to the max.

    I live well in an expensive city and my annual non-housing spending is only about 20K a year.

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  33. @map
    I really like this kind of stealth socialist/populist jiu jitsu. Either make the tuition free, or lose your non-profit status.

    In fact, I think all non-profits should be paying taxes anyway.

    I also like the idea of making student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy.

    I really like this kind of stealth socialist/populist jiu jitsu.

    I have no problem with the style, just the target. In the list of problems with American education, Harvard’s tuition and admission policies isn’t even in the top 100 problems.

    Ron’s writings I often find frustrating in that he is obviously brilliant, but he defends strange ideas (Hispanic crime/IQ issues are the foremost) for no reason I can ever discern. Populist articles like this for his elite audience is another.

    In fact, I think all non-profits should be paying taxes anyway.

    That’s harder than you think to do, as a matter for accounting. Better to just raise the inheritance tax IMO.

    I also like the idea of making student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy.

    They used to be. And like other bankruptcy “reforms,” the banksters and collection agency lobbyists found a few examples of people “abusing” the system as their justification to screw over impulsive, ill, unlucky, and/or innumerate, but otherwise decent middle class people they improvidently loaned way to much money too.

    Read More
    • Replies: @map
    "They used to be. And like other bankruptcy “reforms,” the banksters and collection agency lobbyists found a few examples of people “abusing” the system as their justification to screw over impulsive, ill, unlucky, and/or innumerate, but otherwise decent middle class people they improvidently loaned way to much money too."

    Then that is the lender's problem. If they are unwilling and unable to do the due diligence necessary to lend money profitably, then they deserve to lose what they lent. The obligation to make sure that money is repaid is not one that solely falls on the borrower. The lender has responsibilities, too.

    Furthermore, what difference does it make how many abusers they found? Life is war. One need only ask if such institutions actually serve your interests in some way. If they don't then negating their survival is fair game. Remember, the educational system is designed to support Harvard. When you cause waves of bankruptcies and school closures across the system, you affect Harvard. Hell, I would even allow lenders to collect their debts by attaching to University assets.

    "That’s harder [nonprofits paying taxes] than you think to do, as a matter for accounting. Better to just raise the inheritance tax IMO."

    Not at all. First, you start assessing taxes on property. Then, you attach taxation on revenue streams that pay salaries. That's where the non-profit component gets wasted: money that should have been profits is chalked up to salary. Then, voila, nonprofit.

    "I have no problem with the style, just the target. In the list of problems with American education, Harvard’s tuition and admission policies isn’t even in the top 100 problems."

    The problems in America come from the top. Wipe out the top, and the problems go away.
    , @Walter Sobchak
    " Harvard’s tuition and admission policies isn’t even in the top 100 problems."

    Not so. Harvard's tuition and admissions polices are the core of the self promotion mechanism of the elite that controls the country. Smashing their power before they provoke a shooting war between the blue and red states is the most important thing we could do to save the republic.
  34. @A Gargoyle
    Well, I resent Harvard because of its legacy admissions policies. I know several mediocre people who are pretty confident that simply because they're Harvard alumni, their even more mediocre children are highly likely to be admitted. I know several people with far smarter children - better children actually - who are seriously worried about what it would take to rise above the cacophony of extra-curricular fictions and secure a place in a second-tier university. That doesn't sit too well, since I'm subsidizing Harvard's tax dollars with my own.

    Well, I resent Harvard because of its legacy admissions policies.

    It is actually a pretty small preference. Look at this way: if 12% of Harvard students are children of alumni, and it would be 6% without the preference, that means 6% of the class is for alumni preference. These aren’t exact figures, but are close enough to get my point across.

    For this 6% of slots, for an annual class size of 1675, that means we’re talking about 100 students a year. But each class size that is about 1700 students will eventually have about 2 kids each, producing an average of 3000 college age kids a year (rounding 3400 down to 3000 to account for students marrying each other).

    So, you have 3000 children of alumni, nearly all of whom probably would like to go to Harvard too. About 100 will get in on their own merit, leaving 2900 people competing for the 100 “legacy” seats. Given we’re talking about kids whose parent(s) went to Harvard, that is some pretty stiff competition for those 100 seats. As a result, the “boost” you get from being a legacy is really pretty small. And even if my estimates are off by a factor of 2, that still means little Johnny has to beat out 14 other legacy candidates for his legacy slot, kids whose IQ probably averages around 130 with at least a few you need to beat out above 140.

    Also, since there is a smaller preference of younger siblings, nephews, and grandchildren, the I may be just as well overstating the small legacy preference.

    And once those students are there, if they don’t perform as well as their peers, it will be reflected in their grades, which unlike admission you can’t buy.

    Read More
    • Replies: @A Gargoyle
    That's a reasonable point. Though apparently the legacy intake for 2018 is 16%.
    However, the acceptance rate for legacies vs non-legacies is 30% vs 5%.
    It's hard to tell how much of that can be ascribed to alumni children being smarter and better prepared, but, regardless, numbers like those leave scope for a lot of resentment.

    And resent I do.
    , @Anonymous
    It is actually a pretty small preference. Look at this way: if 12% of Harvard students are children of alumni, and it would be 6% without the preference, that means 6% of the class is for alumni preference. These aren’t exact figures, but are close enough to get my point across.

    Legacy admissions also have another important effect: they help justify affirmative action (AA). Whenever working-class Whites try to end AA, the entire American ruling class cites legacy admissions as proof that AA is necessary to overcome “White privilege.” In other words, the fact that legacy admissions helped this wealthy WASP get into Yale (and later Harvard Business School and the Oval Office) helps justify discriminating against working-class Hungarian-Americans from Cleveland in the name of “diversity.”
  35. It seems to me that zero tuition for non-rich kids at elite schools makes sense, but what makes even more sense is zero tuition for capable non-rich kids at non-elite schools who end up with a triple whammy of being not-rich, not as bright, and end up walking away with a diploma from a non-elite school.

    Read More
    • Replies: @A Gargoyle
    So they can get an average job, work a few years, and pay off their debts. Problem solved.
    Who would you rather pay for them? The non-elite schools certainly don't have the funds to do it, and personally I'd prefer that they pay for themselves rather than dipping into my pocket. I'd be perfectly happy to pay for third world kids to learn to read, or for some slum-born genius to get a full-tuition scholarship, but I have no interest in supporting the absurd current US system by ponying up for a bunch of mediocrities to go and "study" psychology at Mediocre State just so they'll have the financial freedom to get a slightly larger TV off their first paychecks as a telemarketer.

    Harvard is in a different category since it could clearly afford to foot the bill itself, partly due to the tax subsidies we're forced to give it.

  36. @Lot

    Well, I resent Harvard because of its legacy admissions policies.
     
    It is actually a pretty small preference. Look at this way: if 12% of Harvard students are children of alumni, and it would be 6% without the preference, that means 6% of the class is for alumni preference. These aren't exact figures, but are close enough to get my point across.

    For this 6% of slots, for an annual class size of 1675, that means we're talking about 100 students a year. But each class size that is about 1700 students will eventually have about 2 kids each, producing an average of 3000 college age kids a year (rounding 3400 down to 3000 to account for students marrying each other).

    So, you have 3000 children of alumni, nearly all of whom probably would like to go to Harvard too. About 100 will get in on their own merit, leaving 2900 people competing for the 100 "legacy" seats. Given we're talking about kids whose parent(s) went to Harvard, that is some pretty stiff competition for those 100 seats. As a result, the "boost" you get from being a legacy is really pretty small. And even if my estimates are off by a factor of 2, that still means little Johnny has to beat out 14 other legacy candidates for his legacy slot, kids whose IQ probably averages around 130 with at least a few you need to beat out above 140.

    Also, since there is a smaller preference of younger siblings, nephews, and grandchildren, the I may be just as well overstating the small legacy preference.

    And once those students are there, if they don't perform as well as their peers, it will be reflected in their grades, which unlike admission you can't buy.

    That’s a reasonable point. Though apparently the legacy intake for 2018 is 16%.
    However, the acceptance rate for legacies vs non-legacies is 30% vs 5%.
    It’s hard to tell how much of that can be ascribed to alumni children being smarter and better prepared, but, regardless, numbers like those leave scope for a lot of resentment.

    And resent I do.

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  37. @Shawn
    It seems to me that zero tuition for non-rich kids at elite schools makes sense, but what makes even more sense is zero tuition for capable non-rich kids at non-elite schools who end up with a triple whammy of being not-rich, not as bright, and end up walking away with a diploma from a non-elite school.

    So they can get an average job, work a few years, and pay off their debts. Problem solved.
    Who would you rather pay for them? The non-elite schools certainly don’t have the funds to do it, and personally I’d prefer that they pay for themselves rather than dipping into my pocket. I’d be perfectly happy to pay for third world kids to learn to read, or for some slum-born genius to get a full-tuition scholarship, but I have no interest in supporting the absurd current US system by ponying up for a bunch of mediocrities to go and “study” psychology at Mediocre State just so they’ll have the financial freedom to get a slightly larger TV off their first paychecks as a telemarketer.

    Harvard is in a different category since it could clearly afford to foot the bill itself, partly due to the tax subsidies we’re forced to give it.

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  38. @Lot

    I really like this kind of stealth socialist/populist jiu jitsu.
     
    I have no problem with the style, just the target. In the list of problems with American education, Harvard's tuition and admission policies isn't even in the top 100 problems.

    Ron's writings I often find frustrating in that he is obviously brilliant, but he defends strange ideas (Hispanic crime/IQ issues are the foremost) for no reason I can ever discern. Populist articles like this for his elite audience is another.


    In fact, I think all non-profits should be paying taxes anyway.
     
    That's harder than you think to do, as a matter for accounting. Better to just raise the inheritance tax IMO.

    I also like the idea of making student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy.
     
    They used to be. And like other bankruptcy "reforms," the banksters and collection agency lobbyists found a few examples of people "abusing" the system as their justification to screw over impulsive, ill, unlucky, and/or innumerate, but otherwise decent middle class people they improvidently loaned way to much money too.

    “They used to be. And like other bankruptcy “reforms,” the banksters and collection agency lobbyists found a few examples of people “abusing” the system as their justification to screw over impulsive, ill, unlucky, and/or innumerate, but otherwise decent middle class people they improvidently loaned way to much money too.”

    Then that is the lender’s problem. If they are unwilling and unable to do the due diligence necessary to lend money profitably, then they deserve to lose what they lent. The obligation to make sure that money is repaid is not one that solely falls on the borrower. The lender has responsibilities, too.

    Furthermore, what difference does it make how many abusers they found? Life is war. One need only ask if such institutions actually serve your interests in some way. If they don’t then negating their survival is fair game. Remember, the educational system is designed to support Harvard. When you cause waves of bankruptcies and school closures across the system, you affect Harvard. Hell, I would even allow lenders to collect their debts by attaching to University assets.

    “That’s harder [nonprofits paying taxes] than you think to do, as a matter for accounting. Better to just raise the inheritance tax IMO.”

    Not at all. First, you start assessing taxes on property. Then, you attach taxation on revenue streams that pay salaries. That’s where the non-profit component gets wasted: money that should have been profits is chalked up to salary. Then, voila, nonprofit.

    “I have no problem with the style, just the target. In the list of problems with American education, Harvard’s tuition and admission policies isn’t even in the top 100 problems.”

    The problems in America come from the top. Wipe out the top, and the problems go away.

    Read More
  39. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Lot

    Well, I resent Harvard because of its legacy admissions policies.
     
    It is actually a pretty small preference. Look at this way: if 12% of Harvard students are children of alumni, and it would be 6% without the preference, that means 6% of the class is for alumni preference. These aren't exact figures, but are close enough to get my point across.

    For this 6% of slots, for an annual class size of 1675, that means we're talking about 100 students a year. But each class size that is about 1700 students will eventually have about 2 kids each, producing an average of 3000 college age kids a year (rounding 3400 down to 3000 to account for students marrying each other).

    So, you have 3000 children of alumni, nearly all of whom probably would like to go to Harvard too. About 100 will get in on their own merit, leaving 2900 people competing for the 100 "legacy" seats. Given we're talking about kids whose parent(s) went to Harvard, that is some pretty stiff competition for those 100 seats. As a result, the "boost" you get from being a legacy is really pretty small. And even if my estimates are off by a factor of 2, that still means little Johnny has to beat out 14 other legacy candidates for his legacy slot, kids whose IQ probably averages around 130 with at least a few you need to beat out above 140.

    Also, since there is a smaller preference of younger siblings, nephews, and grandchildren, the I may be just as well overstating the small legacy preference.

    And once those students are there, if they don't perform as well as their peers, it will be reflected in their grades, which unlike admission you can't buy.

    It is actually a pretty small preference. Look at this way: if 12% of Harvard students are children of alumni, and it would be 6% without the preference, that means 6% of the class is for alumni preference. These aren’t exact figures, but are close enough to get my point across.

    Legacy admissions also have another important effect: they help justify affirmative action (AA). Whenever working-class Whites try to end AA, the entire American ruling class cites legacy admissions as proof that AA is necessary to overcome “White privilege.” In other words, the fact that legacy admissions helped this wealthy WASP get into Yale (and later Harvard Business School and the Oval Office) helps justify discriminating against working-class Hungarian-Americans from Cleveland in the name of “diversity.”

    Read More
  40. @Anonymous
    I think part of the problem with Harvard is the limited number of students they accept for admission. Maybe a better use of their money would be to help some other colleges become better so that there would be more top colleges for smart U.S. students to attend. As Harvard and other top universities continue their outreach programs to an ever greater number of students, and as the U.S. population continues to increase, and as more admissions slots are set aside for international and minority students, it would probably be very helpful to have more top-notched colleges with more financial aid for our country's very smart students to attend.

    Your education has nothing to do with what college you went to so I don’t see how an outreach program does anything. I worked with a woman who got her BS at a Cal State and her MS at Cal Tech. Obviously, she decided to get serious enough to rise past all the typical undergrads who just take classes and complete the basic requirements of a degree (like me).

    There is nothing stopping any undergrad from engaging the professors and getting involved with their research. That will get you farther academically than going to the right school.

    However, you won’t get to try and ask Thirston Howell’s daughter out on a date at State U..

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  41. @Lot

    Harvard claims to provide generous assistance, heavily discounting its nominal list price for many students from middle class or impoverished backgrounds.
     
    This is a strange and extreme understatement. If you are an American, from a family of four, without a sibling in college, and no family assets, and are accepted to Harvard, you get a 100%, full tuition scholarship if your parents make $150,000.

    If they make less than this, Harvard begins paying room and board as well on top of charging no tuition. Someone "working class," family income of $65,000 or less, not only gets a full tuition scholarship, but entirely free room and board.

    To take another situation, family income of $200,000 and two kids in college, Harvard would charge tuition of $10,000 a year, less than most public colleges. If you give that family $200,000 in liquid assets on top of their house, it goes up to $20,000 a year.

    But the intrusive financial disclosures required by Harvard’s financial aid bureaucracy may be a source of confusion or shame to many working-class households.
     
    So we are supposed to feel bad for someone whose kid is going to Harvard, and who will receive ~$250,000 tuition and housing scholarships, because they have to fill out a "confusing" form? Too bad for them, but how about less fortunate parents who are trying to get $3000 Pell Grants for their kids to go to the local community college and have to fill out basically the same forms?

    Meanwhile, even some upper-middle-class parents — who are charged closer to full freight — must wonder if they can afford paying close to a quarter million dollars for a Harvard diploma.

    Nobody who isn't just plain rich is paying $250,000 for their kid to go to Harvard. My $200,000 in liquid assets (home equity doesn't count), $200,000 a year in income example is at the high end of "upper middle class" and they would pay about $125,000 over four years.

    Harvard’s enormous hedge-fund operation has avoided billions of dollars in government taxes. In exchange for this continuing tax benefit, Harvard should abolish all tuition for its undergraduates.
     
    The main beneficiaries of your proposal are rich people who have very smart and likely-to-be-successful children, at the expense of the slightly less rich and privileged student body in general.

    In recent decades a greater and greater fraction of our financial, media and political elites have been drawn from among the graduates of a small handful of our top colleges
     
    In the case of CEOs of the largest 100 countries, this study shows the opposite to be the case:

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/educate/college/careers/CEOs/news4-7-05.htm

    Ivy league graduate CEOs declined from 14% to 10%, while public college CEOs rose from 32% to 48% between 1980 and 2001. If this trend has reversed, let us know.

    Agreed, which is why the ‘sticker price’ of tuition at such schools shouldn’t be lowered or eliminated: it should be doubled or tripled. Way too many rich and super-rich kids are paying far less than the actual cost of their education. Any surplus funds thus generated can be applied to financial aid for the less fortunate.

    And yes, the last thing Harvard (or Yale, Princeton and Stanford) needs is more applicants to reject.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Clyde

    And yes, the last thing Harvard (or Yale, Princeton and Stanford) needs is more applicants to reject.
     
    Harvard, Stanford, etc could easily sort through 100,000 applicants if selection was done 90% via a long IQ test and 10% by fair social engineering meaning whites are included. Plus limiting applicants to US citizens born here on US soil. IOW foreigners are on their own and can build their own Yales and Princetons.
  42. I have my own personal Harvard right here. I am reading Toynbee’s abridged illustrated History published 1972. 470 pages. Hardcover, bought for $5 at the huge local flea mkt 7 or so years ago. The internet is getting boring, has reduced my attention span, but not so much that I cannot read through it.

    http://www.amazon.com/A-Study-History-Abridged-Illustrated/dp/0318548941

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/A-Study-of-History-by-Jane-Caplan-and-Arnold-Toynbee-1972-Hardcover-/151636404307?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item234e3be853

    *Oh, and the manosphere is infantile according to> http://uncabob.blogspot.com/

    Read More
    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    I have my own personal Harvard right here. I am reading Toynbee...
     
    There's also this:

    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/652940.A_Harvard_Education_in_a_Book
  43. @Kyle McKenna
    Agreed, which is why the 'sticker price' of tuition at such schools shouldn't be lowered or eliminated: it should be doubled or tripled. Way too many rich and super-rich kids are paying far less than the actual cost of their education. Any surplus funds thus generated can be applied to financial aid for the less fortunate.

    And yes, the last thing Harvard (or Yale, Princeton and Stanford) needs is more applicants to reject.

    And yes, the last thing Harvard (or Yale, Princeton and Stanford) needs is more applicants to reject.

    Harvard, Stanford, etc could easily sort through 100,000 applicants if selection was done 90% via a long IQ test and 10% by fair social engineering meaning whites are included. Plus limiting applicants to US citizens born here on US soil. IOW foreigners are on their own and can build their own Yales and Princetons.

    Read More
  44. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Fuck Harvard and the ivys.

    They’ve reached the point now where they do more harm than good for both thier students and the larger society.

    Even if I was smart enough to be accepted and got a free ride scholarship, I honestly wouldn’t want anything to do with them.

    There are far more noble and fulfilling things one can do with thier lives than get involved with these allegedly ‘elite’ schools.

    Read More
  45. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Anonymous
    Mr Unz. Content on your site has grown in quality and quantity.

    May I suggest adding a larger section at the top of the front page where you can feature 6-8 articles at once instead of just one at a time?

    Also adding in a feature where you can sort by weekly most viewed, most commented, and featured article section where you hand pick important articles would be nice.

    Thanks

    This is very true, Kudos to Ron Unz for putting in the effort to put this website together.

    When I read my local newspapers or national magazines, the content often seems boring and superficial compared to much of the writing that’s available here.

    It’s become a really good website…. I think it’s got the potential to actually ‘make a difference‘ … And that’s a difficult thing to do these days.

    Read More
  46. A thousand years ago when I was a student at Queens College (it was a pretty good school before Lindsay forced “open enrollment” on the NYC colleges) my mother (a waitress in a diner, my father was a postman) served a customer who was bragging that his son was attending Harvard. Overhearing the conversation, my mother was horrified at the amount of tuition Harvard charged, and thought that since I had been admitted to college based solely on my high school record I must be much smarter than that guy whose father had to pay for college. After all, no sensible person would pay good money for something you could get free. Yes, tuition at Queens was $0.00 in those days- oh, there was a registration fee of $50 per semester, and you needed to cough up the money for used textbooks if you didn’t want to sit for hours in the library waiting for one of the library’s copies to became available.

    Read More
  47. @Lot

    I really like this kind of stealth socialist/populist jiu jitsu.
     
    I have no problem with the style, just the target. In the list of problems with American education, Harvard's tuition and admission policies isn't even in the top 100 problems.

    Ron's writings I often find frustrating in that he is obviously brilliant, but he defends strange ideas (Hispanic crime/IQ issues are the foremost) for no reason I can ever discern. Populist articles like this for his elite audience is another.


    In fact, I think all non-profits should be paying taxes anyway.
     
    That's harder than you think to do, as a matter for accounting. Better to just raise the inheritance tax IMO.

    I also like the idea of making student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy.
     
    They used to be. And like other bankruptcy "reforms," the banksters and collection agency lobbyists found a few examples of people "abusing" the system as their justification to screw over impulsive, ill, unlucky, and/or innumerate, but otherwise decent middle class people they improvidently loaned way to much money too.

    ” Harvard’s tuition and admission policies isn’t even in the top 100 problems.”

    Not so. Harvard’s tuition and admissions polices are the core of the self promotion mechanism of the elite that controls the country. Smashing their power before they provoke a shooting war between the blue and red states is the most important thing we could do to save the republic.

    Read More
  48. Sounds like a nice idea but I don’t buy it. When you go to the fed’s net price calculator you find Harvard as way the least expensive “real” college in the country, nestled down there with rabbinical schools and bible colleges. It is already extraordinarily cheap on a net basis.

    All that would happen with this proposal is that kids from the elite would get a free ride. I don’t think you can much address the hedge fund problem unless you are willing to socialize the wealth somehow, or expand the brand to make it more universal (EdX on steroids, say). Good luck with those.

    Read More
  49. I heard that Caltech, in response to a $900m dollar gift from Gordon Moore, considered making tuition free for all students. I heard that they decided not to do this because it would vastly increase the applicant pool and reduce the reputation of the Institute.

    Although its endowment is not as large as Harvard’s, the Caltech per-student endowment was quite large (900 undergrads for $2 billion compared to 7000 undergraduates for $37 billion–a factor of 2.8 in Harvard’s favor)…

    Read More
  50. completely ot.

    I see comments that suggest replying to other comments in the plural rather than as a series of individual replies.
    There is no mechanism for notifying all those replied to.
    Is this something to add? Is it desirable? is a multiplicity of comments desirable?

    Read More
  51. I agree, but members of a certain political party would prefer make college cheap for those least intellectually qualified to benefit, for the worst colleges. The tuition at Harvard, while high, is seldom paid in full and the high-IQ students with their connections quickly get good jobs, anyway. Maybe another idea is to make tuition free and then have students pay it back later, with terms much more lenient than a typical student loan. That’s kinda how alma mater donations works. If you can fill Harvard and the other top schools with the best minds in the world who will create the future Googles, Apples, Teslas, and Facebooks, the schools will get far more in donations than they will ever collect in tuition.

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  52. Ivy League schools should be demolished. They’ve proven to be a breeding ground for NWOer types and are only contributing to the further consolidation of global elitist interbreeding. The intersection of money and power interbreeding at these cockroach infested dens is irrefutable.

    Unless their admissions policies can be drastically revamped they should be blown to smithereens.

    Read More
  53. […] people who oppose affirmative action, and Ralph Nader. Their main selling point is promising to abolish tuition. Unz says he isn’t seeking to abolish affirmative action at Harvard but that “our focus is […]

    Read More
  54. @Clyde
    I have my own personal Harvard right here. I am reading Toynbee's abridged illustrated History published 1972. 470 pages. Hardcover, bought for $5 at the huge local flea mkt 7 or so years ago. The internet is getting boring, has reduced my attention span, but not so much that I cannot read through it.
    http://www.amazon.com/A-Study-History-Abridged-Illustrated/dp/0318548941

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/A-Study-of-History-by-Jane-Caplan-and-Arnold-Toynbee-1972-Hardcover-/151636404307?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item234e3be853

    *Oh, and the manosphere is infantile according to> http://uncabob.blogspot.com/

    I have my own personal Harvard right here. I am reading Toynbee…

    There’s also this:

    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/652940.A_Harvard_Education_in_a_Book

    Read More
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