Harvard raises the bar in lowering tuition costs

While Carnegie Mellon has been named a “New Ivy” by Newsweek based on its academic rigor, Harvard University’s aggressive aid campaign has made it clear that our green value in giving aid money just cannot compare.

In Dec. 2007, former Harvard president Larry Summers announced the school’s campaign to make a Harvard education more affordable for the middle class.

In the Zero to 10 Percent Standard, families with incomes between $120,000 and $180,000 are expected to pay 10 percent of their income and the percentages decrease from there until reaching free tuition at $60,000.

According to federal data after the aid announcement, Harvard experienced a 65 percent rise in applications this year.

As Carnegie Mellon ranked 10th in the nation’s most expensive colleges for a second year in a row last year, it’d be great if we could join in on the art of reducing tuition.

In a 2007 admitted student survey, Carnegie Mellon was ranked above its competitors in 26 of 29 areas. Financial aid was one of the three in which it was not.

However, it can’t join the initiative.

“This trend is only among the very, very wealthy [universities],” said former Vice President of Enrollment William Elliott in a 2008 Tartan article. “There is a magnitude of difference between our endowment and Harvard’s.” While this is a fair explanation as to why we can’t offer the same aid, several students have been offered explanations from top officials arguing that the education is worth the price tag. However, this isn’t the right answer; rather, if Carnegie Mellon had Harvard’s endowment, it likely would make the same offer.

In January 2008, Harvard’s endowment surpassed the $34.9 billion mark, while Carnegie Mellon’s just made it over $1 billion, placing it not surprisingly 65th in terms of endowments with Harvard taking the first place.

As the university ranked 22nd by U.S. News & World Report, there’s no doubt of our academic quality.

However, until Carnegie Mellon wins the lottery of endowments, the endowment rankings will continue to place Harvard leagues above us.