100 Economics Question of the Day: An Intermittent Blog: Will they make more on Application Fees than this will cost?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Will they make more on Application Fees than this will cost?

In Which I Say Nice Things about Lawrence Summers

Harvard has instituted, as part of Summers's greatest achievement, a new tuition structure. (The story was posted 31 March, so I will for now assume it is not an April Fool's Day joke.)
Harvard had previously waived tuition for its students from families earning less than $40,000.

Don't get me wrong; this structure still doesn't mean that Harvard becomes affordable for all
Harvard...set its annual tuition, room, board and mandatory fees at $43,655 last week.

but it becomes a lot easier to justify applying there if you are in the position of, say, Mark Thoma. Or the author of this blog way back when.

Quoting Thoma:
I know how hard it was for people in my town to get out of there and go to college anywhere, and I know how easy it would have been to slip through the cracks, how close I came to doing just that, so I hope you will bear with me when I push on educational issues. It made a huge difference in my life and I'd hate to see others miss out on their window of opportunity.

It's easy to overlook how little space there may be in that "window of opportunity." It's not that some people wouldn't succeed any way; the host of this show was a waitlisted student; had his alma mater gone co-ed five years earlier--he probably still would have come out of Oberlin or Case Western or Washington University of St. Louis. But it might not have been so easy for him to do so.

"Trickle down" depends on opportunity, which is why the crony capitalism of Bushalliburton's "no-bid," "not required to perform" contracts is opportunity lost.

More later.


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