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9 months ago
Admissions Advice
Discussion
Havard
IvyLeague

Does anyone else feel like Havard doesn't like low-income kids?

I do get the title is a little... Contservail. But I've been looking into it and it feels like the culture places like Havard want to cultivate is one of class and excess. Part of it is the actual make-up of their classes, who overwhelmingly are rich. (I remember one statistic where upwards of 23 rich students attend for every one low-income student. Also, their class of 2023 is supposedly one-third legacies.) Havard is open about the edge legacies and athletes have in their admissions practices, which again, favors high-income applicants. Low-income students are known not to participate in ECs at the same rate as high-income ones.

As a low-income student, I don't feel encouraged to apply in all honesty when hearing stuff like this. I get Havard (and the rest of the Ivy League) wants more socio-economic diversity but it also feels like they are too worried about their ranking and keeping their prestige.

(Note: why is there a word limit now?)

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9 months ago[edited]

I would disagree with the general statement because Harvard in fact provides 55% of its undergraduates with financial aid and that 20%+ of its admits have a family income of less than 65,000 (17% on PELL Grants). Furthermore, 70% of those admits receiving aid get 100% of tuition costs granted to them. They currently spend over $200 million annually on financial aid. Those less than 65K, get a full ride.

https://college.harvard.edu/guides/financial-aid-fact-sheet

https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2018/03/the-personal-dimension-of-harvard-financial-aid/

Personally, I do not believe it's the private sector's sole responsibility to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives across lower-income households when publicly funded higher education institutions that are supposed to represent "We the People" are mandated to perform and support their taxpayers. What is ironic is that state schools like UC Berkeley and UCLA and UMichigan are less generous with aid, and more of a meritocracy when it comes to admissions statistics and academic requirements for aid. State schools are supposed to be the level playing field but they rarely are. In America, elite colleges are the "bridge" between connecting the brightest candidates of lower-income families to both furthering graduate education and job opportunities to the best companies in each sector. All Private elites are businesses so they can't focus on one class of income, they figure out how many they can take after they consider 1.) legacies 2.) development candidates who donate heavily 3.) recruited athletes 4.) family members of staff and faculty 5.) VIP applicants like David Hogg and any 6.) deans list candidates that will help the university politically or otherwise in the future in exchange for the favor and lastly 7.) Full paying customers. It's not that different if you want a job at Goldman Sachs. Mind you this cycle Harvard received nearly 60,000 applications for 1650 spots (actually less since 349 deferred admissions last year). So they can really only take 2.2% this year.

The reality is that only wealthy Ivys and Elites like MIT, JHU, RICE, DUKE have all bent the rules and lowered the academic thresholds to BIPOC first-gen, low-income families because of social justice duty, not through obligation. This creates on paper an unfair advantage against White and Asian applicants who need higher and higher test scores and grades to get considered. This is 100% evident when you research and watch youtube videos and see the most Ivy admits that are White or Asian have 99%+ percentile everything 1550 SATs and 35 ACTs while that BIPOC admits who reveal their stats share much lower scores to Stanford and Ivys. Yesterday I watched Class of '24 BIPOC Stanford admit share a 27 ACT composite score and basically said "don't sweat about test scores". The message from White and Asians is that the competition is brutal and you need "spike" after "spike", "LUCK" and hope for a great admissions reader that will advocate for you.

In a fully functional democracy or socialist democracy, the "State" gives its citizens a hand up. That is why in Nordic and many Eurozone countries, higher education is free. Even attending Oxford or Cambridge in the UK is like 1/4th of the US tuition costs. Until we get 85-90% voter participation in America, what's broken will continue to be broken.

There is a much bigger problem with educating the poor in the public sector and that needs to be fixed. Watch this video. It is an extreme example of what I'm talking about. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHfcz6Vv2wY

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9 months ago

So is one of your points that public universities should be the ones providing more aid instead of private universities? Just for clarification

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9 months ago

Harvard and top tier schools are some of the most generous when it comes to financial aid because they have more to spend.

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9 months ago[edited]

What do you mean by "Constervail"? And why are you spelling Harvard "Havard" in multiple places? That typo is rather unforgivable if you are considering applying there. LOL

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🎤9 months ago

I can't spell, sorry. And I thought the fact I don't care enough to spell the school's name right is a big indicator I don't want to go.

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9 months ago

If you don't want to go why rant about the hardest and most prestigious school in America? Your argument was not convincing.

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9 months ago

@VeggieDance I think it’s a pretty reasonable question to ask and get more perspective on. I went to Harvard and I definitely can see how @rayne.rose developed those thoughts (ton of wealthy kids, huge legacy/alumni influence, etc). That said, Harvard really tries to be more inclusive (they spend a ton of time and resources on this).

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🎤9 months ago

Trying and doing are two things. Havard starting giving low-income kids (65,000 and below) free tuition in 2004 or so. That barely changed anything. The problem is that instead of accepting this involves more than really throwing money at it (that all it really feels like they are doing) and understanding that when we hear stories of another person being bribed for admission, or another person getting in because one of their parents donating money... We get discouraged from applying because we start seeing it more as a shelter for the rich than as a place for us. When we hear stories of low-income students having to work multiple jobs, or how being wealthy heavily increases your admissions chances, again, we are discouraged.

The problem is fundamental, as I tried to say in my post. "Broke kids don't go to Havard." As Anthony Abraham Jack put it, "Elite universities are now a bundle of confusing contradictions: They bend over backwards to admit disadvantaged students into their hallowed halls, but then, once the students are there, they maintain policies that only remind students of their disadvantage, but even serve to highlight."

But there is a lot more to it. I feel a lot of my peers could get into Harvard, but they don't apply. Why? Because I feel like they don't try to show us they are a part of our community. I come from a rural area where the community is huge, and a lot of aid and help in that community comes from members within. Colleges who set up panels almost every other month at my school feel a lot more welcoming because they have injected themselves into our community. They come by and are interested in us, a lot of our teachers come from these schools, and they feel like a part of our town. There is only one time an Ivy League came to school, and it was Yale. The representative treated us like crap and even when I walked up to talk to her, she stayed on her phone while I asked her questions. I didn't feel valued. But when more local colleges come-by, they are always alert and perk. They are ready to hear us out and help us, not make us feel like crud.

That's just one example, but I think it starts to show my point. These colleges are willing to throw massive amounts of money, thinking it will admit low-income students, but the problem is far more fundamental and one they need to address head-on if they want us to come so badly.

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🎤9 months ago

Because I'm mad about it. Just because I don't go out and deforest hundreds of acres of land doesn't mean I shouldn't care about it.

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9 months ago

Assigning Harvard and other Ivys/Elites the obligation and responsibility to give all low-income students admittance isn't the answer. Blaming Harvard and the other Ivys/Elites that they are not doing enough when all the public universities are hardly lifting a finger is just re-directing your anger and trying to find a scapegoat. Harvard only has 1500+ spots to dole out every year and there are 3-4 million students that apply to colleges. If they can only accommodate 0.00375% of college applicants, why do you and your friends think you deserve a seat at the table? What did you do to earn $350,000 of college costs for 4 years? They are not your government, rich relatives nor trust fund. I just don't understand why a Private college has a moral and financial obligation to applicants just because they are lower income. It reminds me of all the looters taking advantage of the BLM protests who convinced themselves that pilfering $$$ of private store merchandise like Louis Vuitton bags was payback for not being wealthy. It looked like outright criminal activity to me.

Affirmative action to many college applicants is not fair because their spots are given away to BIPOC low-income students even though their grades, course rigor, ECS, test scores, essays, recommendations, work history, community services, and other metrics are typically higher but to the 96% of applicants that are denied admission, I don't think they feel the same level of anger and frustration you do. They chalk it up to the way Harvard wants to run their school and deal with it.

I don't think their main directive is to fix higher education for poor people nor will it ever be. I don't covet luxury brands and feel I can accept that they exist in the marketplace nonetheless. People will practically sell their soul for an LV Supreme handbag or a Rolex Daytona but it doesn't bother me. I have no problem with the liberties Harvard takes with following its own admissions policy. I have no problem if they want to spend $10 million, $200 million, or $1 billion on financial aid. Fixing higher education for poor people is really not their problem.

What I think their "non sibi" (not for self, but for the country) coda tells them to do is to find a way to create a path for deserving high achieving low-income students that would otherwise be admitted to Harvard if they came from either upper or upper-middle-class backgrounds. This is no different than what Posse or Questbridge or the Gates Foundation are trying to do each year which I feel is commendable and impactful. Thousands and thousands of deserving low-income kids get to attend something like 50+ great colleges including Ivys through these programs. It's a personal choice for Harvard not to participate in Questbridge but I applaud the 6 Ivys do. And for those of you reading this what most people do not know is that the 4-year scholarship is not provided by QB but by the institutions themselves. They pay a fee to QB to facilitate the match and bring the high achieving student to their admissions radar.

I think you and your friends should look into that kind of path rather than being mad at the system. Peace.

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