NEWS FROM OUR COLLEAGUES | Volume 18 | Spring 2004
Harvard Announces New Initiative Aimed at Economic Barriers to College
“Harvard is open to talented students from all economic backgrounds,” says Harvard’s President Lawrence H. Summers
Cambridge, Massachusetts—Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers announced February 28, 2004 a major new initiative designed to encourage talented students from families of low and moderate income to attend Harvard College.
The new initiative has four major components:
- Financial Aid: Beginning next year, parents in families with incomes of less than $40,000 will no longer be expected to contribute to the cost of attending Harvard for their children. In addition, Harvard will reduce the contributions expected of families with incomes between $40,000 and $60,000.
- Recruiting: The College is intensifying its efforts to reach out to talented students across the nation who might not think of Harvard as an option to make sure that they understand Harvard’s long-standing commitment to enrolling students from a wide range of backgrounds and regardless of financial circumstances.
- Admissions: Harvard is reemphasizing, in the context of its highly personalized admissions process, the policy of taking note of applicants who have remarkable accomplishments despite limited resources at home or in their local schools and communities.
- Pipeline: Harvard recently announced the establishment of an intensive summer program—the Crimson Summer Academy—for academically talented high school students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds in the greater Boston area. Each student will participate for three successive summers, beginning after ninth grade, receiving encouragement and preparation to attend a challenging four-year college or university.
“We want to send the strongest possible message that Harvard is open to talented students from all economic backgrounds,” said Lawrence H. Summers, President of Harvard University, who addressed the American Council on Education’s 86th Annual Meeting in Miami on February 29. “Too often, outstanding students from families of modest means do not believe that college is an option for them—much less an Ivy League university. Our doors have long been open to talented students regardless of financial need, but many students simply do not know or believe this. We are determined to change both the perception and the reality.”
[Editor’s note: Reprinted in part with permission from Harvard University’s Harvard Gazette newsletter, February 28, 2004 edition. An extended version of this article is available at: www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/daily/0402/28-finaid.html ]