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View Diary: Harvard Magazine: America Sucks (104 comments)

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  •  I went to my son's graduation there (10+ / 0-)

    last year. I have never been around so many upper class types in my life. I am working class and my husband grew up in the projects in St Louis. For me, it was kind of like going to the zoo. Very interesting, and very different.

    The first thing that I noticed was the lack of obese individuals. The parents and the students were all on the lean side. Because of my son's connections, I now know many more vegetarians than I ever did in my life, too.

    Yes, class exists in this country- the dirty little secret that none of us are supposed to talk about.

    "though we rush ahead to save our time- we are only what we feel" Neil Young- 1968

    by blindyone on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:48:45 AM PDT

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    •  The Ivies dirty secret (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blindyone, Abra Crabcakeya

      About a 1/3 of the students at my Ivy were on financial aid (which is consistant with my own observations about how many of my friends had aid).  I didn't know until a friend in the office let it slip and told me that they deliberately try to keep the number from circulating.  

      The reason for not circulating the number are probably not so noble, but before blowing off students at those schools, remember that a lot of student and parents worked hard to pay those bills, me and my debt included.

      Harvard actually has kick ass aid (which you likely know).  As a rival schools I hate to say anything good about it (and I don't really like a lot of Harvardians I've meet regardless of the rivilary), however, the amount of aid availible and the number of students who are only elite in the sense that Obama is (aka - hella smart and educated) are much higher than most people are willing to admit.  The Ivies are not the same places they were a decade or two ago.

      I am the Typo Queen. Apologies in advance.

      by sadpanda on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:17:18 AM PDT

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      •  Actually the reverse. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Abra Crabcakeya

        Things were better in the late 60s and 70s.  The Ivies are getting desperate at the loss of especially middle class kids who aren't crazy enough to take on tens of thousands of debt.

        That's why the Ivies are making some effort to significantly increase aid in the form of grants rather than loans.

      •  Harvard does a fantastic job of (2+ / 0-)

        putting a freshman class together. They have great outreach to all areas of our country (with some favorite feeder high schools) and they find talented kids from obscure corners of the world.

        Their financial aid policy was extremely generous from the start, and has even gotten better as my son finished up there. They had a problem a couple of years ago because the parent contribution was a bit high for some middle class parents and the students had to take on extra jobs to help pay their parents' share. Once that became apparent, Larry Summers and the fin aid office started the ball rolling towards eliminating family contributions under a certain income.

        My family income is less than $50,000. so we were a distinct minority there. My kids dealt with it by working summers, and they always had term time jobs. My son learned how to open wine bottles (alumni events) and clean bathrooms (dorm crew) better there than he ever learned at home.

        I wasn't trying to "blow off" the students. I really like my kids' friends. It just is a really different world from anything that I ever experienced before.

        "though we rush ahead to save our time- we are only what we feel" Neil Young- 1968

        by blindyone on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:35:16 AM PDT

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        •  Cool (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blindyone, Abra Crabcakeya

          I was one of those fin aid kids and so were a lot of my friends, once we all started talking about it.

          It always galed me that I'd tell people where I went and they would reply that I must be rich.  No! I was poor as all get up and much poorer for having to pay even a portion of that tuition.  I really wish we could change the perception that the Ivy League is just full of rich kids.  If nothing else it would encourage more talented students who can't afford it to apply.

          And in my experience I never really noticed the difference. My friend whose parents had a private jet didn't act any different for my friends who worked in the kitchens, altough he did have a sweet apartment.  I'm sure there were the upper class kids who would have made me feel out of place, but there weren't many and they weren't people I'd choose to hang out with anyway.  

          So long ramble aside, I think its helpful to highlight how the "elite" is actually a much smaller portion of the Ivies that people think.  I'd rather we focus on how smart the student who go there are then how priviledged. : )

          And as a lucky beneficary of my parents, kudos to you for helping your son through that expensive (but wonderful) experience.

          I am the Typo Queen. Apologies in advance.

          by sadpanda on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:44:15 AM PDT

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