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  • When you think of Harvard University, your mind  probably conjures up images of beautiful historic  

  • buildings, illustrious professors pacing the  hallowed halls, and preppy students lounging  

  • on manicured lawns. Sure, a degree from Harvard  is valuable, but is it really worth the cost?  

  • Why is Harvard so expensive anyways, and what  exactly do you get for all that tuition money?

  • We can't talk about the outrageous cost of an  elite Harvard education without first taking  

  • a look at why a college degree is so expensive in  general these days. For the 2018-2019 school year,  

  • students at private 4-year colleges paid an  average of $35,830 per year for tuition alone,  

  • meaning a typical 4-year degree costs nearly  $150,000! Add in other costs like books and  

  • supplies, room and board, and you're  looking at a whopping $48,510 per year,  

  • or nearly $200,000 for an undergraduate  degree. The good news is that scholarships  

  • and financial aid do help to ease the burden on  students - when these programs are factored in,  

  • the average tuition cost is actually more  like $14,610 - still not cheap, but it helps!

  • The bad news, though, is that the cost  of a college education has more than  

  • doubled since the 1980s, and the  trend shows no sign of slowing down.  

  • More Americans are pursuing higher  education these days than ever before,  

  • thanks in large part to generous government aid  programs, and schools are struggling to meet  

  • this surge in demand, especially as state  funding fails to keep up with enrollment.

  • Oddly enough, the very programs that are meant  to make education more accessible may actually  

  • be a big part of the problem of skyrocketing  tuition costs. It's not a new idea - back in 1987,  

  • then Education Secretary William J. Bennett first  ventured the theory that government programs like  

  • Pell grants and subsidized student loans actually  incentivize schools to raise tuition fees  

  • and further fuel the rise in tuition costsThe Bennett Hypothesis, as it's now known,  

  • holds that schools, knowing that the students  have access to vast amounts of funds through  

  • these programs, raise prices to capitalize on  available funds; rising tuition costs trigger  

  • further increases to financial aid, and on  and on the cycle goes. It's no wonder, then,  

  • that in 2018, Americans owed more than  1.5 trillion dollars in student debt.

  • To accommodate more students - and capitalize  on aid programs - schools have to account for  

  • increased faculty needs and be continually  expanding their facilities. And since schools  

  • are competing for students - and tuition  dollars - these new facilities need to be  

  • state of the art. Students today expect the best  research facilities, the most comfortable dorms,  

  • and the most modern recreation  facilities to consider parting  

  • with their (usually borrowed) tuition dollars.

  • As if that weren't enough, today's  students expect an ever-increasing  

  • array of services from their college  in exchange for their tuition dollars,  

  • too. Between campus health care programs, academic  and personal counselling services, and of course,  

  • thriving campus social amenities, operating  costs continue to climb as fast as tuition costs.

  • Worst of all, as the cost of  an education continues to soar,  

  • a college degree is less valuable now than it  was even just 10 years ago. Simply having a  

  • degree no longer gives you an edge. With more  and more people pursuing higher education,  

  • a degree has become a standard requirement for  most entry level jobs and competition is fierce.  

  • Now more than ever, where your degree  is from can make all the difference.

  • This is where the country's elite  institutions of higher learning come in.  

  • The Ivy League is an exclusive group of 8 of the  country's most elite colleges: Brown, Columbia,  

  • Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Yale and  the University of Pennsylvania. These institutions  

  • had been around for generations before the  term Ivy League was coined in the 1950s,  

  • and you might be surprised to  learn that the nickname had  

  • nothing to do with the elite schoolsexclusivity or academic prowess. No,  

  • the Ivy League was initially an NCAA (Narratorpronounced “N-C-double-A”) athletic conference.

  • Nowadays the term has less to do with sports  and more to do with prestige and high admission  

  • standards. And while it's true that theIvies”  have rich academic histories, high standards and  

  • consistently rank in the top 20 of the country's  colleges, that doesn't mean they don't face stiff  

  • competition from outside their ranks - Stanford  University and MIT both beat out the Ivies to take  

  • the top 2 spots. Still, rankings aside, a degree  from an Ivy League school carries a certain caché,  

  • and may provide some real-world benefits toostudies show that Ivy League grads can expect  

  • to make 15 to 50% more in their first year  out of school than the average graduate.

  • Even among the elite Ivy League schoolsthere is one that stands out as the most  

  • prestigious of them all. Founded in 1636,  Harvard University is the country's oldest  

  • institution of higher education. Harvard's  historic 5,400-acre campus in Cambridge,  

  • Massechusets is home to 14 museums filled  with priceless art, artifacts and specimens;  

  • it hosts the world's largest academic  library with more than 20 million volumes;  

  • and, the campus boasts some truly stunning  examples of historic architecture - like  

  • Harvard Hall, the oldest surviving  building on campus dating back to 1720.

  • In addition to an historic campus and an idyllic  academic lifestyle, there are plenty of solid  

  • reasons why Harvard is so elite - and therefore  so expensive. Harvard is currently the 3rd  

  • highest-ranked college in the country, and the  highest-ranking Ivy League school. Of course,  

  • to attract the top students, Harvard needs to  have the best professors and academics - and  

  • pay them Ivy League salaries. From the more  than 40,000 applications received each year,  

  • less than 2,000 are admitted, meaning Harvard  sends out 19 rejection letters for every 1  

  • acceptance letter. Harvard has fewer than  7,000 undergraduate students and only 13,000  

  • graduate students. The highly selective  nature of Harvard's admissions process and  

  • the small class sizes mean that students get more  one-on-one time with their world-class professors.

  • The prestige of having a Harvard degree on  your resume alone may be enough to beat out  

  • the competition for most jobs, but the true value  of a Harvard education comes from the connections  

  • students make while they're at school. There  are more than 371,000 living Harvard alumni,  

  • many of whom remain connected to the school for  life. Harvard has turned out 49 Nobel laureates,  

  • 32 heads of state, and 48 Pulitzer Prize winners,  

  • so students are in good company, to say the  least. It should come as no surprise, then,  

  • that the average mid-career salary for someone  with a Harvard undergraduate degree is $142,600.

  • After learning how much the  average college education costs,  

  • and how prestigious a Harvard degree  is, you're probably anxious to learn  

  • how expensive a degree from Harvard  is. Well, prepare to be shocked.

  • On their website, Harvard claims  that, for 90% of their students,  

  • attending Harvard is actually less expensive  than attending state school would be.  

  • If that sounds unbelievable to you, stick with  us and you'll soon see how that's possible.  

  • Plus, when you find out what the other 10% paysyou'll be in a whole different kind of disbelief.

  • Attending Harvard may indeed beless expensive  than state schoolfor 90% of its students,  

  • but you can't justdecideto go to Harvard  because it's cheaper. Admissions are incredibly  

  • competitive, and only the best of the best are  granted admission to this most exclusive school.  

  • Nevertheless, if you're some kind of genius  or prodigy and manage to be one of the very  

  • few people granted admission to the  prestigious Harvard University, their  

  • generous financial aid truly can make Harvard  more affordable than your local state school.

  • Harvard claims that their admissions process  is needs-blind, and that low-income students  

  • have the same chance of acceptance  as students from wealthier families.  

  • That very well may be true  once the applications are in,  

  • but that doesn't mean that low-income  students have the same opportunities  

  • to earn the grades and extracurriculars  needed apply to Harvard in the first place.

  • The fact is, Harvard is undoubtedly an elitist  school. The median family income of Harvard  

  • students is $168,800. 67% of Harvard students come  from households in the highest 20% of earnings;  

  • 15% of students come from households in the  top 1%. Researcher Raj Chetty - from Harvard,  

  • no less - has found that students from families  in the top 1% are 77 times more likely to apply,  

  • be admitted to, and attend an Ivy League school  

  • than students from families with an  annual income of less than $30,000.

  • For those lucky few who do gain acceptanceHarvard has a generous geared-to-income  

  • financial aid program in which tuition fees  are adjusted based on your family's income.  

  • If your family makes less than $100,000 a  year, you might only have to pay about 10%  

  • or less of your family's total income for  tuition. So, if your parents earn $100,000,  

  • you could go to Harvard for just $10,000 a yearBut it gets better. If your family makes less  

  • than $65,000 a year, your tuition is absolutely  free. That's right, 100% free tuition. Of course,  

  • you still have to factor in room and boardliving expenses, and textbooks and supplies,  

  • but we can see how Harvard can be a  “cheaperoption for some lucky brainiacs.

  • For theunfortunate” 10% who don't qualify for  Harvard's tuition reduction program, a degree from  

  • Harvard definitely doesn't come cheap - although  we have a feeling that most of them can afford it

  • For the 2018-2019 school year, standard tuition  at Harvard University was $46,430 for tuition fees  

  • alone - that's 30% higher than the national  average of just over $35,000. With room and  

  • board in the campus' historic dorm facilitiesyou're looking at a cost of $67,580 a year,  

  • and once you add in books and living expenses, the  average annual cost to attend Harvard University  

  • is a whopping $78,200 a year. A 4-year  degree from Harvard will cost you  

  • $185,720 for tuition alone, and you're  looking at $312,800 all-in. Ouch...

  • If you thought that was steep, Harvard isn't even  the most expensive school in the U.S.! That honor  

  • goes to Columbia University, where annual tuition  alone will cost you more than $57,000 dollars a  

  • year, and that's not even taking into account  the high cost of living in New York City.

  • And just for a little perspective, it would cost  an American student only $30,000 a year to attend  

  • England's most prestigious institutionhistoric Oxford University. Tuition for  

  • British students is just over $11,000 per  year. Maybe the Brits are onto something...

  • Now that you know how expensive Harvard  is - and how many students get deeply  

  • discounted or even free tuitionyou might have some questions. Like,  

  • how can they afford to give out free  tuition? Where does all the money come from?

  • Harvard earns an income of nearly $5 billion  dollars a year, but their operating expenses  

  • are at least equal to that amount, so they require  alternative sources of income to keep the school  

  • thriving. Thanks to exorbitant donations by alumni  and wealthy benefactors, Harvard has amassed a $39  

  • billion dollar fortune in its endowment fundHarvard spends less than 5% of the endowment  

  • funds per year on campus improvements and tuition  reduction programs, and the rest of the fund  

  • is reinvested and expertly managed to keep it  growing for the future. Harvard is not the only  

  • school with such a fund - there are more than $600  billion dollars in endowment funds in the U.S.,  

  • although most of the wealth rests withhandful of the country's wealthiest schools.

  • Between cutthroat competition for admissions,  a prestigious reputation and some of the most  

  • successful alumni in the world, it's easy to see  why Harvard is so expensive. Generous financial  

  • aid programs may make a Harvard education cheaper  for low-income students, but for the rest,  

  • be prepared to pay a high price for the  honor of calling yourself a Harvard grad.

  • If you thought this video was eye-opening, be sure  and check out our other videos, like this video  

  • calledWhy Is Caviar So Expensive?”; oryou might like this other video instead.

When you think of Harvard University, your mind  probably conjures up images of beautiful historic  

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Why Is Harvard So Expensive?

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    Summer posted on 2020/09/19
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