To the extent that this new policy probably won’t affect financial aid to poorer Americans is true, but this is a tremendous commitment. If they are losing $10,000 a year in revenue from a large percentage of their students that is going to add up quickly. (Let’s say about 2,000 students fall–just a hunch on what the number is–into the household segment that is going to benefit here: Then Harvard is losing $80 million per class, that’s a lot.)
That is clearly going to cut into Harvard’s other commitments, many of which are more worthwhile then making college more affordable for families that make $160,000 a year–especially when so much needs to be done to make a degree from Harvard attainable for so many Americans.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that the new financial aid policy hurts poor Americans in a tangible way. It does, however, show where Harvard’s priorities are: attracting the smartest students. That’s a fine priority, but we shouldn’t all laud them for being progressive or altruistic when it’s so obviously selfish.