Affirmative action: “A bitter, but necessary pill.” Diverse campuses are more interesting campuses.

We had a rollicking debate over whether race should be a factor in college admissions, tied to the recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit the issue this year.

I am not sure if the debate was that fruitful, given how few people understand that colleges do not now and will never admit students solely on highest GPAs and test scores. Colleges seek a diverse student body because they believe that a wide range of backgrounds and experiences enriches their campuses and their students. And few students want to be surrounded by classmates who look, sound and act just like them.

Here is an inside view of the issue from Stephen Joel Trachtenberg,  president emeritus and university professor at George Washington University. I thought he made some interesting points that were worth sharing.

This is an excerpt from his piece on Bloomberg:  (Before commenting, try to read his full essay.)

Using only high-school grades and standardized tests would give us a freshman class with far more women than men. Therefore, some balancing will be necessary to ensure gender equity (except at Barnard, Smith and Mount Holyoke). Geographical representation (for non-state-supported schools) will be sought. The major field of study will become more significant in choosing applicants than is currently the case: There will be room for chemists, yes, but also linguists. It is hard to predict if this system would be better or worse, more or less equitable than the present system.

Affirmative action has been a bitter, but necessary, pill. Designed to right a wrong, it began to provide opportunities for a portion of the population that has been unjustly denied access to education and opportunity. What began as a remedy for one group — black Americans — was later broadened to include a wide selection of others: women, Latinos, American Indians, people with disabilities and special needs, veterans and several other groups.

The current special set-asides in college admissions serve two very different purposes: to improve access for under- represented groups, as noted; but also to deliberately build a diverse multidimensional class because a diversity of gender, ethnicity, geographical origin and talents is good for its own sake, irrespective of whether a wrong is to be righted.

How does one define merit in admissions? Standardized tests have their own problems and are often criticized for perceived biases against disadvantaged students who have received an inferior k-12 education or who lack experience in taking such exams. Letters of recommendation are subjective and often tell us as much about the writers as about the candidates. High-school grades and, by extension, class standings are increasingly subject to a subtle gaming of the ranking system. School districts want to be known as places where their graduates go on to excellent colleges and universities. Since students with high grades tend to be admitted more easily than those with lower ones, there has been an inflation of grades over recent years. Today’s B plus is yesterday’s B minus, and hardly anyone in college-bound classes ever flunks. High-school students are not always held to rigorous standards, and colleges often have a difficult time equating the grades from one school to another.

Merit measured solely by grades would bring us a class of students who were one-dimensional in some ways and uneven in others. Harvard could fill its class with high-school seniors with near-perfect SATs, all valedictorians. Who wants to go to college to meet fellow freshmen from only Newton, Scarsdale, Bethesda, Shaker Heights or Palo Alto — the tried and true upper-middle-class communities?

Colleges are going to look for ways to continue economic diversity, cultural pluralism, gender equity and geographic distribution because it makes a far more interesting group of students to study with and learn from. The purpose of the admissions officer is not to attract to his or her campus a group of students who are uniformly consistent. It is to take from some large pool of applicants a reduced number with a cross section of characteristics.

In the end, the view of merit in students and the concept of what makes up a high-quality entering class have evolved in the past 25 years. A multicultural community is at the heart of every campus from New York University to the University of Mississippi.

For generations colleges were most inventive in finding ways to keep Jews and blacks out. Now they may have an opportunity to use their wits to find the legal means to admit and enroll multicultural classes without the use of affirmative action. My money is on the universities, which were, after all, open for business before the Constitution was drafted.

–from Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

177 comments Add your comment

Prof

February 29th, 2012
12:00 pm

Amen to this entire essay, is all I have to say…. Oh, and also that the sort of classes that Dr. Trachtenberg describes are certainly much more interesting to teach.

tim

February 29th, 2012
12:17 pm

Hey Dr Trachtenberg….when the enrollment at Grambling U is only 13% Black……….we’ll listen to you.

Ron Burgundy

February 29th, 2012
12:28 pm

Diverse campuses are more interesting??? How? I like how diversity is a one way street. I was at the Fulton County govt building on Central yesterday and diversity is not a word I would use for the people emplyed there, I wonder how the NCAAP and Maureen would feel if diversity was required there.

I always enjoy traveling and learning about other places and cultures but in no way does it make me a better person. My grandfather never left the south exept to go to fight in WW2 and there is no better man.

Can we just let people go whewre they want without having diversity shoved down our throats. If we spent as much time shoving proper parenting down peoples throats we would be a much better world.

Ron Burgundy

February 29th, 2012
12:28 pm

Let the people speak maureen…quit censoring comments cause you dont like them.

Amazing

February 29th, 2012
12:29 pm

@ Tim,

It would be helpful for you to do some research. The non-black population has been growing at a substantial rate in recent years at historically black colleges. These schools are seen as an opportunity to get a quality education at a lower cost. There is a school in Kentucky that now has a larger non-black population. Diversity is occuring across all college campuses inclduing HBCUs.

Maureen Downey

February 29th, 2012
12:36 pm

@Ron, I am in agreement with posters that too many people here were being allowed to post comments that didn’t speak to the topic. I follow several ed blogs, all of which bar comments that don’t speak to the issue. As a result, the blogs are informative rather than annoying. Those blogs are specialized and don’t have the mainstream newspaper readership that this one was, which is why I have been fairly lenient in what goes up here. But there are limits.
If you post to the topic and make relative sense, your comments will stay up. If you attack or sputter racist drivel, they won’t.
As for censorship, this blog is not the public square. Think of it more as our living room. If you spit on the floor and spill stuff, you will not be invited back. You are not the only one whose comments come down — anyone notice that Dr. No is gone?
Maureen

Sarah Coulter

February 29th, 2012
12:37 pm

There is always somebody like Tim. And Tim, don’t forget the valedictorian at Morehouse was white? And one of the best basketball players at a predominately black college in North Carolina.

But props for the trolling.

Maureen Downey

February 29th, 2012
12:38 pm

@Ron, Get out more. I can take you to dozens of city halls and county offices in Georgia where there is no diversity because every employee is white.
Maureen

Sarah Coulter

February 29th, 2012
12:42 pm

Ron Burgundy, I agree. Thanks to Santorum for warding off all of those conservatives about going to college. Keep them out.

Keep it “liberal”.

And why so mad because of the black people working there? Swing by Milton High School and see how diverse it is. But you will probably smile and be happy at the separation. Who needs to interact with a person that came from a poor family and worked hard to get to college or university? Who needs guys in college? Who needs to have a special needs student in the class? Just go with all of the female applicants that are superior as referenced in the article.

skipper

February 29th, 2012
12:44 pm

People have so over used “diversity” that another word is needed (like visually challenged instead of blind.) The word itself is now so detested that when it is a topic of discussion people automatically (not all people but many) have conclusions drawn from the get go! “Diversity training” etc.:code for we are sticking something to you!

ByteMe

February 29th, 2012
12:58 pm

but also to deliberately build a diverse multidimensional class because a diversity of gender, ethnicity, geographical origin and talents is good for its own sake, irrespective of whether a wrong is to be righted.

the problem with this part of the argument is that it’s left up to the reader to decide why it’s “good for its own sake” instead of specifying reasons why it’s good. If you leave it up to some people who only exist in their own echo chamber, being outside that echo chamber is uncomfortable and no one should be forced to do that. For them, the echo chamber is “good for its own sake”.

My own experience is that diversity of opinion and outlook drives many people nuts, but flexible people learn to learn from those that are outside their comfort zone and are smarter and more empathetic for it.

thomas

February 29th, 2012
1:01 pm

A very good article. I agree with him 100%.

Digger

February 29th, 2012
1:01 pm

Dumb is the new Interesting.

David Granger

February 29th, 2012
1:11 pm

Ms. Downey,
One of the biggest problems with “Affirmative Action” is that our laws forbid it. The Constitution guarantees equal rights to all, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 strictly forbids discrimination based on race, color, religion, or national origin. The only reason discrimination by race or gender has been allowed is because justices (including ones on the Supreme Court) ruled that “Yes, technically the law SAYS you can’t discriminate. But we don’t like that it says that, so we’re going to just–(wink wink)–let you do it anyway.” And it is the worst form of judicial activism when a judge rules that…despite what a law (that is not unconstitutional) clearly states…I’m going to overturn it myself just because I want the law to be something else.
This charade is further evidenced by the contortions that people go through trying to pretend that they’re not favoring a “quota”. Every one is against “quotas”, because that’s a certain minimum required number. But it’s OK to encourage “critical mass”…which is a certain minimum required number. (To Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s credit, she did admit that…if we don’t allow quotas, then we’ll all have to keep on “wink wink” pretending that we don’t.)
The point about diversity is valid, but at what cost? In the affirmative action arena, of course, “diversity” always seems to refer to race…not diversity of background, class, or political viewpoint. Look at how often affirmative action college admissions have gone to the children of upper class African-American families, while poor white students have been denied admissions even though they might have been more qualified based on academic GPA and test scores.
If you feel that some special consideration is needed, then allow it in a race/gender neutral setting. That would be reasonable and fair, and would achieve “diversity”, though it might not fit the quota system that universities and colleges use (while pretending not to.)
Diversity is a good thing, but I do not believe it is such a wonderful thing that it is worth racial discrimination in order to achieve.

Atlanta Mom

February 29th, 2012
1:13 pm

Maureen,
I have noticed a few posters no longer here, and I appreciate it.

johnny too good

February 29th, 2012
1:15 pm

diverse campuses are more interesting true, but it is time for all forms of affirmative action to end.

Prof

February 29th, 2012
1:15 pm

We’re talking about the admission of undergraduates into colleges/Universities here, not government offices or workplaces. 18-21 year-olds are still learning about the world, and their minds are open to a variety of cultural experiences–that’s why they’re so great to teach. “Diversity” is more than racial, although some seem to see it as a code-word for minority racial/ethnic groups. As Dr. Trachtenberg notes: “diversity of gender, ethnicity, geographical origin and talents is good for its own sake.”

old school doc

February 29th, 2012
1:19 pm

I thought that some of the original affirmative action attempts were to keep large number of high achieving Jews out of the Ivies, to keep the Ivies more WASP-y.
I agree with affirmative action, but perhaps now it should skew towards helping out those in a low SES. You’ll ge a much braoder range of people of all hues by looking primarily at SES, not race. My upper middle class African american child has every advantage in life, and does not need the extra help in gaining admission to top schools.
And Tim, there are a few HBCU’s that are no longer majority African american.

Atlanta Mom

February 29th, 2012
1:19 pm

Even the “geekiest” of schools look for diversity. MIT tracks the number of pranks pulled each year. Too few, and the incoming class is a little less scholarly the next year. Too many and I guess they take more 1600 SATs.

WAR

February 29th, 2012
1:20 pm

as long as America continues to not desire diversity to become a better nation, china is going to beat us like a drum in 5 years.

WAR

February 29th, 2012
1:24 pm

tim

wrote: Hey Dr Trachtenberg….when the enrollment at Grambling U is only 13% Black……….we’ll listen to you.

the reason why Grambling and other HBCUs were created is because black students really didnt have a place to go for an education. they were not allowed to enter many institutions of higher learning. before you post a blanket statement grounded in ignorance of information, be responsible and educate yourself… then again, im smart of enough to know you already knew the history of HBCUs and was just wanting to start mischief.

college is a privilege, not a right. Earn it.

February 29th, 2012
1:24 pm

No thanks….Affirmative Action is discrimination.
Entrance should be on merit, not skin color.

skipper

February 29th, 2012
1:26 pm

@WAR,
Diversity does not have a cotton pickin’ thing with China pulling ahead; hard work, emphasis on education etc. is why they will, unless we man up. Diversity ain’t got a THING to do with it! Pull that pipe dream out at a more appropriate (if there will ever be one) time.

carlosgvv

February 29th, 2012
1:40 pm

Affirmative Action has been in force for over 40 years now. Those who say it is still needed will not or cannot admit that it is fundamentally flawed if it hasn’t achieved the desired results by now.

Another Comment

February 29th, 2012
1:44 pm

Except STEM majors still are male dominated in the major university programs. I received “The Women in Engineering” update from the Number 1 in the Country Engineering Program I received a Masters in 1983 as one of 2 women ( not Ga. Tech). The newsletter was saying that 30% of their starting freshman class were women. They clearly stated this was accepting applicants who met the standards of the Engineering School and the majors acceptance.

I see so clearly, from my own 17 year old daughter how our girls are not encouraged into the STEM path. My daughter’s have both started out storing high 90%tile on the IOWA test on the Math test. Higher than the English and Language from First Grade on testing. Testing higher on Math is how boys typical test. Girls test higher on LA and Lower on the Math say on the SAT. I tested exactly the same, which allowed me to excell as an Engineering Manager.

Long story short, the average Georgia Teacher and Counsler does nothing to encourage or push girls that they are smart in STEM. In fact my daughter and several of her friends have gotten negative comments from teachers. In particular women teachers. They look at my blonde cheerleader and say you are not going to do well on this. They have no idea that genetics play a big role in not only what a child looks like but thier brains. It is sometimes really hard when you are dealing with a teacher who barely graduated from some third rate education school when you are a parent who graduated as one of the first female engineers from a top ranked engineering school.

So much is dependent upon the parent or the child just really being on top of things. My daughter came home the other day and announced that she had met with the counselor for her Jr. year appointment. She told me that she told the counselor that she wants to be either a Sports Agent or in Sports Medicine or Physcologist. So then she tells me that they agreed she would major in being a Sports Agent. I told my daughter that is absolutely ridiculous, you have to be an attorney to be a Sports Agent. Then it is a very narrow field. You have to have contacts to get in the field. I told her since your good in science, and you enjoy it your best bet is to major in Biology or Chemestry for Undergrad with a Psych. Minor and you can always decide later if you want to go to Law School or Med. School or Physical therapy. But I could barely belief the counselor told her she could major to be a Sports Agent. Then she tells me the couselor tells her she can go her senior year on minimum day. Why is she not encouraging her to go dual enrollment.

Bryan G.

February 29th, 2012
1:55 pm

The problem that people miss is that while affirmative action may be “good” that does not make it “right.” It’s not right to discriminate – for or against someone – because of skin color. Why should that only apply to minorities?

For example, the “give everyone a free home and car act” would be “good”, but it would not be “right” or an appropriate exercise of government power. Affirmative Action is no different.

Jimmy62

February 29th, 2012
1:58 pm

Definitely the best route to ending racial discrimination in the this country is to make skin color the most important distinguishing characteristic of college students.

Yeah, that makes sense. You know what I call people who want to point out everyones’ race and make distinctions based on their skin color? Racists.

Jimmy62

February 29th, 2012
2:01 pm

carlosgvv: We agree on something!

If something has been tried for forty years and not only hasn’t been successful, but may have made things worse, then it should be rethought. This also applies to the Wars on Poverty and Drugs, which should be renamed “The Crusades to Make Rich People Richer and Trap Poor People into Poverty and Dependency.”

carlosgvv

February 29th, 2012
2:04 pm

Jimmy62 – 2:01

100% correct. Of course you know, that for reasons of political correctness, many in Govt. will never admit this.

Jimmy62

February 29th, 2012
2:07 pm

Carlosgvv- Not just political correctness. There are a lot of jobs that depend on bad policies, and there are also a lot of powerful people who will never, ever, no matter what, admit that they were wrong. Because then they’d have to take responsibility for all the problems they have caused and lives they have destroyed.

Although really that doesn’t make sense, because if there’s one thing we know, it’s that if you work for the government, you won’t have any culpability for your mistakes. In fact, you will probably be rewarded for them.

B. Killebrew

February 29th, 2012
2:12 pm

Great article. Thanks for posting, Maureen.

Ron Burgundy

February 29th, 2012
2:14 pm

My point Maureen since you obviously do not understand it is how would the workers in CFulton county govt building react if there was an affirmative action plan to hire more whites?

I get out plenty BTW – Been around the world more then once and I find it amazing that society thinks diversity equals better. Its not a black or white thing that makes it better it a quality parenting thing.

Ron Burgundy

February 29th, 2012
2:15 pm

I agree Jimmy62. If society focused more on villifying poor parents or poor spoused we would be much better off. I mean Chris brown was celebrated and allowed to perform at the grammys recently. The guy beat the fire out of his girlfriend. I wonder if the emmys will ever let Michael Richards on stage? HMMMMM…

Ole Guy

February 29th, 2012
2:18 pm

Are there any Other countries, other than the Red White n’ Blue, which seem to concentrate so damn much on all these extraneous issues? You want diversity…fine. Lettum come to you…you don’t have to toss hooks…like the buyeau folks do in the Lousiana marshlands do catchin’ gators.

SOMEday, when the ONLY criteria in American education is unyielding adhearance to STANDARDS…NOTHING ELSE…maybe…just maybe…adversity…the sort of adversity which really matters (and don’t no pc _ hithead go bloberin’ about racism))…will TAKE THE INITIATIVE AND RESONSIBILITY.

ya think?

Ron Burgundy

February 29th, 2012
2:18 pm

My father had had to hire a lot of undeserving people in the name of diversity as an educater.

When i hire someone I dont look at skin color I look at resumes. As do MOST people. The 1% that does not is both black and white.

Ron Burgundy

February 29th, 2012
2:20 pm

America is maybe the most diverse place on Earth and every immigrant that came here was forced to deal with inequalities. I think curing the lack of diversity has more to do with sub cultures holding themselves acocuntable and not having govt force it on us.

Don't Tread

February 29th, 2012
2:21 pm

I get to deal with the end result of all this “diversity” (and perpetual grade inflation) when these so-called “college graduates” enter the workforce without having the common sense that God gave a house plant.

When a “college graduate” can’t read and follow directions simple enough for a 7-year-old…Houston, we have a problem.

What about poor people?

February 29th, 2012
2:24 pm

“…but also to deliberately build a diverse multidimensional class because a diversity of gender, ethnicity, geographical origin and talents is good for its own sake, irrespective of whether a wrong is to be righted.”

And the erasure of class differences from American society continues. What would happen if economic class were taken into account as a diversity measure??? Wouldn’t that also create an opportunity for Black applicants?

Yes – but not the *right* ones. Colleges and universities want nothing to do with poor Black kids because they tend to have a really difficult time adjusting and have a high drop-out rate. What colleges and universities are looking for is 1) the children of West Indian immigrants (approximately 60% of African American college students are first-generation Americans), and 2) the children of successful middle-class Black professionals, who are already familiar with university life and the expectations that go with it.

Talented African Americans from poor neighborhoods/struggling schools need not apply (unless you’re an athlete, of course).

Jimmy62

February 29th, 2012
2:28 pm

Ron: Totally. I always wonder if these diversity people have traveled much. Outside of a few places like London and Hong Kong, you’ll find more racial and cultural and religious diversity in a random town in the US than you will find just about anywhere else on Earth.

Sarah Coulter

February 29th, 2012
2:32 pm

What’s your point, Ron Burgundy? Glen Campbell kicked Nancy’s teeth in, and he was just honored at the Grammy’s.

And if you have been around the world, then I have a condo on the moon.

You are full of it if you just look at resumes. How many do you toss aside because the first name is Jaquavious or Tamika?

And carlosgov and Jimmy, affirmative action has worked. Look at the CEOs, etc. that may not have gotten their foot in the door 30 years ago, but did and made something of themselves. But why see the positive when you can focus on the negative?

thomas

February 29th, 2012
2:33 pm

@ college is a privilege, not a right. Earn it.

Yes, college education is not a right. No matter what your test scores or hs grades, you don’t have a right to be educated at a particular college. Colleges may choose who they want to invest based on their own selection criteria.

@ Ole Guy,

In some (usually small) countries, students must go to the college/university they want to enroll and take an entrance exam on a specified date. Students will also have to select a major and each major has a specific number of openings. Colleges may or may not fill up the spaces depending on students’ exam scores. Students will also have to take an exam to change their majors if they want to change it after they are admitted. That will be an ultimate “standard” based system, won’t it? I don’t think it will ever happen in the US. As long as colleges have to base their decisions on subjective judgements of others (and SAT or ACT is not designed to screen students), college admission system will remain an “art” of predicting students’ potential.

skipper

February 29th, 2012
2:38 pm

Sarah,
Jaquavious? Come on….making up (and thats what it is) dumb names (and thats what they are) that are not relevant to anything (no, they are not african names) just further lends to peoples bewilderment! It is just an effort to stand out for (possibly) the wrong reasons!

Lori

February 29th, 2012
2:38 pm

Why do poor kids have a harder time adjusting to college?? I am from a middle class family, graduated 4th in my high school, scored almost perfect on the SAT in math and still almost flunked out of GA Tech. It’s not just poor kids who have a hard time adjusting. Hard work gets you through. I get sick of people blaming their “situation” for their lack of hard work.

Ron Burgundy

February 29th, 2012
2:39 pm

Sarah Coulter the narrow minded. My point if you were not so ignorant to understand is that we as a society force what should occur naturally if we put a hire emphasis on proper parenting.

We talk about tolerance yet it seems that people talking tolerance have none.

Prof

February 29th, 2012
2:41 pm

I just want to point out that the majority of successful Affirmative Action lawsuits have had white women as their plaintiffs, since Affirmative Action laws covers gender as well as race/ethnicity. …white women have benefited most from Affirmative Action policies.

biaknabato

February 29th, 2012
2:47 pm

B4 I hear anyone say again that ” Harvard could fill its entire class with near perfect SAT scores…… ” garbage, let me get 1 thing straight. Of course Harvard nor any other private would ever want to that for that matter. The reason has nothing to do with a ” diverse class of many talents and interests….. ” but with money, pure and simple. It will be a financial disaster if Harvard tried to do that. A ;lot of people with perfect SAT scores will ask for financial aid for Harvard, Therefore Harvard has only 2 options. It means getting rid of its vast system of preferences of legacies, children of the wealthy and famous, development cases , race preferences, athletic preferences etc. to make way for this class of perfect SAT scorers. And this monied contributors are the people which enabled Harvard to build a 31 billion dollar endowment, why kill the goose that laid the golden eggs? The second option is admit more mediocre and wealthy students to help pay for the financial aid of this perfect SAT scorers. This in turn will create a larger entering freshman class, a lower mean SAT score for the entering freshman class . a higher admission rate. Pretty soon Harvard will just be another Boston College or Boston University down the road. All private universities play this game. Blacks are there because harvard does not want to be accused of being racist. They don;t want demonstrations in the Harvard yard, lawsuits and denounciations from the NAACP, and a foundation might not give them money for not having enough blacks at Harvard. The Harvard and private university admissions process is all about fundraising and cost reduction. It has nothing to do with education.

Ron Burgundy

February 29th, 2012
2:48 pm

About Glen Campnell I think neither he nor Chris Brown should be celebrated but the point is we as a society put a hire emphasis on punishing people for saying racist things then we do for punishing people who beat woman. Neither or right but I think beating up a woman is a little bit worse then saying a racial slur.

Jimmy62

February 29th, 2012
2:49 pm

Sarah: A few CEOs, a lot more in poverty with no way out, an anti-achievement culture… It may have helped right after the end of Jim Crow, but now it holds back.

And no CEO was ever made CEO because of affirmative action. Corporations aren’t stupid enough to put someone in charge because of their skin color. A black CEO is almost certainly a very competent person. Unfortunately due to affirmative action it’s rather tougher to make that assumption about minorities lower on the totem poll. Did they get there because they deserve it, or because of a messed up public policy that highlights skin color over ability and accomplishment.

You know what I call people who think skin color should be considered in every decision? Racists. Welcome to that category. You might want to rethink things if you are so racist that you don’t think a black person could become CEO without special consideration through affirmative action.

Shar

February 29th, 2012
2:55 pm

I think that Dr. Trautenberg weakens his case by overemphasizing the role of diversity on campus – “A multicultural community is at the heart of every campus from New York University to the University of Mississippi” – what, not the quality of the professors? It’s also ironic that he would choose to mention NYU, which was founded precisely because Columbia would not admit Jews and was known for years as “NYJew” accordingly.

It’s instructive that most other universities, like NYU, that were founded to admit one class or type of student have found that broadening their student bodies benefits both the institution and the quality of the education it provides. The points above documenting the increasing non-black enrollment at HBCUs underscores this, or the non-Catholic segment of Notre Dame’s student body. The few who have remained focused solely on one group, such as Falwell’s Liberty University, have found that applications have dropped as more students seek a more polyglot experience.

That said, discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion or nationality is against the law, and rightfully so. There is no way to justify prejudice against one group without justifying it against all.

Perhaps the best and fairest way to proceed, and certainly one that is becoming more prevalent, is old school doc’s suggestion of SES. It would bring a wider range of perspective into the classroom, which is the primary benefit of affirmative action, without touching on the racial hot button.

Maureen Downey

February 29th, 2012
2:56 pm

@biak, Your post has so much misinformation that it is hard to know where to begin. With record numbers of applicants, Harvard is not lowering its admission criteria. For every 100 applicants, six get in.
The average verbal SAT score of students admitted to Harvard University falls between 690 and 800, and the average math SAT score is between 700 and 790. The average ACT score of admitted Harvard University students is between 31 and 34.
And it has one of the most generous student aid programs in the world; Families earning $180,000 or less only pay 10 percent of the tuition.
Average Financial Aid Package for Freshman Scholarship Holders 2011-2012
Total cost $57,400
Parents’ Contribution $10,600 (18%)
Student Assets & Summer Work $1,200 (2%)
Harvard, Federal & Outside Scholarships $44,100 (77%)
Job Offer $1,500