On Wednesday, the New York Times reported on Harvard ending their program, the Public Service Initiative, after having an unexpectedly large
amount of students sign up for it.
Like a lot of private schools have been doing, the one I’m more familiar with here in Texas being Rice University, there were programs being created to bring in more students to the school. The tuition would either be waived the first year if they were a first generation student, or they would get free intuition their first year. Harvard’s program offered to pay the tuition for third-year students who pledged to spend five years working for either a private, non-profit organization or the government.
Now it seems the programs that were created to benefit students and families tight on money are being cut to save money for the institution:
Harvard’s endowment declined 27 percent between June 2008 and June 2009, falling to $26 billion, and the university has adopted a number of cost-cutting moves. In fact, on Tuesday, Harvard’s largest division, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, announced a voluntary retirement plan for professors. Other schools will offer similar packages in the near future.
Although there is a positive mixed in with the loss of the program. The money that was used toward the Public Service Initiative will move to other programs, including a loan-repayment plan for graduate students who are working low-paying jobs. Something that is heavily needed with today’s economy. And despite the program being dropped, Harvard (as well as other law schools) offer free-tuition scholarships to students for their first three years.
Still, if Harvard is starting to cut back on programs that helped out families that were tight on money, it will only be a matter of time before other colleges follow in their direction. Hopefully, though, other schools will have other programs, like Harvard offers, that will help out students that are having a harder time paying for school.