Tag Archives: programs

No More Free Tuition From Harvard

On Wednesday, the New York Times reported on Harvard ending their program, the Public Service Initiative, after having an unexpectedly large

Harvard University's Logo

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.

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Longer School Days for Students

Last week, Associated Press reported Obama mentioning a plan to extend the school day to nine hours and shortening summer vacation. The idea isn’t anything new, as I remember the subject of longer school days being brought up when I was attending high school. But it seems now the idea is starting to catch on and may even happen sometime in the future.

Though there are Charter schools in the country that are already doing longer school days, it is about time that the U.S. is starting to do the same with its public schools and play catch up with countries who have had longer school days for years now.  Not that longer school days necessarily mean that students will have better test scores, but I do think many children need access to a program in the school that can help them excel with subjects they are having a hard time with.

Meanwhile, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is starting a program, as a part of their “Any Given Child” project,  to start up art education with schools that have cut budgets.  You can read about it here. Though it has been started in areas in Virginia, D.C., and Maryland, the center plans on trying out  a more affordable way  to handle arts education by working with districts and art groups.

As a former art student, I agree that there needs to be more arts in school. While subjects such as math, science, and English are important subjects for students to grasp, it also helps when you have an outlet to express yourself. Plus, going on field trips to places such as museums or theater performances breaks up the monotony of sitting in a classroom all day. I just hope this program gets off on a strong start in California and gains support in other states as well.

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