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Harvard's Financial Aid is not #1 like people say

Dulcinea17Dulcinea17 38 replies2 postsRegistered User Junior Member
edited April 2013 in Harvard University
My family's income is $26,000 a year for a family of 6. I got into Harvard, Stanford, and MIT among others.

My parents contribution is 0 for all schools; however my student contribution is varied.

If I attend MIT, I will have to pay $2255 ($1900 student contribution + $355 work study), Stanford $2200 (all from WS), and Harvard $4200 ($1200 student contribution + $3000 WS).

All of the above FA packages do not include required health plans.

It's interesting that Harvard, the school that has the most endowment in the country and is most renowned in financial aid, gives me the least aid. $4200 may not be significant for some families but it is a big amount for us. Well, I guess Harvard expects me to work at the school's minimum wage doing dishes for my rich classmates to pay for that while juggling Harvard work load. If Harvard is serious about increasing its socioeconomic diversity, then it needs to be more generous in giving aid. I don't have a healthy constitution so I don't work now, and probably will not work in college because the total amount of work will be too much for my body.

Do you think I could ask the Harvard FA officers to re-evaluate my FA based on offers I received from MIT and Stanford?
edited April 2013
50 replies
Post edited by Dulcinea17 on
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Replies to: Harvard's Financial Aid is not #1 like people say

  • ElanorciElanorci 759 replies82 postsRegistered User Member
    There's certainly no harm in asking them to reconsider their aid offer. I would give it a shot.

    Hope it works out for you.
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  • fauvefauve 3499 replies26 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Harvard does not pay work study students minimum wage, they typically earn $10-12. an hour, far higher that the $7.- minimum. If you have health issues, there are plenty of library or office jobs which would not be too taxing.

    You have won an amazing amount of financial aid from Harvard. Too gripe and complain about working for the rich students shows you are not aware that the majority of H students get FA. And plenty of middle-class non-FA students have outside (non-WS) jobs (which pay) less because they are not getting a penny from Harvard.
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  • EastGradEastGrad 964 replies8 postsRegistered User Member
    Dulcinea, a lot of students on campus work. I don't think you'd be "doing dishes for your rich classmates" unless you chose a job in Food Services. (And those who do dishes deserve respect, whether they are students or others. Remember that wherever you choose to go.) There are many work/study jobs including research assistant jobs, lab jobs, library jobs, etc. Many desk jobs would not be taxing on your health. Also, studies show that students who work end up with higher GPAs. You could, however, ask for Harvard's FA office to compare your packages. Is the $1200 expected summer earnings? If so, you might want to explain why this is less realistic given your family's economic situation.

    Take a careful look at the students and the university during Visitas, and see if they fit the expectations you state above. Seems to me like you have a stereotypical but wrong impression of Harvard. If Visitas confirms these negative impressions, well, you might want to choose another school.
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  • sosomenzasosomenza 2091 replies31 posts- Senior Member
    It would take a detailed study of many more students to say for sure. But in the meantime maybe you should be grateful for what you are getting instead of what you're not?
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  • danstearnsdanstearns 414 replies8 postsRegistered User Member
    Oh my, you are receiving about 50 thousand in grant money from Harvard and are complaining that you may have to work to pay the other 4200? My son has a work study job on campus - he doesn't find work demeaning.

    I would suggest you check your sense of entitlement.
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  • muckdogs07muckdogs07 1135 replies31 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Go to MIT or Stanford then.
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  • gibbygibby 10528 replies246 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    "Do you think I could ask the Harvard FA officers to re-evaluate my FA based on offers I received from MIT and Stanford?"

    As Harvard has given you a full 100% ride on tuition, room and board, I do not think they would give you more towards your self-help portion, which is a requirement of all students on financial aid. See:Fact Sheet

    How is the $3,000 term-time work expectation met by the student?

    -- Students may meet the entire expectation by working 10-12 hours per week.
    -- Students may choose to borrow up to the entire expectation through a student loan that is credited directly to their term-bill account.
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  • Dulcinea17Dulcinea17 38 replies2 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    danstearns, there is nothing to check about my sense of entitlement. As I have said before, $4200 is a hardship for my family. What's so entitled about facing great financial strain. My parents have are $200,000 in debt, have a family in my home country to help out financially even though they're only getting by. I have health issues that makes working difficult. The fact that Harvard gave me $50,000 does not matter if I can't afford the amount I have to pay. My note that Harvard's FA is not #1 like it's hyped up to be it's true.
    Thanks for everybody who has replied. I will contact the FA office Monday and possibly work out something.
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  • posterfanposterfan 28 replies0 postsRegistered User New Member
    I'm thinking that your negative remark about doing dishes for your rich classmates is what makes you seem like your attitude is CRAPPY!
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  • Dulcinea17Dulcinea17 38 replies2 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    I just want to write again upon reading my posts. I think my initial post may have come of as entitled or complaining. Of course, I am eternally grateful for all of my FA packages from all of my schools. I guess I am just a bit disappointed the amount I have to pay was higher than expected since I received MIT and Stanford's FA packages first. I'm sure every student compares FA packages and get these feelings. "I really like X, why can't X give me a little bit more like Y and Z." I definitely do not feel entitled to any amount of money these schools give me. It's a shame that my family and I couldn't afford an amount most consider small.
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  • Dulcinea17Dulcinea17 38 replies2 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    posterfan, good point. I apologize for that remark. I was exaggerating a bit and did not think carefully before making such comment. I can see why people might misconceive my attitude as entitled instead of financially struggling; but I do have to admit, coming from my background, I do feel a bit out of place at H.
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  • gibbygibby 10528 replies246 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    "It's a shame that my family and I couldn't afford an amount most consider small."

    But you can afford Harvard! You may have to take out a loan every year to do so, covering the cost of your term time job and summer employment. Many students from other colleges graduate with much more debt. What you need to weigh is whether Harvard is worth taking out a loan for, as compared to Stanford and MIT.

    BTW: All colleges tend to increase the amount of money a student is expected to earn from summer employment every year. Ditto with term time employment during the school year. So, you should ask each college about your sophomore, junior and senior year contributions when comparing costs.
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  • EnoughAlreadyEnoughAlready 227 replies10 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    @Dulcinea 17, my son was one of 7 blockmates who were thick as thieves from sophomore through senior year. 6 of the 7 were on financial aid (we got more than 50% every one of those years). One of them was on a full ride, which included round-trip airfare, and since she came from a warmer climate, they paid for her winter coat! All of them, including my son, had to work to pay for the small student contribution. The jobs were varied, and the opportunities were plentiful. Some of them did dorm crew every year before the term started and they earned a chunk of change that way. However, your other choices are fabulous! If you feel that the Harvard contribution is too high, by all means go to Stanford or MIT! Do you think that either of them is less worthy than Harvard? One of the kids I know, who graduated from Harvard with a Master's degree after his 4 undergraduate years, still occasionally moped about the fact that he didn't get into MIT. My daughter (not at Harvard and paying a boatload more for school) works 10-12 hours a week for a professor. But she would wash dishes if she had to. She finds that the outside work makes her more focused, and she is doing mighty well at school. I'm saying this to bolster your confidence about working and not to make you feel bad. Truly.
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  • fauvefauve 3499 replies26 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    OP-On another thread, you describe how you are looking forward to going to all the free trips to admitted students' weekends. If you are healthy enough for those exhausting weekends and travel, you are healthy enough to work in a library or office.
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  • SiempreAquiSiempreAqui 5 replies2 postsRegistered User New Member
    I totally disagree with the OP.
    Harvard is being very generous...its just that the other schools are even more.
    You should be grateful!!

    On a personal note, I received way more money and less work time than both Princeton and Yale.

    So I guess it just depends.
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  • vlinesvlines 3497 replies82 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Just curious, but what are your post college plans if you have a medical condition that makes it difficult to work??

    To me, the choice is pretty simple. Do you want to go to Harvard enough that you are willing to work 10 hours a week for the privilege? If not, choose one of the other schools. Decision made.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using CC
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  • poetgrlpoetgrl 13231 replies103 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    With the job market being what it is, be grateful you got work study. You can build your resume doing something interesting on campus while going to school, which will make you more employable.

    It does make a difference and it is actually an advantage! Use it.
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  • Dulcinea17Dulcinea17 38 replies2 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    I have learned a valuable lesson after posting a thread like this. I should've known better. I respectfully request you to not take jabs at my family's financial situation, my health, or any other thing. I will work this out on my own. Please let this thread come to stop.

    @fauve, I feel sick at what you're insinuating. You know why I'm looking forward to visiting these schools? I have never been on any trip to any state before these invitations from the colleges I have accepted to. Is it wrong to look forward to these "free" things? I don't feel it's wrong okay. It's not my fault I was born to a poor family. In a way, I feel like I deserve these little breaks. I am a first generation and we have always struggle financially, so I'm mostly on my own to work out this college thing and work so so so hard through out high school. Now that my dream is coming true, I feel in a way "yeah, thank you so much for recognizing my hard work and giving me free trip. without your aid, I wouldn't have even dream about buying a $500 luxurious plane ticket."
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  • vlinesvlines 3497 replies82 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I was not taking a jab at your health. I legitimately would like to know your plan following college. Though it does make me wonder if you think all work study positions are manual labor. They are not. In fact, often they have something to do with your intended major. Not always, but often.

    Maybe you should look into the types of positions available through work study before you make a decision.
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  • poetgrlpoetgrl 13231 replies103 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Definitely look into the types of positions available. As a full pay parent, I can tell you that my oldest works, off campus, in her field, because it makes it much easier to get a career position before you graduate.

    Any work history is really a positive when you enter the job game at the end of school.

    Employers don't just want the diploma, they want to know you could work. Really. It can be a massive advantage. JMO.
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