Harvard Can’t Be Serious About Full Tuition for Online Classes

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Harvard University announced today that up 40 percent of their undergraduate student body will reside on campus this Fall, but that course instruction for all students regardless of whether they are on campus or at home will be delivered online.

The ivy league school also announced that tuition will remain $49,653. When you add in fees, room, and board for those coming to campus, it totals $72,356.

If you’re a student at Harvard, wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to take a gap year than to pay full freight for online instruction? It would be one thing if these courses were offered at even a modest discount, but when they are at full price it strains credulity to think it’s worth it. If you’re on campus and there are clubs, activities, and other socialization then I can understand going through with the year, but being off campus and paying full tuition is a totally bananas value proposition to me.

It’s pretty insane that a school like Harvard with a $41 billion endowment can’t figure out a better solution to this issue. It will be fascinating to see what percentage of their students actually follow through with paying full tuition for online learning. I’d expect this announcement to be met with a lot of backlash, and wonder if Harvard will have to adjust their policies accordingly.

Related: Cornell study makes case for colleges to return to campus this fall

Written by Ryan Glasspiegel

Ryan Glasspiegel grew up in Connecticut, graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and lives in Chicago. Before OutKick, he wrote for Sports Illustrated and The Big Lead. He enjoys expensive bourbon and cheap beer.


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  1. One of many things that would teach Harvard and other mega fake institutions of higher learning a lesson is a change in the federal tax code. Most States have a tax deduction for education funds hidden away in tax shelters.

    Wealthy elites stow away cash in these funds to pay for elite university tuition. Imagine paying cash for a Harvard education for one year. A person would need to earn far more than twice the tuition and then pay taxes on it. But that doesn’t happen. The tax breaks make it easier to then pay the University their inflated prices.

    At the same time, Major Universities are usually Non Profit Entities exempt from paying Federal or state taxes on revenues. Or on property. Not entirely, but mostly.

    On top of all this TOO, the federal student loan program grows at an artificial rate. So, tax payers are funding these schools as they build unbelievable cash and non cash assets. Hidden from public view.

    Maybe the Rona Virus is actually here to take out the corupt college systemic racism (insert emoji scratching his head). Nah … the Virus knows who and what it’s allowed to take out. Nothing to see here.

  2. Essentially you are paying a premium for a name based on the piece of paper which your degree is printed on. Harvard is showing how valuable a name and history are. It is amazing that many who will pay this rate for said name and institution will do what they can to destroy names and institutions which have historical relevance.

  3. Top tier products don’t need to discount as they do not function by the common “supply vs. demand” curve. In fact, high prices make these types of products even more desirable for the elite. There are so many people waiting in line to get accepted to Harvard- it’s acceptance rate is 5.2 percent. If any of the 94.8%’ers get the chance to get accepted, even with online classes at full price, they are going to jump. As jaubry said, it is about the name on the diploma, and what that brings in society.
    If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it.

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