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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Harvard Launches Initiative To Connect With High-Achieving, Low-Income Students

Harvard University's Massachusetts Hall. (Wikimedia Commons)

Harvard University’s Massachusetts Hall. (Wikimedia Commons)

Harvard College Connection” is a new initiative aimed at encouraging low-income students to apply to elite colleges. Launching this fall, it uses social media, videos and traditional outreach to help students know that an Ivy League education is within reach.

William Fitzsimmons, the dean of admissions and financial aid at Harvard, joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to discuss the new program.

Since 2004, the university has used a radically simplified financial aid program: Families that make $65,000 or less per year contribute nothing towards the cost of tuition, room, board or fees.

But Fitzsimmons says the college wanted to make things easier for middle class families as well.

“We have close to 70 percent, actually, of our students on some kind of financial aid here — a quarter of the students now are $80,000 and under,” Fitzsimmons says. “This is a different Harvard. What we need to do is connect these students that we have here now, who are living the experience, with other students out there. We’d love to have them come to Harvard. We’d love to have them go to college.”

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