Harvard Offers Middle-Class Parents Help*

*And pre-empts legislation far costlier for superrich schools
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2007 3:20 PM CST
Chart shows expansion of Harvard University's financial aid program.   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Generosity isn't what's fueling Harvard’s new $22 million giveaway to the middle class—it’s greed, educational consultant Steven Roy Goodman writes in the Boston Globe. Harvard’s giving the extra financial aid as a PR move, hoping to squash brewing legislation that would force universities to spend 5% of their endowments each year. Because Harvard has $35 billion squirreled away, that would amount to $1.75 billion.

The cost of college is becoming an issue on the 2008 campaign trail and in Congress. Goodman hopes the hubbub finally gets the nation to start asking universities tough questions like, “Why do you have $35 billion lying around anyway?,” “Why don’t universities play by nonprofit rules?,” and “Why can’t you spend just 5% of your tax-exempt income?”