May 30, 2004
Ross Neverway is on his way to Harvard

This will be very stale news to Americans, no doubt, but it contained a lot of up to the minute news to me. It's a piece by Ross Neverway, who has just got a place at Harvard, in today's Telegraph:

So what about the cost? The headline figure of £25,000 a year - tuition fees plus living expenses - is far beyond my family's means. However, I was advised by a Harvard graduate who teaches at my school not to let this bother me, and it was the best piece of advice I received.

Harvard admits students on merit and without any reference to their ability to pay, which is known as a "needs blind" admissions process. Details of an applicant's financial situation remain sealed until a place has been offered. The help the student's family will need is then assessed and scholarships awarded accordingly, to American and international students alike.

I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship of £20,000 a year. That Harvard, thanks to its huge endowment, can be so generous is one of its greatest strengths. Typically, about 10 per cent of each year's intake is made up of international students drawn from 60 or more countries. In my year group – the class of 2008 – there will be 30 students from the UK, chosen from the 217 who applied.

What particularly impressed me was that Harvard seemed intent on wooing me to accept its offer, though I did not need much convincing. Last month, I attended the "visiting program" weekend to sample Harvard life and get a better idea of the nature of my next four years.

I was given every opportunity to meet faculty members, fellow applicants and current undergraduates, and inspect the campus and its facilities. Founded in 1636, Harvard was America's first university and is now probably the world's foremost educational institution.

Okay, those last two paragraphs are comment rather than news, but I agree with Ross. It's very impressive, and he's a lucky guy.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 09:01 PM
Category: Higher education