This is the text of an email that President Larry Summers sent to Harvard alumni:
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I am excited to share with you the news of an important new initiative designed
to encourage students from families of low and moderate income to attend
Harvard College. This initiative has four major components: financial aid,
recruitment, admissions, and a special program for high school students.
The key element is that parents with incomes below $40,000 will no longer be
expected to contribute to the cost of their child's education at Harvard. In
addition, Harvard will reduce the contributions expected of families with
incomes between $40,000 and $60,000. We have earmarked $2 million in new
financial aid funds to cover this expanded aid next year, and we expect that
the new formula, which will take effect in the fall for all students - entering
and returning - will benefit more than 1,000 families next year.
This nation has done much since the Second World War to promote equality of
opportunity, but we can and must do more. In spite of the great strides this
country has made, the gap between the children of different economic
backgrounds has increased sharply over the last generation. In the most
selective colleges and universities, children whose families are in the lower
half of the American income distribution are underrepresented by 80 percent.
Addressing this gap has become more urgent than ever before because our
nation's competitiveness depends increasingly on the quality of those who
graduate from our nation's universities and colleges. Only by assuring access
to everyone can we maximize the quality of our nation's college graduates.
If you would like to read the transcript of my remarks on this topic at the
American Council on Education's annual meeting last week, or find a link to the
press release detailing Harvard's new initiative, please visit
Thank you for your support.
Lawrence H. Summers