Are elite universities unsustainable or unstoppable?
|Nick Barr||Jan 12, 2020|
I thought that elite universities like Harvard made their money from high tuitions. I was wrong! Harvard and other top schools actually lose money on students – they spend $150,000 per student a year on core academics alone.
The business model of elite universities actually binds them to wealthy students more than simply being expensive would. I’m not sure whether this pattern is a positive feedback loop, spiraling out of control and into absurdity, or whether it’s concerning but fixable.
I’m also not sure whether a focus on elite universities is a distraction, because their students represent less than 1% of college-goers, or necessary, because those students are disproportionately wealthy and powerful.
Now I want to…
learn more about the business models at elite vs non-elite universities
figure out whether elite universities could admit significantly poorer students without breaking their business model
decide whether focusing on elite universities is constructive or a distraction