Grad School Bungles, Cost: $400,000


The Graduate Student and Teaching Fellow Union, despite a sadly abortive attempt last month to defeat the GSAS's new financial aid program, appears to have won a belated, ironic victory in the battle for diminishing University funds.

The GSAS's newly-instituted Kraus plan for financial aid has awarded at least $400,000 more to students than administrators had predicted, Edward T. Wilcox, acting dean of the GSAS, revealed this week.

And there may be more to come. Calculations paid for third, fourth and fifth year students are not yet complete.

Nevertheless, it appears that the first and second year classes have hauled in an unexpected $200,000 each under the Kraus plan's need criteria, creating a deficit that amounts to about 25 per cent of the funds originally budgeted for graduate student aid.

Explaining the unexpected deficit, Wilcox and his financial assistant, Richard A. Kraus, said that many students qualified for aid under Kraus's criteria who had not qualified under previous plans. In other words, Kraus had incomplete statistics on income for students in the present first-year class.


Another possible explanation is that the Kraus plan's criteria awards more money to "needy students" than plans at other graduate schools, while denying aid to many who received it at other schools.

If this is the case, the GSAS's admissions policy may have intensified the problem. The GSAS admitted over 1000 students to its 550 places and offered them a total of $2.3 million in financial aid--$1 million more than it offered to last year's incoming class.

Wilcox said that he had assumed that only half of the students would accept Harvard's offers. Wilcox was right: only 510 students have agreed to fill the GSAS's first year class in 1973-74. However, it's apparently the wrong half--the needy half.

While graduate students may be rolling in clover next year--or at least living more decently than they had expected--the future of the Kraus plan is less sunny. The plan, which retained a sizeable amount of merit-based funding, was Harvard's first attempt at a need-based financial aid system for graduate education. As such, it was founded on incomplete statistical information and educated guessing.