Stanford for too much money on sale!

Get your degree while it's hot! Freshly farmed diplomas are now available at a cheaper price because Stanford doesn't know what to do with all of its money.

I guess now that the price has dropped, I've lost one of my main excuses for not applying to or attending Stanford.

It was bound to happen-- Stanford needs to improve its image beyond a bourgeois playground shaped like a taqueria. I just didn't expect tuition to be discounted to essentially the same as UC Berkeley (Stanfurdians under this plan would still contribute a rough equivalent of our tuition and fees) for those of us unfortunate middle-classes to earn less than $100,000 per year. At least they're stooping to our level.

But for whatever moves they make and however successful their efforts to encourage high school applicants from broader socioeconomic backgrounds (somewhere between the Pell Grant and three Beamers and a Lexus for Christmas), it's old news. Princeton has had a similar plan for years, and Harvard and Yale recently announced their own financial-aid-package-to-die-for.

Offering such glorious financial aid packages means competitive schools have excuses to remain selective, without looking like total douchebags. Princeton is a great school, but when it comes down to it so is UC Berkeley, Harvard, Yale, and Stanford. I got into UC Berkeley but didn't even consider applying to the others-- for monetary and personal reasons, like that I didn't want to pay many hundreds of thousands of dollars to attend a giant taqueria-- and I guess this is precisely what those schools are trying to eliminate.

If money isn't an issue, it's just about admissions criteria. Which has its own consequences, like battling the trend that poorer people are less likely to have the opportunities for good educations to earn them competitive college admission (a study probably conducted by Stanford or Harvard, anyway). It sounds good to say merit-based (as it should be), but offering cheaper higher education doesn't help those who can't afford to get there in the first place.

Oh, well. As much as I hate to admit it, Stanford's food-stamp degree is probably better than nothing.

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