Is Harvard really providing financial aid?

US universities: What does home mean?

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Benjamin Zeisberg experienced it differently. The 19-year-old comes from Hamburg and is at Harvard in his first year of study. He will fly back to his family in Germany until the lectures are due to start again in late summer. He would not have been able to easily pay for the ticket either. Benjamin is one of the 55 percent of Harvard students who get financial support from the university because they would otherwise not be able to afford the expensive course that costs several thousand dollars a year.

In front of the dining room for the freshmen, Benjamin says, contact persons from the university have been standing in the past few days who have credit cards with airline tickets for students Financial Aid bought. "They'll make sure that everyone comes home," he says. On its website the university writes that the travel expenses for students with financial support would be "reimbursed" in whole or in part.

Although he wasn't worried about not coming home, Benjamin is sad. "I'm missing so-called Housing Day, it's one of the most beautiful traditions of all." Housing Day is a kind of prank for freshmen with which they are welcomed in the dormitories. Benjamin is also an athlete and on the Harvard rowing team, which has just prepared for the first competitions. "But sport is now on the back burner. Our coach has given us lots of offers from former team members who still live nearby." If you don't have a place to sleep, you can stay with them outside of campus.

Sahar has also noticed that the alumni are helping. Much of the financial support comes from them, as well as from wealthier students and teachers, she says. "The way the university handled the whole thing was irresponsible. I understand that it's important to prevent the virus from spreading. But to set a five-day period without having any prior plan on how to organize and fund it should be: That doesn't work at all. " The solidarity among the students themselves is exemplary: "The whole situation is horror. But it's really nice to see how the students now come together and support each other, even if it's just emotional support."

Harvard University did not respond to a request from Zeit Campus about the students' allegations. Compared to other media, a spokeswoman referred to the FAQs on the university's website. Meanwhile, the official university newspaper published photos of students happily dragging stacks of moving boxes across campus.


Correction: The text originally said that Harvard had a budget of $ 40 billion, but that is about the assets. We corrected the mistake.