Boost for public recruits

January 31, 2003

Harvard University has vastly expanded the number of grants and low-interest loans available to students who agree to go into education, social service, public health and similar careers, writes Jon Marcus in Boston.

America's top university has set aside $14 million (£8.6 million) for masters and doctoral students and has promised below market-rate loans to graduate students who choose careers in public service.

"The world situation demands the best minds attacking complex issues with expertise and sound judgement, and these programmes will help us to attract and train top talent," said Joseph Nye, dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

More than half of all graduates from the Kennedy School go into the private sector, a fact that has been an embarrassment to the university.

The new programme will benefit education students who pursue research into improving public schools, medical students who agree to offer care in underserved communities, students of public health who study epidemiology and international health, government students who go on to work in state or local government, and PhD candidates in the humanities and social sciences.

"Enabling top students to come to Harvard to prepare for careers in public service or academic fields is a top priority," Harvard president Lawrence Summers said.

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