The buyer, it turns out, was the father of a high school junior who was actively looking at applying to Harvard with an eye toward being on the fencing team.
Soon enough, Jie Zhao’s younger son would gain admission and join the team. And Zhao, who never lived a day in the Needham house, would sell it 17 months after he bought it for a $324,500 loss.
The home sale may become the next chapter in the national debate over fairness in college admissions.
Zhao, who has lavished his largesse on the fencing world and on Harvard, knows how the home purchase looks. But he said it was not meant to help his younger son get into college. Rather, in a series of interviews with the Globe, he called it an investment and favor for Brand, the coach whom he said had become his close friend.
Ivy League payments and entitlements cost taxpayers $41.59 billion over a six-year period (FY2010-FY2015). This is equivalent to $120,000 in government monies, subsidies, & special tax treatment per undergraduate student, or $6.93 billion per year.