This is really amazing. Sure you need a 4.0 and a 1520 SAT to even be considered, but for the kids who actually can and do get in to Harvard, this is an unbelievable benefit for less-than-rich families. There are VERY mediocre private schools out here in the Midwest charging $40,000 a year to attend. If I can send my gifted kid to Harvard for $10,000 to 18,000 a year, that is an unbelievable benefit.
Having toured Harvard on my own last year, I think that this might also be a nod to getting some "diversity" in the applicant pool. As I think I reported on my Blog, I saw VERY few white males in my walk through campus. Maybe if their parents see the opportunity for a price break, more upper-middle-class white males apply?