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Harvard, at Wholesale

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Now that commencement season has pretty much wrapped up, private universities are scrambling to fill those empty seats. They're giving record tuition discount rates and more financial assistance than ever, according to a survey from the National Association of College and University Business Officers. A front-page Wall Street Journal article on this news suggested that it's now a buyer's market for all but the most "select" schools. But could it be just a matter of time before the Ivy Tower adopts the strategy, too? I've taken the liberty of preparing some catalog copy, just in case.

Imagine a world-class institution of unparalled prestige, at rock-bottom prices so low, we're practically giving it away. Imagine access to the elite 1 percent, for 75 percent off. Imagine parking your car in our yard -- at a flat rate of $7 an hour for the first four hours. That's half the price of competing yards in Princeton, New Haven, Providence, Philadelphia, Hanover, and Washington Heights. Oh yeah, and Ithaca.

Now stop imagining and start matriculating, please, to Harvard Wholesale College. At HWC, we stand by our motto: "Veritas, Very Cheap." How do we do it? By posing that question, you are demonstrating the superior intellect that just guaranteed you one free MacArthur Genius Grant Groupon upon arrival -- our gift to you. And now that you've been accepted, you're automatically eligible for an additional three years at our deluxe Kennedy School of Government, fully subsidized by a zero-percent-down, need-based scholarship that meets your needs. Needs like:

FREE BEER

As part of your all-inclusive education, you are entitled to a complimentary keg of Henry Louis Gates Hefferveisen. Prefer a botomless mug of Sam Adams? It's on the house, because, guess what? The dude went here! Need more convincing? At HWC, we'll never check your ID. We're Harvard, we don't need ID. We can just tell.

PAY AS YOU GO (OR DON'T GO) PLAN

Too groggy for that 8 a.m. calculus class after enjoying an all-expenses paid "Make Your Own Sundae at The White House" weekend with our nation's president (Barack Obama, '91)? Not a problem. Forgot to take your finals following one of our semiformal Medical Marijuana Mixers that are 100 percent covered with no co-pay or deductible, thanks to our in-network providers from HWC's sister school of medicine? Heck, everyone makes mistakes! But at HWC, you're under no obligation to pay for them. Just pay anything you want. Use our layaway plan. Write an I.O.U. Make us an offer, we'll work something out.

BUY ONE DEGREE, GET A DOZEN FREE

Unlike retail Ivies where you'll blow your whole 529 Plan on one worthless B.A, our Multi-Degree Variety Pac offers an exciting lineup of complimentary bonus letters: M.B.A, Ph.D, R.N., MD, MSW, CPA, CEO -- you name it, we've got it, all at 50 percent off our already free tuition prices. Plus, if you enroll now, we'll also throw in: Natlie Portman, our gift to you.

Don't delay, our registrars are standing by. Because at Harvard Wholesale, we don't just give you an education. We give you a deal.

Dan Zevin is the author of Dan Gets a Minivan and The Day I Turned Uncool.