Harvard has a huge bank account. Also, it’s possible to monetize the value of the MBA. We let you classes with large subsidies, and then in the process brainwash you so that when you make megabucks, you feel guilty and give us large amounts of cash. Every few months, I can this call from Cambridge, MA, in which some freshman starts a conversation about how my job is going. At this point I get out my credit card, since I know what they are going to ask next (i.e. you do know who gave you the skills for that job.)
This is the basic business model for Harvard and MIT undergraduate programs.
MIT has extra cash come in from technology industrial programs. They also heavily subsidize the classes, so that when you go out in the world, MIT has “sleeper agents” in the major banks, governments, and industries which MIT can then use for its own nefarious purposes. If someone from MIT career services calls me and wants the names and phone numbers of people in my firm that have jobs open and they want to know the secret code words to put on a resume to get them those jobs, my “preprogrammed brainwashing” kicks in, and I tell them.
This business model works, much, much better for the student than those that rely on tuition to fund operations. From the point of MIT, it also works because it requires vast sums of money, lots of branding, and pre-existing social networks, which keeps competitors out. There is no such thing as a “non-profit” university, you just have to understand the business model to make sure it makes sense for you.