For decades, if you wanted to get a grant from the NIH, the best route was to go to Johns Hopkins. They received so much money from the federal government that it is a surprise they can't let students attend for free. 

They never would, like Harvard they are in business to make money and student loans are a giant pool of money that Congress made unlimited in the 1980s - way to stick it to Reagan, Democrats - and schools are going to get all they can, and lobby to keep it while agreeing that $200,000 in student loan debt for arts degrees is a problem.

The NIH, arguably the most forward-thinking of the federal agencies(1), is undoing that legacy mechanism where they assume a researcher must be better than everyone else or they wouldn't already be at a school that gets so much taxpayer money and therefore deserve so much taxpayer money.

It was always a little ridiculous that grants were ever given out based on 'he had a good advisor', 'she is at a famous school', or 'they are well-known' but there it is; how science gets done.

Worse, that penalizes actual creativity. If you get an R01 grant, you had better have gotten it for something you know will success - because if it fails, your career is finished. So the system rewards minor studies of roundworms, not clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats - what we now know as CRISPR. Following the same template as the federal government they lobby to keep control of published studies, and their own habit of missing out on important papers, Nature refused to publish it. It was left to the Journal of Molecular Evolution to publish what may be the most important paper of the 21st century.

They wouldn't have either, if they only chased famous names and schools.

Scholars who have navigated their way through government bodies successfully are understandably upset - it is 'you wouldn't hire the worst brain surgeon' rationale. Except there is no evidence that a famous name in science funding means great work. Nobel Prizes are overwhelmingly won by scholars who did the work when they were young.

Back before the Reagan administration - arguably the most pro-science president in US history - made government science funding a juggernaut, lots of young scholars could get grants. And they were able to do important work even though they lacked a known brand. That was not a bad thing. 

(1) They created an open access plan so taxpayers could read the research they funded without buying a subscription during the George W. Bush administration and Democrats hoped President Obama would can it but, like closing Guantanamo Bay and 'lifting the ban' on human embryonic stem cell research, that was just pillow talk for voters. Rep. Conyers, an early supporter of Obama, called in every favor he could for his funders at AAAS, Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, and Elsevier but the President refused to undo it.