Stanford will ease parents’ tuition role
Families making less than $125,000 a year won’t be expected to pay portion of costs.
Endowment-rich Stanford University is sweetening financial aid for middleand upper-middle-income students who attend the Palo Alto-area campus.
Under a new policy, the expected parental contribution for tuition will be waived for many undergraduates from families with incomes up to $125,000 a year — an increase from the previous threshold of $100,000. And parents generally will not have to pay for tuition, room or board if they make less than $65,000 — up from the previous limit of $60,000.
However, Stanford will not be free for those students. Outside of their family’s contribution, students still will have to come up with $5,000 a year from such sources as work-study, summer jobs and a small percentage of savings, according to a Stanford spokesman.
The family calculation is not based solely on income. Families with assets of more than $300,000, outside of retirement savings, generally do not qualify, according to Stanford; home equity inclusion in assets is capped at 1.2 times families’ annual income.
The financial aid improvement is made possible in part by Stanford’s enormous endowment, which was listed at $21 billion last year, the fourth-largest in the nation. Stanford raised about $928 million in donations in 2014, second in the nation only to Harvard’s $1.16 billion, according to a study by the Council for Aid to Education.
Stanford Provost John Etchemendy said in a statement that the aid “enhancements will help even more families, including those in the middle class, afford Stanford without going into debt.”
About half of the school’s undergraduate students receive some financial aid from Stanford, but a spokesman said he did not know how many more families would be helped by the new policy.
Tuition at Stanford next year will be $45,729, which is 3.5% more than this year, and room and board will cost about $14,100.
Some of the other most wealthy and prestigious universities across the country have been taking similar steps but using various calculations.
For example, Harvard generally gives a completely free ride to students from families earning less than $65,000 and expects parents with incomes up to $150,000 to contribute no more than 10% of their income on a sliding scale.
Princeton charges nothing to students from households with incomes below $60,000 and waives tuition to those up to $140,000. Dartmouth charges no tuition to those with family incomes up to $100,000.
Stanford’s aid policy was outlined recently in the announcement about its admissions offers for the class of 2019. Only 5% of applicants were offered a freshman spot — reportedly the lowest rate in the nation and slightly tougher than Harvard’s 5.3%. Of the 42,487 Stanford applicants, just 2,144 received acceptance notices, including 742 in an early action program.