Starting next school year, undergraduate Stanford University students will foot a $45,729 tuition bill 3.5 percent higher than the current rate.
The university's board of trustees approved the undergraduate tuition hike this week, as well as an increase of the same amount for all graduate and professional programs.
Total undergraduate fees will jump to $60,427 in the 2015-16 school year, including the $45,729 for tuition, $14,107 for room and board and $591 for a mandatory campus health fee.
Steven A. Denning, board of trustees chair, said in a university press release that the board took several metrics into account to determine the increase in tuition, including Stanford's financial aid program, its need-blind admission policy (meaning an applicant's financial status is not a factor in the admission decision) and the fact that almost two-thirds of Stanford students receive financial aid from the university or outside sources.
Currently, 54 percent of students receive need-based or athletic scholarship aid from Stanford, and 67 percent receive scholarship support from either Stanford or external sources.
The university has more than doubled its funding for need-based financial aid since 2007, according to the press release. Under its undergraduate financial aid program, which was established in 2008, parents who make less than $100,000 a year pay no tuition, and those with annual incomes below $60,000 pay no tuition or room and board charges.
The boost in financial aid means that despite tuition increases over the last few years (the board of trustees approved 3.5 percent hikes in both 2014 and 2013), the net cost of a Stanford degree has gone down in the last decade. In 2003-2004, the average net price of a Stanford education -- calculated by subtracting financial aid from tuition, mandatory fees, and room and board, and adjusting for inflation -- was $32,131. By the 2012-2013 academic year, it dropped to $30,928.
"When tuition rises, so does the financial aid provided to students, preserving affordability for admitted students throughout their undergraduate years," the press release reads.
The university also champions its financial aid program as helping undergraduates graduate with more modest debt than many of their counterparts locally and across the nation. Seventy-seven percent of the class of 2014 graduated debt-free, according to Karen Cooper, director of financial aid at Stanford. Of the 23 percent who graduated with some debt, the median amount was $14,000, with half of the seniors who graduated with debt owing more and half owing less.