Stanford expands financial aid program

University raises income thresholds at which parents not expected to contribute to tuition

Stanford University has expanded its financial aid program for the first time since it was established in 2008 in response to both the rising cost of a Stanford education and increasing needs from students and their families.

The university announced last week that it will be increasing the income thresholds at which parents are not expected to contribute toward educational costs.

Under a new policy, Stanford will expect no parental contribution toward tuition from parents with annual incomes below $125,000 – previously $100,000 – and typical assets, the university said. Parents with annual incomes below $65,000 – previously $60,000 – and typical assets will not be expected to contribute any money toward tuition, room or board.

Students are expected to contribute at least $5,000 per year from earnings during the summer and part-time campus jobs during the school year, but students are not expected to borrow to make the contribution, the university said. This contribution will remain the same amount for the third year in a row.

Starting next school year, undergraduate students will foot a $45,729 tuition bill – a 3.5 percent hike approved by the university's board of trustees in February. Total undergraduate fees will jump to $60,427 in the 2015-16 school year, including $45,729 for tuition, $14,107 for room and board and $591 for a mandatory campus health fee.

Stanford also offers need-blind admissions – meaning an applicant's financial status is not a factor in the admission decision. Currently, 60 percent of students receive need-based or athletic scholarship aid from Stanford, according to the university. Seventy percent receive scholarship support from either Stanford or external sources.

University spokeswoman Lisa Lapin said the amount of money that Stanford spends on financial aid has grown every year, "in part because of the economic circumstances faced by our families and in part because of tuition increases."

The increase 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, the university said.

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.

"Our highest priority is that Stanford remain affordable and accessible to the most talented students, regardless of their financial circumstances," Provost John Etchemendy stated in a university press release. "Our generous financial aid program accomplishes that, and these enhancements will help even more families, including those in the middle class, afford Stanford without going into debt."

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Like this comment
Posted by
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 2, 2015 at 5:00 pm

While this is very generous, a challenging local constraint to this generosity is the value of a home. While one may satisfy the income thresholds, the value of real estate asset will disqualify most applicants. They hold to a $300k net worth which local real estate values will annihilate. As such, this forces mortgaging to finance college. Regardless, the education opportunities provided by the university are priceless.

2 people like this
Posted by Not in CA
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 2, 2015 at 5:12 pm

While this sounds generous, $125K does not go far in the SF Bay Area. My son and his wife struggle to make ends meet with two kids on that salary. Nor does that salary qualify them to buy anything but the worst fixer-upper condo in East San Jose--even though they managed to save $100K for a down payment ( they were told that was insufficient to cover a down payment plus closing costs). They have actually had to take in room mates to help pay their ever-increasing rent.

It would probably be more fair to raise that income level cutoff for California to $200,000. And $100,000 for the rest of the country, where that money would ensure a decent living.

$125,000 in California does NOT make a middle class life for a family of four!

Like this comment
Posted by Chris
a resident of University South
on Apr 2, 2015 at 6:48 pm

Most of the students are from out of area and out of state. Tuition assistance is available for families with incomes up to $225K.
Families up to $125K get complete tuition waiver.

Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 2, 2015 at 8:37 pm

@Bob, can you game the $300k net worth limit by shuffling real estate to a relative?
Not that anyone would really try, of course...

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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