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."