Stanford University has approved an increase in tuition for the next school year while reaffirming its commitment to "keeping a Stanford education accessible" through its financial aid program, the university announced Thursday.
The Stanford Board of Trustees approved a 3 1/2 percent increase in undergraduate tuition for the 2016-17 school year, bringing the total price tag of an undergraduate degree to $62,541, including $47,331 for tuition, $14,601 for room and board, and $609 for a mandatory health fee. This increase follows a tuition hike of the same amount that the board approved in February 2015.
Yet most students will "pay far less," the university said, with two out of three students receiving financial aid from Stanford and outside sources.
Under its financial aid program, which Stanford expanded in 2015, the university will continue to provide free tuition for parents with incomes below $125,000. Parents with incomes below $65,000 are not expected to pay tuition, mandatory fees or room and board.
Since its creation in 2008, Stanford's need-based financial aid program has also benefited most families with higher incomes by reducing the amount the university expected parents and students to contribute toward education costs, the university noted in a university press release.
"Since we instituted the financial aid program in 2008, the net price of a Stanford education, adjusted for inflation, has been flat," Board of Trustees Chair Steven Denning stated in the release. (The net price is the price that students pay, on average, after grants and scholarships are taken into account.)
Freshmen who were given need-based aid are now receiving an average amount of $49,220 in scholarships and grants, including an average scholarship of $43,628 from Stanford, according to the university.
Currently, 58 percent of undergraduates receive need-based or athletic scholarship aid from Stanford. A total of 69 percent receive financial aid from either Stanford or external sources.
Stanford also offers need-blind admissions meaning an applicant's financial status is not a factor in the admission decision.
Stanford said that its financial aid program helps to ensure that most Stanford undergrads graduate debt-free. Nearly eight out of every 10 students in the class of 2015 78 percent graduated with no student debt, the university said. Of the 22 percent who graduated with some debt, the median amount was $16,417.
Over the last decade, the amount that students chose to borrow, adjusted for inflation, has gone up $1,000, according to Stanford.
"The university is doing everything it can to keep a Stanford education affordable," Denning said.
At its Feb. 22-23 meeting, trustees also approved a 3.9 percent tuition increase in 2016-17 for first-year MBA students at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. The tuition for general graduate tuition and other graduate and professional programs, which have different tuition prices, will all increase by 3 1/2 percent next year. Detailed information on graduate tuition will be posted on the registrar's website.
Tuition provides half of Stanford's $1.3 billion general funds budget, which finances many of the university's main academic and administrative functions. The general funds budget helps to support, among other efforts, the undergraduate financial aid program, faculty and staff salaries, student services and the purchase of materials for Stanford's more than 20 libraries, the university said.
The Campus Health Service Fee, a mandatory fee for all students on the main campus, will increase to $203 per quarter in 2016-17, compared to $197 per quarter students were asked to pay this year.