Stanford Offers Free Tuition to Families Earning $100K or Less

While approving a tuition hike for next year, Trustees also continued a program of free tuition for middle class families.

By Kathleen J. Sullivan

The Stanford University Board of Trustees has approved a 3.5 percent increase in undergraduate tuition for the 2013-14 academic year, and reaffirmed its commitment to keeping a Stanford education accessible and affordable through need-blind admission and its generous need-based financial aid program.

Total undergraduate charges will increase to $56,411 next year, including $42,690 for tuition and $13,166 for room and board.

Under Stanford's undergraduate financial aid program, now in its fifth year, students from families with incomes below $60,000 pay no tuition, room or board. Those with incomes of $100,000 or less pay no tuition. Families with significantly higher incomes may also qualify for assistance depending on their individual circumstances. Students are expected to pay a portion of their college costs from summer jobs and part-time campus jobs during the school year, but loans are not required.

Stanford has almost doubled its funding for need-based financial aid since 2007 and is providing $130 million in need-based aid this year. Thanks to substantial increases in financial aid, the net cost of attendance in 2012, adjusted for inflation, remains largely unchanged since 2001.

"Throughout the economic challenges of the past several years, Stanford has not wavered in its commitment to generous financial aid to assure that the brightest students can attend Stanford, regardless of their financial circumstances," said Steven A. Denning, chair of the Board of Trustees. "Our objective remains to preserve access to a world-class education for all students."

At its Feb. 11-12 meeting, the Board of Trustees also approved a 3.5 percent tuition increase for general graduate, graduate engineering, medical and law students, and a 3.9 percent increase for first-year MBA students for the 2013-14 academic year.

Tuition provides half of Stanford's $1 billion general funds budget, which supports many of the core academic and administrative functions of the university.

The general funds budget helps fund, among other things, the undergraduate financial aid program, faculty and staff salaries and the purchase of library books.

Denning emphasized that Stanford's need-based financial aid program for undergraduates remains a university priority. About 70 percent of undergraduates receive financial aid toward the cost of attendance from internal or external sources, and about 50 percent receive need-based scholarships from Stanford. This year, more than 3,400 Stanford undergraduates are receiving need-based financial aid. 

The financial aid program helps ensure that most Stanford undergraduates leave the Farm free of student loan debt.

Seventy-five percent of the Class of 2012 graduated debt-free, said Karen Cooper, director of financial aid at Stanford. Of the 25 percent who graduated with some debt, the median amount was $11,632 – half of the students owed more and half owed less.

Charges for undergraduate education

Undergraduate tuition will increase 3.5 percent to $42,690 in 2013-14, compared with $41,250 this year.

Next year, total room and board charges will rise 3.5 percent to $13,166, including $7,650 for campus housing and $5,516 for meal plans. Currently, total room and board charges are $12,721, including $7,323 for campus housing and $5,398 for meal plans.

Total undergraduate charges will rise 3.5 percent to $56,411 in 2013-14, compared with $54,506 this year.

Graduate tuition

General graduate tuition will rise 3.5 percent to $42,690 in 2013-14, compared with $41,250 this year.

The general graduate tuition rate for students taking 8 to 10 units also will rise 3.5 percent to $27,750 next year, compared with $26,820 this year.

The four-quarter terminal graduate registration (TGR) tuition, a special tuition rate for graduate students who have completed their coursework and are currently working on their dissertations, will rise 3.5 percent to $11,104 in the 2013-14 academic year, compared with $10,728 this year.

Tuition for graduate students in the School of Engineering will increase 3.5 percent to $45,480, compared with $43,950 this year.

Tuition at Stanford Law School will rise 3.5 percent to $50,580, compared with $48,870 this year.

At the Graduate School of Business, current MBA students will pay $57,300 in tuition next year, the same amount they paid this year, under a program in which MBA students pay the same tuition during each of their two years of study.

Tuition for entering MBA students will rise 3.9 percent to $59,534 in the 2013-14 academic year, compared with $57,300 for the MBA class that entered last year. (Students enrolled in PhD programs at the Graduate School of Business pay the same rate as general graduate students.)

At the School of Medicine, tuition will rise 3.5 percent for students under the new and old tuition plans. (The Medical School changed the structure of medical tuition in the 2010-11 school year.)

Under the new plan, tuition for incoming first-year MD students, and existing second- and third-year MD students, will increase to $49,000 next year, compared with $47,344 this year. Medical students beyond the third year still fall under the 2009-10 structure. Next year, their tuition will rise to $51,657, compared with $49,910 this year.

The Campus Health Service Fee, a mandatory fee for all students on the main campus, will increase to $185 per quarter in 2013-14, compared with $179 per quarter this year.


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