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Stanford Announces Largest Tuition Increases in History

Recently, the Stanford University Board of Trustees approved a 7% increase in undergraduate fees for the 2023-24 academic year due to inflation. Undergraduate students will now have to pay $82,406 for one year of schooling.

Postgraduate tuition fees will also increase by 4%. The specific tuition fee costs per program will be announced later this year.

Over the past decade, undergraduate tuition has only increased between 3% and 4% annually, making this the highest increase in fees since 2013.

If we are to break this down, for the coming academic year: $61,731 will be for tuition, $19,922 for standard housing, and $753 for medical expenses which totals $82,406.

Experts say that Stanford’s tuition fee hike is an exception. However, they still expect many other colleges to follow suit in the coming months.

In an effort to soften the blow to students' finances, earlier this month, Stanford also announced an updated financial aid plan for students for the next academic year. They have decided to raise the family income threshold for waiving tuition from $75,000 to $100,000.

This means that undergraduate students with a gross family income of less than $100,000 will not need to pay tuition and accommodation fees, while undergraduates with a family income of $100,000 to $150,000 may receive scholarships to pay for tuition, and those with an income of more than $150,000 will be evaluated based on their specific situation if they will be granted a scholarship. (As shown below)

This new $100,000 full financial aid income threshold is on par with Princeton. On the other hand, Yale announced that its full aid threshold for the 2023-24 academic year will remain at $75,000, with a total semester cost of $83,880.

A Stanford University spokesperson stated that the university has worked for years to provide enough financial aid and scholarship support for students whose household annual incomes are below certain thresholds. Stanford has expanded its financial aid program several times in recent years, and its features today include:

  • More than two-thirds of students receive some form of financial aid, including athletic scholarships;

  • Among the need-based freshmen admitted in the fall semester of 2022, the average annual scholarship exceeds $62,000;

  • 86% of Stanford graduates have no student debt;

  • When applying for Stanford's financial aid, family property is not included in the assessment of parents' ability to pay for their children's tuition.

Despite the benefits this program brings, there are those who do not view it positively. Bill Hall, co-founder and president of Applied Policy Research, said Stanford is, in a sense, playing Robin Hood, using "extra income that the university will earn from wealthier people to provide stronger support for poorer students."

While David Feldman, an education economist at the College of William & Mary, makes a similar point, noting that Stanford is essentially "taxing the rich to subsidize the poor" by increasing tuition.

Regardless of how people view Stanford’s efforts to still accommodate low-income students, such efforts are necessary for education to remain somewhat accessible to the greater public. However, since such scholarships are quite limited, students must prepare a competitive application to set them apart.

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