Stanford to parents: If your family makes less than $125,000, your kids can attend for free

'Our highest priority is that Stanford remain affordable and accessible,' says provost

Stanford University has expanded its financial aid program in hopes of making the elite school even more affordable.

Between tuition and room and board, it costs about $65,000 to attend Stanford each year, CNNMoney reports. But according to an announcement this week, Stanford will offer:

  • Free tuition to parents of students who earn less than $125,000 per year, up from the previous $100,000 threshold; and
  • Free room and board to parents who earn less than $65,000.

"Our highest priority is that Stanford remain affordable and accessible to the most talented students, regardless of their financial circumstances," said Stanford provost John Etchemendy.

The Palo Alto, California-based school this week also announced that it accepted just 2,144 of its record 42,487 applicants.

Read more: Harvard, Stanford reject record 95% of applicants

Stanford's new policy "is much more generous toward middle-class and upper-middle-class students than the federal government is," Libby Nelson writes at Vox. (Nelson notes that most students who receive subsidized loans and federal Pell Grants come from families that earn less than $60,000 per year.) 

But Stanford "also enrolls an outsize proportion of wealthy students," Nelson adds. The median family income at Stanford was around $125,000 in 2010, she notes.

Other elite universities also have increased their financial aid programs in recent years. Harvard University does not ask parents who make less than $65,000 per year to contribute and asks parents who make $65,000 to $150,000 to contribute 0% to 10% of their income (Jane Fox, CNNMoney, 4/1; Nelson, Vox, 4/1).

The takeaway: Stanford University has expanded its financial aid program in hopes of making the elite school more affordable.


Next in Today's Briefing

Ole Miss chancellor declines contract extension, plans to leave university

Next Briefing

  • Manage Your Events
  • Saved webpages and searches
  • Manage your subscriptions
  • Update personal information
  • Invite a colleague