Stanford expands financial aid for middle-income families as trustees set 2019-20 tuition

Stanford will expand its financial aid program next year by removing home equity as a factor in the financial aid calculation for undergraduates, the Board of Trustees announced Tuesday, Dec. 4, in adopting tuition and fee levels for the 2019–20 academic year.

Stanford has a long-standing commitment to providing an affordable education to all students, regardless of their economic circumstances. The new policy will exclude home equity from the determination of the expected parental contribution in financial aid eligibility calculations, benefiting many middle-income families.

The policy builds on Stanford’s existing financial aid program which, in 2018–19, provides approximately $162 million in need-based aid to undergraduate students. Under Stanford’s program, parents with annual incomes below $125,000 and assets typical of that income level pay no tuition. Parents with an income at or less than $65,000 and typical assets pay no tuition or room and board.

“Stanford is committed to meeting the full demonstrated need for every admitted undergraduate who qualifies for financial aid, without expecting them to borrow to meet their need,” said Jeffrey Raikes, chair of the board. “Removing home equity from the financial aid calculation is the first of what we expect will be several additional steps to further enhance our undergraduate aid program in the next few years.”

Stanford’s total undergraduate need-based financial aid budget is expected to increase 7 percent in 2019–20 to support the home equity change and other cost increases and to ensure that Stanford remains accessible to all.

2019–20 undergraduate tuition
Undergraduate tuition for 2019–20 will be $52,857, representing an increase of 4.25 percent. The total charges for full-tuition-paying families will be $69,962, which includes $16,433 for room and board and $672 for a mandatory health fee. The Board of Trustees typically acts in February to set tuition and fee levels for the following academic year. But beginning this year, the board is taking action in December to provide more timely information to the families of students admitted through the Restrictive Early Action program.

Many families do not pay the full price. Almost half of all Stanford undergraduates receive need-based aid from the university and 66 percent receive some form of financial aid toward the cost of attendance from a variety of sources.

Undergraduate students who were awarded need-based aid for the 2018–19 academic year will receive an average annual scholarship of approximately $49,000 from Stanford.

Tuition provides essential support for the academic program, student services and financial aid, as well as infrastructure and other support services, Raikes said. Yet it only covers a portion of the cost of educating each Stanford undergraduate.

“Tuition is a critical source of funding for maintaining Stanford’s academic enterprise,” Raikes said. “Its role has become increasingly important because of investment volatility, uncertainty surrounding the federal research funding environment, and the impact of new taxes on endowment income, among other factors. At the same time, the university has worked to mitigate the effects of the increase by continuing to strengthen our financial aid program.”

Need-blind admission
Stanford’s undergraduate admissions process is “need-blind” for all but international students. This means Stanford’s decision to admit an undergraduate student is not influenced by a student’s financial need.

Factoring in financial aid, the average net price to attend Stanford has increased only 0.3 percent annually over the last decade, adjusted for inflation.

Students are not expected to borrow to meet their educational costs under Stanford’s aid program, so the decision to borrow is made by individual students and families. In 2017–18, 81 percent of undergraduates completed their degrees without incurring student debt.