Stanford trustees approve 2016-17 tuition and reaffirm the university's financial aid commitment

Under Stanford's undergraduate financial aid program, typical parents with incomes below $125,000 pay no tuition, and those with incomes below $65,000 pay no tuition, mandatory fees, room or board.

The Stanford University Board of Trustees has approved a 3.5 percent increase in undergraduate tuition for the 2016-17 school year and has reaffirmed its commitment to keeping a Stanford education accessible through need-blind admission and affordable through a generous, need-based financial aid program.

Total undergraduate charges will increase to $62,541 next year, including $47,331 for tuition, $14,601 for room and board, and $609 for a mandatory health fee.

Most students will pay far less, due to Stanford’s generous financial aid program, which bridges the gap between the total cost and a family’s ability to pay. The need-based aid program is designed to ensure that a family’s economic circumstances will not prevent qualified students from enrolling.

Steven A. Denning, chair of the Board of Trustees, said the financial aid program will help blunt the impact of the modest tuition increase, which is needed to maintain Stanford’s exceptional undergraduate academic programs.

“Since we instituted the financial aid program in 2008, the net price of a Stanford education, adjusted for inflation, has been flat,” Denning said. (The net price is the price that students pay, on average, after grants and scholarships are taken into account.)

“Two out of three students receive financial aid from Stanford and outside sources, and most students graduate debt-free. The university is doing everything it can to keep a Stanford education affordable.”

Under the financial aid program, which Stanford expanded in 2015, Stanford will continue to provide free tuition for typical parents with incomes below $125,000. Typical parents with incomes below $65,000 are not expected to pay tuition, mandatory fees, room or board.

Since 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. 

Freshmen who were awarded 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.

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.

When tuition rises, Stanford increases the financial aid it provides to students, depending on a family’s financial circumstances, to preserve affordability throughout their undergraduate years.

Stanford’s financial aid program also helps ensure that most Stanford undergraduate students graduate debt-free.  

Nearly eight out of every 10 students in the Class of 2015 – 78 percent – graduated free of debt. 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 only $1,000. Students are not expected to borrow to meet Stanford’s costs, so the decision to borrow is up to individual students and families.

Students are expected to contribute at least $5,000 per year from their earnings during the summer and part-time campus jobs during the school year. The student responsibility will remain constant in 2016-17 for the fifth year in a row.

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 3.5 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 core academic and administrative functions. The general funds budget helps fund, among other things, the undergraduate financial aid program, faculty and staff salaries, student services and the purchase of materials for Stanford’s two-dozen libraries.

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 with $197 per quarter this year.

Media Contacts

Lisa Lapin, University Communications: (650) 725-8396,