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Stanford enhances undergraduate financial aid program

Stanford University today announced the largest increase in its history for its financial aid program for undergraduates.

Under the new program, parents with incomes of less than $100,000 will no longer pay tuition. Parents with incomes of less than $60,000 will not be expected to pay tuition or contribute to the costs of room, board and other expenses. Students will still be expected to contribute their earnings from work during the summer and academic year.

The program also eliminates the need for student loans.

Other significant enhancements have been made to the program that will benefit aid recipients at all levels of income.

"This is the third consecutive year we have allocated substantially more money to financial aid for lower- and middle-income families," said Stanford University President John Hennessy. "We are committed to ensuring that Stanford asks parents and students to contribute only what they can afford for an education we believe is among the absolute best in the world. By devoting more resources to financial aid, we seek to underscore what has long been the case—that no high school senior should rule out applying to Stanford because of cost. We understand how families face serious financial pressures, and we are doing all we can to assist them."

These changes bring Stanford's undergraduate financial aid program for the 2008-09 academic year to more than $114 million, making it one of the largest programs in the nation. The amount spent on financial aid next year is projected to equal half the total undergraduate tuition revenue Stanford expects to collect for the year.

To help pay for the enhanced aid program, the university increased its endowment payout last year to 5.5 percent. It also plans to double the financial aid goal of The Stanford Challenge, its current fundraising campaign, to $200 million.

"Although Stanford's tuition has gone up over the past five years, thanks to our increasingly generous financial aid program, families with incomes less than $150,000 will find a Stanford education much more affordable than it was five years ago," Stanford University Provost John Etchemendy said. "For most of these students, attending Stanford will cost less than most private and many public universities."

Three out of every four Stanford undergraduates currently receive some form of financial aid. When the new financial aid program is taken into account, the average family contribution for students receiving financial aid in 2008 will be reduced by 16 percent this year.

Stanford remains one of the few private universities with a "need-blind" admission policy for U.S. citizens and permanent residents, which guarantees that students will be accepted to the university regardless of their ability to pay—and be offered the financial support they need to attend Stanford.