Stanford trustees approve undergraduate tuition, reaffirm financial aid commitment for 2015-16 school year

Under Stanford's financial aid program, parents with incomes below $100,000 pay no tuition, and those with incomes below $60,000 pay no tuition or room and board charges.

The Stanford University Board of Trustees has approved a 3.5 percent increase in undergraduate tuition for the 2015-2016 school year and has reaffirmed its commitment to keeping a Stanford education accessible and affordable through need-blind admission and a generous need-based financial aid program.

Total undergraduate charges will increase to $60,427, next year, including $45,729 for tuition, $14,107 for room and board, and $591 for a mandatory health fee.

Under Stanford's undergraduate financial aid program, parents with incomes below $100,000 pay no tuition, and those with incomes below $60,000 pay no tuition or room and board charges.

Stanford, which admits qualified students from across the country without regard to their ability to pay, has more than doubled its funding for need-based financial aid since 2007. Currently, 54 percent of students receive need-based or athletic scholarship aid from Stanford. A total of 67 percent receive scholarship support from either Stanford or external sources.

Steven A. Denning, chair of the Board of Trustees, said the board took several metrics into account to determine tuition for 2015-2016, including Stanford's generous financial aid program, its need-blind admission policy, the fact that nearly two-thirds of Stanford students receive financial aid from the university and outside sources, and the fact that undergraduates leave Stanford with modest debt loads.

"We hope families will focus on the fact that the net cost of an undergraduate education at Stanford has actually gone down," Denning said. "The university is doing everything it can to maintain the quality of the education, which is among the best, and is acutely aware of the importance of providing adequate financial aid. It's something Stanford, and our families, should feel really good about."

Thanks to substantial increases in financial aid, the average net price of a Stanford education – the amount a student would pay to attend Stanford, taking financial aid into consideration and adjusting for inflation – dropped 4 percent between the 2003-2004 and 2012-2013  academic years, the last decade for which numbers are available. (The average net price is calculated by subtracting financial aid from tuition, mandatory fees, and room and board.)

In 2003-2004, the average net price of a Stanford education was $32,131. By the 2012-2013 academic year, it had dropped to $30,928.

The university's financial aid program helps ensure that most Stanford students graduate free of student loan debt.

Seventy-seven percent of the Class of 2014 graduated debt-free, said Karen Cooper, director of financial aid at Stanford. Of the 23 percent who graduated with some debt, the median amount was $14,000 – half of the seniors who graduated with debt owed more and half owed less.

In a 2014 video, Making a Stanford Education Affordable, which is posted on the university's undergraduate financial aid website, current students describe how financial aid opened the doors to a Stanford education.

When tuition rises, so does the financial aid provided to students, preserving affordability for admitted students throughout their undergraduate years.

Under a Stanford program established in 2008, typical parents making less than $60,000 a year are not expected to pay tuition or to contribute to the costs of room and board and other expenses. Typical families making less than $100,000 a year do not pay tuition. Families with significantly higher incomes may also qualify for assistance depending on their individual circumstances.

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, but students are not expected to borrow to make the contribution. The student contribution will remain constant in 2015-16 for the fourth year in a row.

At its Feb. 9-10 meeting, trustees also approved a 3.5 percent tuition increase in 2015-16 for all graduate and professional programs. Detailed information on graduate tuition will be posted on the registrar's website.

Tuition provides half of Stanford's $1.2 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 $197 per quarter in 2015-16, compared with $191 per quarter this year.


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