The price of a Harvard education continues to rise, with total costs for undergraduates increasing 3.5 percent for the 2012-2013 academic year—to $54,496.
As in the previous two years—which each saw tuition costs jump by 3.8 percent—Harvard has also announced a hike in financial aid available to students, to a record $172 million. This represents a 7.5 percent increase from the 2011-2012 financial aid budget of $160 million.
“Need-blind admissions, supported by generous financial aid, is the bedrock of Harvard’s effort to attract the most talented undergraduates in America and across the globe, regardless of their ability to pay,” said Michael D. Smith, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. “A student’s economic circumstances should never be a barrier to attending Harvard College.”
Harvard awards aid solely on the basis of need and expects to provide financial assistance to more than 60 percent of the student population.
Average grants will exceed $41,000, with students on financial aid expected to pay an average of $12,000 towards tuition, room, board, and general fees.
“We are grateful for the continued leadership of Deans Smith and Hammonds and for their continued commitment to keeping a Harvard College education affordable for all students, regardless of means,” Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons '67 wrote in an email statement. “This policy enables the Admissions Office to recruit the most talented students in the nation and world.”
Harvard’s financial aid policies have been revised since this year’s financial aid budget was announced last spring. Whereas families that made less than $60,000 a year were not expected to contribute anything to their child's college education, that threshold has increased to $65,000—increasing the number of students who will be able to attend Harvard for free.
However, Harvard has reduced the level of assistance for families making between $150,000 and $180,000.
While families who made up to $180,000 could previously rely on assistance for about 90 to 100 percent of total costs, Harvard will now only guarantee that assistance to families who make up to $150,000. Need-based financial aid remains an option for some families who earn more than $150,000 a year.
The cost to attend Harvard first broke $50,000 in the 2010-2011 academic year. Total costs have since continued to rise steadily, although this year’s percentage increase is the lowest amongst the Ivy League institutions who have already announced undergraduate costs for the upcoming academic year. Dartmouth—whose total costs will hit $57,998—had the largest jump, by 4.8 percent, while the University of Pennsylvania increased costs by 3.9 percent, to $56,106.
Princeton will charge its students more than $50,000 for the first time in the school’s history, but the school’s total cost of $51,280—a 4.5 percent increase from this year—is still more affordable than at least half of its Ivy League peers.
—Staff writer Radhika Jain can be reached at email@example.com.
—Staff writer Kevin J. Wu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
CORRECTION: March 27
Due to an editing error, the headline of an earlier version of this article read "Tuition Will Reach $54,496." In fact, the total cost of attending Harvard in the 2012-13 school year will be $54,496. That figure includes tuition as well as room and board and other fees.
Is College Worth the Money?In this series, Flyby Staff Writer Olivia M. Munk identifies, dissects, and discusses ideas, articles, and opinions found in popular media and popular culture. She's here to inform you and to make you think—about what's out there, what it means to us, and what it might mean for you. WHAT IT IS In the wake of the Great Recession, formal college education and its ever-increasing price tag has been under scrutiny from the popular media. To make higher education accessible for all, Bill Gates, Florida governor Rick Scott, and others have proposed the implementation of a $10,000 bachelors degree program. Is it possible? A recent op-ed in the New York Times details Arthur C. Brooks' flirtation with traditional college, followed by what his parents fondly dubbed a "gap-decade," and finally a return to academia by correspondence. Brooks managed to complete his undergraduate degree as well as two graduate ones without obtaining a cent of debt, and most importantly, all for less than $10,000.