Harvard Net Tuition Cost Lowest in Ivy League, Reveals College Scorecard

The average net tuition cost for Harvard undergraduate students is $18,277—the cheapest in the Ivy League—according to the new “College Scorecard” web tool that President Obama revealed in the State of the Union Address last week. The “College Scorecard” aims to give families more information on the price and value of colleges by providing an interactive tool showing what, on average, undergraduate students are expected to pay after grants and scholarships are subtracted from the school’s cost.

Harvard’s net cost of $18,277 made it more affordable than Princeton ($18,813), Yale ($18,934), Columbia ($19,073), University of Pennsylvania ($20,592), Dartmouth ($20,814), Brown ($22,743), and Cornell ($24,249), as well as several of the more expensive Greater Boston schools.

Harvard also offered a significantly lower median borrowing amount per student. With typical Harvard families borrowing $7,700 in Federal loans, the new interactive “College Scorecard” listed the monthly loan payback for a Harvard student to be $88.61 compared to the monthly values of the other Ivy League schools, which all exceeded $100.

“Today, skyrocketing costs price way too many young people out of a higher education, or saddle them with unsustainable debt,” Obama said in his State of the Union address, claiming that with this newly released “College Scorecard” parents and students can “compare schools on a simple criteria: where you can get the most bang for you educational buck.”

An online tool designed by the U.S. Department of Education, the scorecard shows a college’s cost, graduation rate, loan default rate, median borrowing amount, and employment information on any school through a simple search. In the search, students and families can feed in their rankings of important qualities such as majors offered, awards offered, location, enrollment size, campus setting, etc., and then select specific institutions to see their “scorecards” which offer price tags for the schools.

“The new scorecard highlights Harvard’s considerable efforts to offer an affordable college education for undergraduates from all economic backgrounds, whether they study at Harvard College or at the Harvard Extension School,” a Harvard spokesperson wrote in an email to The Crimson.

From 2007-2009, Harvard University has seen a reported decrease in average net price by 15.5%. Harvard College Office of Admissions and Financial Aid reported that for the 2012-13 academic year, the total cost of attendance for students (including room, board, and health fees) was $54,496.

—Staff writer Zohra D. Yaqhubi can be reached at zyaqhubi@college.harvard.edu. Follow her on Twitter @zohradyaqhubi.

This article has been revised to reflect the following clarification:

CLARIFICATION: February 24, 2013

An earlier version of this article stated and included a headline stating that the College Scorecard ranked Harvard's tuition as lowest in the Ivy League. To clarify, the College Scorecard evaluated Harvard's net tuition cost, including tuition and required fees.

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