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Harvard College Hikes Costs Past $50,000

Financial aid surges to $158 million to match rise in tuition

By Naveen N. Srivatsa, Crimson Staff Writer

The price of a year at Harvard College will break the $50,000 barrier next year as a result of a 3.8 percent hike in tuition, room, and board, the University announced today.

The total price tag of $50,724 will be accompanied by a 9 percent, or $13 million, increase in financial aid, keeping the average cost constant at about $11,500 for families receiving aid.

“In light of the challenges confronting families across America, we continue to expand our already generous financial aid program so that Harvard will remain accessible to families from all economic backgrounds,” Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Michael D. Smith said in a press release.

The record $158 million allotted to financial aid next year will put the estimated average grant at $40,000. More than 60 percent of Harvard undergraduates receive financial aid.

The 3.8 percent increase in tuition, room, and board—a deviation from the annual 3.5 percent growth in expenses over the past two years—is still lower than the average yearly 4.5 percent increase in total costs from 1997 to 2008. The hike is also lower than the average increase in combined expenses across the Ivy League for the 2010-2011 academic year, which is currently at 4.2 percent, though Columbia has yet to report next year’s tuition.

With the increase, Harvard will join several other Ivy League institutions with costs upwards of $50,000. Of the seven who have announced the price of tuition next year, only two of the Ancient Eight—Yale and Princeton—offer total costs of less than $50,000, with Princeton boasting the least expensive Ivy League education at $48,580.

Harvard’s percent increase in costs is also the second-lowest increase among these seven Ivy League institutions, beaten only by Princeton with a 3.3 percent increase.

MIT will be increasing total costs by 2.7 percent to $50,446.

Nationwide, increases in college tuition typically double the rate of inflation. Yesterday, the Dow Jones Newswires reported that the breakeven rate, considered to be a forecast of the inflation rate, indicated that investors anticipated an annual inflation rate of 2.25 percent throughout the decade.

—Staff writer Naveen N. Srivatsa can be reached at srivatsa@fas.harvard.edu.

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