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Undergraduate Costs Will Reach $54,496

By Radhika Jain and Kevin J. Wu, Crimson Staff Writers

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

—Staff writer Kevin J. Wu can be reached at

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:


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.

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