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Six Percent Increase in Financial Aid Comes with Small Tuition Hike

Harvard College's financial aid budget has increased from $103 million in the 2007-2008 academic year to a record $182 million in 2013-2014.
Harvard College's financial aid budget has increased from $103 million in the 2007-2008 academic year to a record $182 million in 2013-2014.
By Nikita Kansra and Samuel Y. Weinstock, Crimson Staff Writers

Harvard College will raise its financial aid budget by nearly 6 percent for the 2013-2014 school year, the University announced in a press release Tuesday. At the same time, the total cost of attendance for undergraduates will increase by 3.5 percent to $56,407 for the coming academic year.

The $10 million increase in the financial aid budget will push the total aid provided by the College to a record sum of $182 million.

Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Michael D. Smith said in the press release that the administration remains committed to making the College accessible to students of all socioeconomic backgrounds, despite stagnant endowment returns and the threat of research funding cuts in recent years.

“Our message is simple,” Smith said. “Getting admitted to Harvard College is difficult. Affording Harvard College shouldn’t be. By enabling us to attract the best and the brightest to Harvard from all backgrounds, our financial aid program strengthens the experiences of all our students, including those not receiving support.”

Smith said that the bump in financial aid can be attributed to the “enormous generosity of our committed alumni” and the intergenerational relationship between alumni and students.

In 2004, the University launched the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative to increase aid for students from lower and middle-class families. Starting in 2006, parents of students from families with incomes below $60,000 were no longer expected to contribute to the student’s cost of attendance, and beginning with the 2012-2013 academic year, the threshold that was increased to $65,000.

Under current policies effective beginning for students in the Class of 2016, families with incomes that amount to $150,000 or less pay roughly zero to 10 percent of their incomes.

More than 60 percent of undergraduates receive need-based aid, and approximately 20 percent of families do not need to contribute to their child’s cost of attendance at all.

—Staff writer Nikita Kansra can be reached at nkansra@college.harvard.edu. Follow her on Twitter @NikitaKansra.

—Staff writer Samuel Y. Weinstock can be reached at sweinstock@college.harvard.edu. Follow him on Twitter @syweinstock.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction and clarification:

CORRECTION: March 28, 2013

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Harvard's financial aid policy allowing families to pay roughly zero to 10 percent of their incomes applies to families with assets and incomes of $150,000 or less. In fact, the policy applies to families whose incomes are below that threshold.

CLARIFICATION: March 28, 2013

An earlier version of this article stated that Harvard currently has a financial aid policy permitting families making $150,000 or less to pay roughly zero to 10 percent of their incomes. To clarify, that policy applies beginning for students in the Class of 2016.

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