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Harvard College Enrollment Fees Hit A Record High $69,607 for 2019-2020 School Year

By Lu Shao
By Camille G. Caldera and Sahar M. Mohammadzadeh, Crimson Staff Writers

The total cost of attending Harvard College — including tuition, fees, room, and board — will increase by 3 percent, to $69,607, for the 2019-2020 academic year, the College announced in a press release Thursday evening.

That increase marks a $2,027 rise from the 2018-2019 school year cost of attendance of $67,580.

This is the second year in a row that the cost of enrollment at the College has risen by 3 percent, outpacing the rate of inflation in both years; the average rate of inflation in 2018 was 2.54 percent and the average inflation rate so far in 2019 has been 2.44 percent.

The average cost of attendance for an undergraduate at an American four-year private university for the 2018-2019 school year is $46,680, according to the College Board. The average total cost of enrollment at a four-year, in-state public university for the year is $21,370.

The rise in “sticker price” for the College is consistent with a decades-long trend of annual increases. Between 1998 and 2015, the inflation-adjusted cost of a Harvard education rose 31 percent, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported in 2015.

The cost of attending Harvard first topped $40,000 in 2005. It exceeded $50,000 in 2010 and $60,000 in 2015. In 2017, the cost of attendance rose by 4.1 percent — the largest percent increase of the decade.

Amidst these rising costs, the College is embarking on its 15th year of the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative to remove economic barriers for admitted students who want to attend Harvard. The program allows students from low-income backgrounds — undergraduates whose family incomes are $65,000 or less — to attend the College at no additional fee. Those students each also receive a $2,000 start-up grant to help offset move-in costs and other expenses.

Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons ’67 said in an interview Thursday that he thinks HFAI is “a great thing for the students, a great thing for Harvard,” especially because the program applies to international students as well as those who hail from the United States.

Projections from the Financial Aid Office suggest more than half of the Class of 2023 will receive some form of need-based financial aid and 20 percent of the class will not be required to contribute to the cost of attendance.

“Harvard costs the same or less for 90 percent of American families than in-state public universities,” Director of Financial Aid Jake Kaufmann ’93 said in a press release Thursday.

HFAI has awarded over $2 billion in grant aid to undergraduates since 2005. The undergraduate financial aid award budget has increased in recent years by 138 percent, from $80 million in 2005 to more than $191 million in 2018, though the Harvard Gazette, the had reported in 2018 that the College would spend more than $195 million on financial aid this year.

—Staff Writer Camille G. Caldera can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @camille_caldera.

—Staff Writer Sahar M. Mohammadzadeh can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @saharmzadeh.

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