How does free tuition sound to you parents of high school students? Well it is true! On Wednesday, February 20, 2008 Stanford announced that families earning less than $100,000 a year will not have to pay tuition for their children to attend Stanford University. In addition, if a family makes less than $60,000, the university will throw in the cost of room and board and other expenses - I am assuming they mean books.
This new (and largest increase in its history) commitment to financial aid means the university will allocate $114 million to its financial-aid program for the 2008-2009 academic year which will likely increase the aid provided to three out of four current students, as well as providing support for new students. The goal of this new program is to eliminate the need for student loans to cover the current annual undergraduate expense of about $45,606 a year ($34,800 of which is tuition). Stanford University John Hennessey said that "no high school senior should rule out applying to Stanford because of the cost," which is truly reminiscent of the Stanford's goal of founding the university "for the children of workers."
My graduate degree is from Stanford and as a person from blue-collar roots I can tell you that it may take a while for the impact of this new program to take hold, but it will be wonderful for youth from all socioeconomic status (SES) levels to be able to walk onto the Stanford campus and feel like they belong there because of their brain and character, not their SES. It would be naive however to trust that every youth who gets accepted has had the same academic preparation though and I predict that the university will also have to increase the budget for the programs providing mentorship and small class sizes that actually facilitate faculty and students getting to know one another, one example being Freshman and Sophomore Programs, which happens to be celebrating its 10 year anniversary.
Look out Stanford here comes some amazing young people - and thanks from all of us parents who want our children to be able to see their dreams come true!