Monday, March 17, 2014

Harvard's Generous Financial Aid Program is 10-Years Old

In 2003, a Harvard official heard from a father in Texas, who said that sending his daughter to the University of Texas cost a third what a Harvard education costs - and that's why she was at UT. That encounter led Harvard to revolutionize its financial aid, be much more generous than it had ever been, and make it possible for students from all backgrounds to attend Harvard without amassing debt. Harvard's initiative led some other colleges to do the same, when they could afford it. Here are some highlights from that program, known at HFAI, described in the current Harvard Gazette

"Today, because of HFAI, 20 percent of student families pay nothing, a “zero parental contribution,” in the language of admissions. (In 2006, the payment cutoff went up to $60,000; in 2012, it was raised to $65,000.) About 70 percent of Harvard undergraduates receive some kind of need-based aid. Families earning between $60,000 and $80,000 qualify under HFAI for reduced parental contributions.
"Harvard’s financial aid program asks families earning up to $150,000 a year to pay from zero to 10 percent of their income for college expenses. (Families with incomes above that pay proportionately more.) “These are not rich people,” said Fitzsimmons of families even at the $150,000 mark. They may have more than one child in college at a time, or care for elderly grandparents, or face other financial pressures — “the struggles of real people.”
"To help ease concerns for middle-class families, home equity and retirement assets are left out of financial aid assessments at the College. No one is required to take out a loan.
"In the end, the average Harvard family receiving financial aid pays $12,000 a year for tuition, room, and board. Admissions officials calculate that 90 percent of American families would pay the same or less for a Harvard education as for a state school." READ MORE

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