Harvard gets cheaper: no loans, lower family contributions to tuition
Harvard University announced MOnday a "sweeping overhaul of financial aid policies" to make its undergraduate degree more affordable.
Because of its high-profile status and prestige, the Cambridge, Mass. school's policies are considered influential among higher-ed policy makers.
Among the changes:
- No Loans. "In calculating the financial aid packages offered to undergraduates, Harvard will not expect students to take out loans," according to the press release. "Loan funds will be replaced by increased grants from the University."
- Families with incomes below $180,000 will be expected to contribute less money toward tuition and fees. Familes earning $60,000 and below will pay nothing toward their childrens' tuition and fees. For family incomes from $60,000 to $120,000, the expected family contribution will slide up gradually to 10 percent of income. So a family making $120,000 will be asked to pay about $12,000 a year -- down from $19,000 under the current aid formula. High-income families will also benefit. Those earning up to $180,000 in annual income will be expected to pay 10 percent of their incomes.
- Home equity will no longer be considered in determining a family's ability to pay for their kid's college education. "This will reduce the price by an average of $4,000 per year for affected families as compared with current practice," officials said.
Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of a financial aid Web site, said Monday that Harvard's announcement makes it the fifth school to eliminate loans from financial aid packages of low income students, joining Princeton, Davidson, Williams and Amherst.
One more reason to sharpen those SATs and kiss up to your letter-writers.