Stanford University has announced that tuition will be free for students whose families earn less than $125,000 per year, Vox reported. Room and board will also be free for students from families making under $65,000 per year.
The students will, however, have to pay up to $5,000 year towards their total bill, but that money can still be provided by parents.
This new plan is more beneficial to middle- and upper-middle-class families than current federal student aid programs. For example, federal Pell grants typically only go to students coming from families whose annual income is less than $50,000.
According to Vox, Stanford is able to implement such a tuition program because it “enrolls a high proportion of wealthy students, who pay higher tuition that helps subsidize lower-income peers. And Stanford is one of the world’s richest universities, with an endowment of $21 billion.”
While other universities will not be able to introduce similar tuition plans, there are other things the prestigious school does that they should try to adopt. For example, Stanford lets students know how much it will cost to attend the school, if the students will be able to afford it, and how much money they would need to borrow, before they even apply.
Other colleges don’t provide that information to students until after they have applied and been accepted, “partly because many colleges are stretching their financial aid budgets and don’t know what they’re dealing with until students have been admitted.”
As the cost of attending college continues to increase, it is going to be harder for even middle-class students to afford it. Anything that can simplify the ridiculously complicated process of navigating the financial aid process is a step in the right direction. Lower-income students who have earned the grades to attend prestigious schools like Stanford deserve the chance to go, and a lack of funds should not deny them that opportunity.