Bridey Heing
April 03, 2015 6:44 am

The high cost of college in the United States has been making headlines for years, and the high debt burden graduates now carry is a serious problem. For many, just getting accepted to college is no longer the main challenge to continuing their education; finding a way to pay for it is the big question mark. But Stanford University just announced a change in policy that will make answering that question a lot easier for students. The prestigious California university will provide free tuition for students whose families earn less than $125,000 a year.

This is huge. The decision will this make college affordable for even more of the entering freshman class, and that’s fantastic news. Under the previous financial aid policy, families making less than $100,000 were given free tuition, but bumping that threshold up by $25,000 will go a long way for a lot of people.

“Our highest priority is that Stanford remain affordable and accessible to the most talented students, regardless of their financial circumstances,” Stanford provost John Etchemendy told KCTV5.

So what’s the deal with the new policy? Well, in addition to free tuition for families making less than $125,000 per year, parents with less than $300,000 in assets won’t be expected to contribute anything to their student’s tuition. And if a student’s family makes less than $65,000, that student will be given free room and board.

Students will be expected to contribute $5,000 per year, which can come from parents or part-time work. When you consider that a year of tuition — just tuition — can run around $65,000 at Stanford, $5,000 is not that much.

Of course, not all schools can or will offer similar financial aid packages, but perhaps Stanford will start a trend. With tuition creeping higher and higher, and more and more students struggling to make ends meet, universities have to find a way to make it affordable. Way to lead the charge, Stanford!

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